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WWW or non-WWW Domains? Clarity on this Canonical Conundrum

Posted on: March 27th, 2015 by admin


There are a lot of questions asked when people must choose the domain for their website, such as:


What’s the difference between www and non-www for your canonical domains?

Which one is better for SEO?

Which one is better for my business?

Why does it matter? Does it even matter?


It’s a common canonical conundrum.


To help you understand the differences and similarities between a WWW and a non-WWW domain, we’ve laid out some useful information to give you a better understanding of how each one works and why your choice is actually not that important.


First, let’s address some misconceptions about choosing your specific URL:


You have to pick one or the other.

False. Actually, you can have both. It may be good since you never know what people may type in the search bar. However, there are some problems associated with it, which we’ll talk more about when we get to “Canonicalization.”

One is better at SEO than the other.

Nope. You’ll find people who swear by either one, but the reality is that you just need to pick the one you want and just stick with it.


Again, whichever one you choose won’t make a huge impact. But to add a little clarity to what each one means, here’s the lowdown:


Benefits of a WWW Domain:

More DNS Flexibility. Providers hosting your site need to be able to update DNS records to redirect traffic from a failing server to a healthy server. This can only be done through DNS CNAME records, which aren’t available for non-WWW domains. For small websites, that’s not usually an issue. But if you have a large website or you know that it will grow into a large one someday, it’s best to use a WWW domain for DNS flexibility.

Ability to restrict cookies. If you need to use multiple subdomains for a site, you can differentiate subpages on your site by using a www prefix on your main website. This works since cookies of a main domain are sent to all subdomains.

It names the web service domain. WWW is technically accurate. It works as a hostname that names a specific service that’s used in a network.



Benefits of non-WWW domain:

Sometimes shorter is better. Simplicity is key in today’s market. When developing a website, it’s obvious that you want your brand and message to be clear, straightforward, and simple enough for any user to find what they need. You can apply the same thing to a URL domain. When there’s less to type, it’s easier to remember and it just makes things a tad simpler for your user.

Few organizations publish their site using a WWW url. Just take a look at big websites like or Even if they are using a WWW domain, most websites tend not to publish their URL with the prefix because everyone understands that they are legitimate websites.



Truth is: It doesn’t matter.

At all, really. Both are equally good with SEO. It comes down to personal preference and branding. But here’s something more important to concern yourself with: setting up your website to define its canonical URL to ensure consistency in search engines.


What is a Canonical URL?

SEObook defines it as this:

The canonical version of any URL is the single most authoritative version indexed by major search engines. Search engines typically use PageRank or a similar measure to determine which version of a URL is the canonical URL.”

Basically, it’s a process that modifies URLs to make them standardized and consistent in search engines.


What is Canonicalization?

It means having content available on both a WWW and a non-WWW domain. The tricky thing about it is sometimes search engines can mistake the same site pages (like and as unique websites, though they’re obviously the same. And often times, it results in duplicate content or indexing problems. Plus, it actually splits up the amount of likes and shares that your web pages get between the two URLs.


Consistency is Important
You can avoid the problems with canonicalization by simple choosing only one specific domain for your website. If you already have your domain setup, there’s no need to change it from one to the other.  Just be consistent with whatever URL you used to start your website.

Simply Choose Your Canonical URL
If you haven’t setup your domain yet, just take your pick between WWW and non-WWW in site domains. You need all your site pages to reflect your preferred domain when they are indexed by search engines.


Also, you want there to be redirection from non-WWW to WWW domains and vice versa when people type in or link the wrong version of your website. That way, the user is automatically directed to your canonical URL. Here are a few ways to set that up (don’t worry — it’s actually really simple):


How To Redirect Your Domain:

With Google Webmaster Tools

If you have a Google Webmaster Tools verified site, here’s how to set your preferred domain:

Go to Site Configuration > Settings, and selecting either “Display URLs as” or “Display URLs as”

Doing this will ensure that Google only indexes your preferred canonical URL.


With cPanel

If your website is hosted with a provider uses cPanel, you can don’t have to get your hands dirty with with coding as you set up your redirects. Simply login to cPanel, and then go to Redirects. Once there, check the box of your URL preference.


With .htaccess

To redirect your site from the WWW to the non-WWW (or vice versa) on Apache, you can do so with a few lines in your .htaccess file.

