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Www In All Href Tags
Posted 09 August 2004 - 09:49 PM
I've been digging in this fine site for days and came across this interesting bit in the site review forum url= http://www.highranki...?showtopic=5434 (is this allowed)
Rob Watts suggests internal links should contain www e.g. http:// www.thesite .com
versus http:// thesite .com because it may to some degree confuse the se's.
What is the general knowledge or thought on this. It would seem to me a well behaved engine would have no trouble determining the equality of the addresses. BWDIK
Posted 09 August 2004 - 09:52 PM
The main thing is to be consistent. It is better to include the 'www' because some hosts will not display the site with and without the 'www. Most will but there are some who won't.
Posted 09 August 2004 - 10:53 PM
By host you mean the site's server, correct? I can certainly understand and agree with consistency.
Are there any concrete examples of this being an issue that you know of in terms of se results and ranking.
I've looked around at some sites source and google listings and notice that most sites on google are listed with a www. Even when the sites themselves refer to themselves w/o the www.
Gotta feeling this is one of those nitpicky issues that is more art than science. But in the end Using www is the best practice. Leaves no room for error or slippage.
Posted 09 August 2004 - 11:40 PM
Posted 10 August 2004 - 12:43 AM
I've had some personal experiences with this, so hopefully I can clear things up a bit.
To a search engine, www.domain.com, domain.com and www1.domain.com can all be totally different websites.
And they can be in fact, as well. You can do it on purpose or by accident. If you misconfigure a webserver using hostheaders instead of IP addresses, and forget to add the non-www version of the domain to the setup, then if you type in www.domain.com you go to the proper website, but if you type in just domain.com you would go to the default website on the server!
This happened once to a client of mine, who then ended up getting a duplication penalty over it. It looked like he had 2 identical websites (or two domains pointing to the same site), so the one that had the lowest PR was dropped from the results.
So the www version and the non-www version are treated as if they were two different domains that are "parked" on the same site. The one with the most links or highest PR will be the one shown in the SERPs and the other will at first get whatever PR and backlinks it has based on it's current links and may be quite different until the SE in question figures out that they are the same site and gives you "credit" for the links with the different name.
Real Life Example
My own site, "www.mcanerin.com" currently has a PR of 5 and 60 backlinks (90 were showing last night - the toolbar has been updated as of this morning, as my spybot checker informed me). If you type in "mcanerin.com" without the www you will see that it's the EXACT same site but now has a PR of 0 and no backlinks.
If you had typed in "www.mcanerin.ca" around last October, you would have seen that the site had a PR of 2 and about 9 backlinks. By December, Google had figured out it was the same site and the PR and backlinks are now the same as the .com version, and the backlinks on the .ca have been credited to my .com domain.
So, in October, the very same site had three versions (4 actually - I own the .net version as well). It simultanously had (this is an example, I don't remember the exact numbers) a PR of 5, 2 and 0, and backlinks of 81, 9, and 0. Now I only have two versions. This is normal behaviour.
So, why does this all matter? It's very common for people to type something like "Oh, just go to amazon.com and order the book." The software they use automatically turns the "amazon.com" into a link. It can aslo happen with the www.amazon.com version as well.
So no matter what you do, you are going to end up with both versions pointing at you (hopefully - it would be bad if no one cared about your site enough to never mention it anywhere ) BUT for a long while you are only going to get credit for HALF your backlinks. This is not a good thing when you are new and starting out and eager to get as many links as you can. Eventually it will sort out, but many website owners can't afford to or don't want to wait.
I didn't follow this with my own site because, well, because the cobblers children have no shoes, is why... It eventually doesn't matter, and I didn't care enough about the short term gains to do it.
But for clients (or your own website), this is the quickest and most effective way to avoid getting your backlinks ignored:
1. Pick and use a consistant useage of your domain name. Stick with it for all your internal linking and directory submissions. It doesn't matter if it's www or non-www, but most visitors today will automatically use the www version anyway so I suggest that. Connect this domain name to your website.
2. Create a separate account and put your other domain names and versions onto it (including the non-www one) and then use a 301 redirect to the main site. This allows the search engines to know immediately that the domains in question are redirects to the same site and are not duplicates and also should get credit for their backlinks. If you just put them all on the same account without the 301, you will have to wait for a while until the SE sorts it all out for itself.
There you go :learn:
Edited by mcanerin, 10 August 2004 - 12:48 AM.
Posted 10 August 2004 - 05:54 AM
Posted 10 August 2004 - 10:59 AM
Posted 10 August 2004 - 01:48 PM
You need to make sure that they create DNS entries on their DNS server for both www.yourdomain.com and yourdomain.com.
Furthermore, these same companies, need to make 'alias' entries on their web servers for both versions of your domain name. IIS is a perfect example of a web serve that needs this.
If both of these steps are not done then one version of your domain name will work for web traffic while the other will not and vice-versa.
I hope that helps...
Posted 10 August 2004 - 02:16 PM
This happened once to a client of mine, who then ended up getting a duplication penalty over it. It looked like he had 2 identical websites (or two domains pointing to the same site), so the one that had the lowest PR was dropped from the results
uh-oh. So if I have multiple domain names pointing to the same directory (website) on the server I will be penalized for it?
Currently I have several spelling variations of a site registered and all variations are listed as alias for the site in the dns. So if you type in any of them, you end up with the site.
example would be (not really my site):
From reading this, it appears I shouldn't be using an alias but should do a 301 redirect... not sure how to do that, but if that is the case, I'll figure it out.
Can I get a verification that I need to change my dns settings?
Posted 10 August 2004 - 02:35 PM
Will they all be duplicate sites? Yes. But only the one with the most umph behind it should show up in the SERPs.
Where it can become a problem is if people start linking to your aliased domain names instead of the real one. They wouldn't know any better because they can't tell that there's an alias in place.
What that type of situation does first is to divide your link popularity. Instead of it all being concentrated in one place, it's being spread out over multiple sites.
The next problem that comes up if one of your aliased domains starts to gain ground on the link popularity front is that then the search engines will usually correctly identify your sites as duplicates. They'll only display one or the other domain, and you've lost control over which one is the real one.
Check your alternate domains to see if they have any links pointing at them. If not, it's no big deal. If they do, then you might want to consider a 301.
Posted 10 August 2004 - 08:51 PM
It never occured to me www. theworldsgreatestsite. com could be different from theworldsgreatestsite. com Of course when I think about it it's obvious.
Will the 301 command redirect all files (like a wildcard) on a site or does each file need its own 301 line?
Posted 11 August 2004 - 07:11 AM
A 301 can be used to do both of those thing Jodo. Depending upon how it's constructed. You may want to browse through this pinned thread at the top of this section of the forum if you haven't already. It has several examples and we even discuss why some are better for one type of redirect while another approach would be better for another.
Yes, it can become a convoluted issue. The correct answer in each case often depends upon your hosting environment and what is available to you.
Posted 12 August 2004 - 06:16 AM
From the design and SEO point of view the www and non-www is just simply an annoyance, but it is a problem which tends to stay around for a while.
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