To www or non-www (not-www). Do you need to do a 301 redirect?
If you have a work from home business like I do, there comes a time when you have to think about some pretty monotonous and mundane things such as: do you need to redirect the non-www version of your domain to the www version and vice versa to avoid a google duplicate content penalty? Well maybe. But if you own a wordpress.org blog (since version 2.3), you don’t need to; it’s done automatically. Go to your WP dashboard under “Settings” and then “General”. What is listed here is what WordPress automatically tells Google is the conical (authoritative) version of your domain. I know a lot of people tell you to do 301 redirects and modify your .htaccess file; or get some redirection plugins (and I hate unnecessary plugins which do nothing, by the way, but to slow your blog down). Ignore them. Make sure you have designated your preference for the www version or the non-www version in Google Webmaster tools and you are set. If you have doubts, just type both versions and make sure that only one is resulted in the search bar. For example, for my site, I would type these two versions:
If you did the same, you would see that the www version is automatically redirected to my preferred one, the non-www version.
If you typed both into the browser and both were resulted as you typed, then Houston, we definitely have a problem and in Google’s eyes, I’d have some major duplicate content…..or page rank would just be split between both sites.
Why do I prefer the non-www version? It’s what I started with by accident. And now I just think it looks better. I think it’s easier to write. It’s shorter and, therefore, gives you more link real estate in search results. Some people think www let’s people know you have a website. I say duhhhhh. The .com on the end pretty much takes care of that.
One of my concerns was if there were back links in, say, the www version–but your actual conical/live site is the non-www version–could this hurt your SEO. As far as I can tell from the literature out there, the answer is no.
As always, in the setting of post Panda, anyway, content is king. Write good content and write for people instead of a keyword tool; and if your content is relevant in the lives of the masses, Google will find you and you will have all the traffic you can handle. If you have traffic and need a way to monetize that traffic, I have a very effective tool. Take a look and get in touch with me and let’s talk.