Redirecting from non-WWW to WWW:
RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^(www\.example\.com)?$
RewriteRule ^(.*)$$1 [R=301,L]

Redirecting from WWW to non-WWW:
RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^(example\.com)?$
RewriteRule ^(.*)$$1 [R=301,L]


If you want to find more info about canonical domains, here are a few helpful resources:

Google Webmaster Toolsmore details on how to setup the preferred URL domain

WP Beginner -more info about WordPress and setting up a preferred URL domain.

Create Delicious Content: 5 Tips to Improve Your Small Business Website

Posted on: February 10th, 2015 by admin

by Jeana Saeedi

original photo by Anna via
Flickr. Edited.



Your small business needs a delicious website.

Because in a lot of ways, a website is like a meal. There are several components that make up a meal that consumers will enjoy (or find distasteful), and the same rule applies to websites. So instead of serving up generic and artificial content to your clients, you need satisfying and appealing words to keep them coming back for more.

Here are a few tips on making your small business website appetizing to your clients:


1. Have Visual Appeal

Ever lose your appetite after seeing some ill-prepared food? Well, the same applies to your website. In order for users to even be interested in what you’re offering, you have to have them at first sight. Clean lines and beautifully arranged, organized content makes your website aesthetically pleasing to your customers. Make easy to scan headers, and break up content with images and bullet points. Show them that you’re a creative, up-to-date business. Clients will take one look at your website and, within seconds, know you have a savvy, first rate business. But that also means having an outdated or just plain ugly website will give the impression of a careless company.


2. Keep it Personal

Everyone appreciates a meal a lot more when they actually like the person who made it. Your website needs to be a personal declaration of who you are, what your business does, and the quality of service you provide. And talking about you is not the point — you need to address your client’s needs in a way that evokes your personality and voice into words. You need to be optimized for SEO, but adding keyword fillers isn’t enough to land the clients you need. Basically, you want your users to know that you’re human — and you need them to like you.


3. Write for Your Audience

Think about who your targeted audience is, and then give them the “food” they’ll most enjoy. If you’re writing to an audience that may not be familiar with your product, don’t ruin the “meal” with jargon and technical terms that they won’t understand or appreciate. Provide your clients with content that reads smoothly and naturally. Writing for your audience means that you must take into consideration who they are in order to get your point across in an appealing yet straightforward manner.


4. Proofread and Update Consistently

You’ve already set the chips on the table and whoops — they’re stale. And gross. You forgot, you didn’t double check, and now your client’s appetite is gone and they’re going somewhere else to get what they need. If you don’t keep your business information up-to-date, you’ll lose customers when they call the wrong number and visit the wrong address. Plus, you become harder to rank due to inconsistent citation. And instead of landing clients, you’ll end up with frustrated and confused customers. Keep your information up-to-date, and always double check for grammar and spelling errors. Nothing ruins a professional reputation like a lazy grammar mistake.


5. Write Appealing Web Pages

Don’t forget about those crucial side dishes — your main pages and subpages need to be just as appetizing as your homepage. Your homepage needs to hook your users in, and your subpages need to give them exactly what they need. Make straightforward tabs that direct your clients where they need to go, and keep each page on-topic and on-voice so that you create a user-friendly experience and keep clients.


So do you need a delicious website? Be creative, get your web pages cookin’, and start making some appetizing content.

About the author:
Jeana Saeedi is a content strategist and blogger. You can find out more about her at

Setting up Your Robot.txt after Recent Google Change

Posted on: November 1st, 2014 by admin



Changes with Google Webmaster

Earlier this week, Google made a significant update to their Webmaster guidelines. In the past, the original Webmaster guidelines stated that Google bots could render a site in old, text-only browsers, such as Lynx. Those kind of outdated browsers were unable to render advanced web designs and images. Google announced that in order to have optimal indexing and rendering on websites, webmasters must allow bots to access CSS, Javascript, and other image files found throughout the site. In fact, Google also stated that disallowing robot.txt to crawl on the Javascript or CSS files will directly and negatively impact how their algorithms render your website and how your site pages are indexed and ranked.


More Efficient Search Bots

Now instead of viewing and indexing the text exclusively, the bots can crawl the site like web browsers. Doing so allows them to interpret Javascript, CSS, and images along with the text content found on each page of the website. Now, Google is indexing based on page rendering, which means that text-only browsers are simply not an accurate or up-to-date form of indexing. This update makes for a more modern web browser that creates optimal indexing.


