If you have a website, you must be aware of the importance of a domain name. The domain name is one of the most crucial parts of your website because it can impact your business in many ways. A good domain name helps you to attract more visitors, build trust with users, increase brand awareness, and so on.
Business owners and digital marketing professionals often debate whether to use WWW or non-WWW domain names when launching a site. Although the two could technically be used interchangeably, it is best to use one or the other consistently throughout your site. In this way, you’ll prevent Google from seeing your website as two individual websites and split your link equity.
So now, which one should you select for your business website that could work well with top tools for SEO? We’ve put together a simple checklist of the advantages and disadvantages of each for you to consider when making your decision.
What Are WWW and Non-www Domains?
WWW stands for World Wide Web, while Non-www is simply a variant of the main domain that includes no spaces. For example, if your website is www.example.com, then the Non-www version would be example.com. Many people use both versions interchangeably because they don’t realize there’s any difference between them at all.
The difference between WWW and Non-www is that the latter is a subdomain. When you create a website, the domain name will be your main URL, which can then have subdomains attached to it. Subdomains are used for various purposes on websites such as creating separate sections or making them easier to remember.
For example, a website with a main domain of www.example.com could have subdomains in the form of blog.example.com, which would be used for its blog section. This makes it easier for people to remember where everything is and how it’s organized on your site. When you’re creating a website, you can decide whether or not you want to use both versions as well as which one is better suited to your needs.
How Does Google Treat WWW and Non-www Domains?
In the early days of the internet, WWW was necessary to distinguish between various types of webpages and to indicate that the site is available on the world wide web. However, as the internet evolved, WWW has become more of a standard format than a necessity.
Today, both versions of the domain are treated equally by Google. If you create two websites, one with a WWW prefix and one without it, Google will treat both sites as completely separate entities. Both will be indexed separately, and each will have its unique ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs).
However, even though there is no difference between the two versions of your website, it’s important to keep in mind that Google will treat them as separate entities. This means that you shouldn’t use the same content on both domains or create a link between them. Doing so can cause Google to view your site as spammy and increase the chances that it will remove your rankings altogether.
Now, let’s say you want to create a separate site for a different country or language. Google recommends that you use a subdomain instead of another top-level domain. For example, your website is called samplewebsite.com. Then you could set up samplewebsite.co.uk as the domain for United Kingdom visitors and samplewebsite.fr for French-speaking users.
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In this case, Google recommends that you use hreflang tags in your HTML code and set up 301 redirects. This will make sure visitors who view the English version of the site are automatically redirected to the same page in their local language.
SERP Positions Impacted by WWW and Non-www Domains
You’ve probably heard that the WWW version of your domain is ranked higher than your Non-www version. While this is a popular belief, it actually isn’t true. There is no direct correlation between a domain being indexed with or without the “www.”
The only thing that does change is the way your site appears in search results. If you do not include the “www” then it will appear as if someone typed in just your domain name directly into the browser bar. And they would get sent straight to your homepage automatically when they clicked on your link in any search engine result page (SERP).
Impact on Backlinks, Domain Authority, and Page Authority
When it comes to backlinks, you want them all pointing to your main domain. This means that if you have a website with multiple subpages, you don’t want people linking to the subpages. It will confuse search engines and decrease your page authority.
Having all backlinks pointing to your main domain will help search engines accurately determine which subpages are equally relevant. Links pointing to just your homepage will affect your domain authority because it will look as if you only have one page. And this isn’t always bad. Some websites are purposely designed with only one page to show that they are very specific in their niche. This could help you stand out from other websites with multiple pages.
You can also use 301 redirects or canonicalization methods to make sure that all of your links point to the correct domain. We will discuss this further in the latter section of the article.
Which One Is Recommended for Better SEO?
The answer to this question depends on many factors, including how your business is structured and where it’s located. For example, if you operate multiple websites in different countries that each require its domain name, then using a WWW prefix for each site will make it easier for search engines to identify which country each site belongs to.
However, if you only have one website and want to optimize its SEO performance, then using the WWW prefix is not necessary. Also, while non-www can be simpler, shorter, and easier to remember, there’s no evidence that one has a significant advantage over the other in terms of SEO. So ultimately, the decision comes down to what you think is best for your target audience.
Let’s say you are running a local business that serves only one city or area. Using the Non-www version of your domain may be more appropriate. This is because search engines like Google can easily identify when someone is searching for a local business and will give them results accordingly.
In contrast, if you run an international company with multiple websites in different countries each requiring its domain name, then using a WWW prefix for each site will make it easier for search engines to identify which country each site belongs to.
The Pros and Cons of Each Domain Type
Can Boost Brand Recognition
Having the WWW in front of your domain name makes you look more professional, so users will likely take you more seriously. This is especially true for companies that want to build their brands and attract new customers.
Can Boost Click-Through Rates
Since most people expect to see the WWW prefix when they visit a website, it’s more likely that people will click on the link. This can lead to more traffic and conversions for your website.
Can Boost Search Engine Rankings
The WWW prefix is considered an indicator of a website’s authority, so it can help improve your SEO. This means that your site will have a chance of showing up higher on search results pages and getting more traffic.
Can Lead To User Confusion
The WWW prefix can be confusing, especially if you’re not an experienced web user. For example, if someone types in “google.com” but sees that the page is called “www.google.com,” he might think it’s a different website altogether.
Can Be More Difficult to Type Correctly
Some people find it difficult to type correctly, especially on mobile where they can accidentally add or omit the WWW prefix. This problem can get worse if you use a lot of subdomains and subdirectories, which often require the WWW prefix.
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For example, imagine that your website has two subdomains: “news” and “about.” If you want to link between these two pages, you have to add the WWW prefix for each link. This makes it more difficult for users to navigate your site and increases the chances of making an error when typing in URLs.
Can Be More Difficult to Remember
If your website has a lot of subdomains, it can be more difficult for users to remember which one they want. This is especially true if they don’t know what the subdomain is used for.
For example, imagine that you want to visit your website’s “news” section but you can’t remember which subdomain it’s under. If your site has a lot of domains and subdomains, this could be an issue because users may have to spend time searching through each one.
Can Be Easier to Remember
If your website has a subdomain but not a WWW, it’s easier for users to remember how to visit your site. For example, if you have a domain name of “example.com,” people will find it easier to visit than if you had “www.example.com” as well.
Can Be Faster to Load on Mobile Devices
If you have a subdomain but not a WWW, it will be faster for mobile users to load your website. This is because they’ll be able to load the subdomain directly—rather than having to first load the WWW and then wait for it to redirect. This also means that search engines will better be able to determine which page of your website a user is viewing.
Can Look Cleaner on Mobile and Desktop
If you have a subdomain but not a WWW, you’ll get a cleaner look for your website. This can be especially important if you have to display a lot of information on your website. And because mobile users account for almost 60% of global web traffic, it’s important to design web pages that are compatible with a variety of screen sizes.
Can Look Strange to People
If you have a subdomain but not a WWW, it will look strange to some users who are new to your website. This is because most websites will use the WWW version of their domain name.
Can Be Less Intuitive
Not all browsers will recognize Non-www as a valid domain. This can make it more difficult for you to get your website up and running, as well as update it in the future.
Can Make Backlinks Less Valuable
If you have a non-www version of your domain name, it can make it more difficult for search engines to find your website. This is because many search engines are designed to find the WWW version of your domain name when they crawl your site.
Why Are 301 Redirect and Canonicalization Important?
The most common use of a 301 redirect is to fix broken links on your site. If you have two identical pages on your site, search engines will see that as two separate pages and index them separately.
301 redirects are a good way to help your website avoid duplicate content issues. They’re a permanent redirect that tells search engines that they should no longer index the page you are redirecting from.
This is done by sending them to a different page on your site with the same content. Search engines will pick up these changes and update their databases accordingly.
301 redirect is also used for site migrations. If you’re moving a website from one domain to another, it’s important to make sure that you don’t lose any SEO rankings. To do so, you can set up a 301 redirect on the old domain pointing traffic to your new site. This will ensure that all of your hard work didn’t go in vain.
On the other hand, canonicalization helps prevent duplicate content issues by identifying the exact version of a page that should be indexed. For example, you have two separate pages on your site that contain the same content. Canonicalization will let search engines know which one they should index. This prevents you from getting penalized for duplicate content and keeps your rankings high.
You can also use canonicalization to prevent duplicate content issues when you’re linking from one site to another. For example, you have a blog post on your main website that talks about your latest product release. You want all of the links within this post to point directly to the page where people can purchase it.
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However, if someone shares this article on their website, they may link back to their version of the post instead. This could cause you some problems since Google might index two separate versions of your content and penalize your rankings for duplicate content.
To prevent this, use the rel=canonical tag. This is a piece of code that indicates to Google which version of the content should be indexed. In our example, this would be the main website’s URL instead of someone else’s.
This is a simple way to ensure that your content gets the reach it deserves. You can also use this tag if someone else is copying your content and passing it off as his or her own.
Create Successful Marketing Strategies with SEO Tools
The top tools for SEO can help you stay ahead of your competitors. They’re a great way to find out what your audience wants and where they are looking for content. This will help you create better content that your community expects and values. It can also help you find keywords that you might not have thought of before, which is great for boosting your rankings on search engines like Google.
SEO tools can also help you track the progress of your SEO campaigns. You can find out how well your content is performing and where it’s ranking on search engines like Google. This will allow you to adjust your strategy as necessary to make sure that you’re always creating content that resonates with your audience.
And while there are pros and cons to both WWW and Non-www domains, it is up to the individual website owner to decide which domain structure he or she wants to use. The real question is whether you should use one or the other, not what Google prefers. And the answer is that it doesn’t matter much from a technical perspective. That being said, having a correct URL structure stays vital for your website’s indexability.
If you want your website to be accessible via both WWW and Non-www domains, it is recommended to use a 301 redirect from the Non-www domain.
If you want your website to be accessible only via the WWW domain, then it is recommended to set up a canonical tag on the non-www domain that points to the www domain.
Ultimately, the top tools for SEO in your WWW and Non-www domains for marketing strategy are easy to use. They’re designed to be intuitive and simple for you to track your results. Most of them have a free version that you can try out before upgrading for more features or better performance.