Tips for Optimized Indexing

To help with these changes, Google has offered some tips to get the most out of the new indexing system:


  • As you allow Google bot to access Javascript and CSS files, you need to make sure that your server can handle the additional rendering load.

  • Follow the practices of Google Developer’s page performance optimization. Making sure that pages can be rendered quickly will make it easier for users to access your content and also make it easier to index your pages. You can do so by eliminating unnecessary downloads, merging separate Javascript and CSS files, and setting up your server to serve them as compressed files.

  • Use only the most common systems and technologies on your server to ensure that everything operates smoothly between different web browsers.

  • Use the updated Fetch and Render as Google feature in webmaster tools to see how their system renders your pages. With it, you’ll be able to identify indexing issues.


How to Test for Optimized Indexing Using Fetch As Google

In order to check if CSS and Javascript is being allowed on your website, you can use the Fetch and Render as Google in the webmaster tools. We’ll walk you through the steps below:

 Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 11.17.03 PM

  • Select “Fetch” under the Crawl tools, and enter your webpage URL. (If you want to render your homepage, just leave it blank). Then press “Fetch and Render,” and Google bots will begin to crawl in the webpage.

  • Click “Submit to Index” once the crawling is complete. Results will appear, each one labeled as “complete, “partial,” “unreachable,” or another term according to the test. (You can find more descriptions and details of Fetch as Google diagnostics here.)

  • Click on the results to check the blocked scripts and files. Doing so will help you see what is intentionally and unintentionally blocked by you and your server. From there, you can follow tips listed above for optimized indexing on all of your necessary web pages.



photo by Roland Molnar via Flickr.

Some Recent Insights to the Latest Panda Updates

Posted on: March 13th, 2012 by admin

The latest Panda updates started somewhere in mid January and have been updated frequently ever since. I am pretty sure they will be adjusting and refreshing the algo all year long. Don’t be surprised if this will be commonplace for Google every single year. So if you want to stick around long term, I think it is important to understand what Google wants. As confusing and frustrating as they are, they still own a huge share of the search market, and until that changes, this is the world we live in. Adapt or go back to working that shitty job

After analyzing and researching quite a bit for the last month, here are some commonalities I am seeing with websites that are getting hit with the dreaded Panda updates.

SEO Networks and Paid Links

Google is really coming down hard on blog networks. If you are buying links from these types of networks, don’t be surprised if you get a love letter from Google or suddenly lose rankings. Almost every site that I have seen loose rankings, have backlinks from these types of networks or sites.

Here is an example of some sites I am talking about :

Go to Google and search those domains. Can’t find them right? Well guess what. If you have a link on that site, once Google deindexes it, you lose all value from that link. So if it was a previously trusted high PR link with your main keyword anchored on there, you will probably lose rank. I am also not so sure Google passes some negative value over to your site.

Also, if you have links pointing to your website from blogs that have completely irrelevant content and are used for the sole purpose of gaming Google’s algo, don’t be surprised if you see lose in your rankings.

For example:

The simple, classic Boiled Egg, is indeed one of the finest and easiest edible delights known on earth, with just 70 calories, and full of nature’s most perfect form of protein. Dog Training Tricks work best.

While there are many ways of preparing Boiled Eggs, we suggest below the directions for making eggs which are the easiest to peel and which will not have the dark green discolored coating on the yolk (see step 2 for tips to help avoid the green discoloration).

If Google manually reviews this site, guess what? Bye bye. Do you really want to have links on sites like this? Not saying you can’t get away with it, but why even have to worry about it.

Anchor Text Diversity

Google seems to be scrutinizing websites that have unnatural looking anchor text portfolios. If you are building heavily for one or two terms, don’t be surprised if you get wacked on those terms.

Here is an example of an unnatural looking anchor text profile:

Dog training – 258
Dog training Fences – 1
Dog training with big balls – 3
train your dog well – 1
How to train a dog – 2
Train your Dog – 158 – 9
Doggy hammers – 2
Dog poopy – 1
Poopy the dog – 17

Guess what keywords lose the most rankings?

Just be conscious of your anchor text diversity. Do some linking with generic keywords, brand keywords, and your website as the anchor.

On Page Optimization

I am not going to get real in depth about best practices for your on page. But I do want to point out some things that I commonly see on sites that get hit.

Some Common things I see on Pandalized websites:

– Using basic themes or the same theme as many others
– Content is written for the search engines and not the end user
– Keyword saturation is excessive. You don’t have to repeat the main keyword over and over. Once or twice is fine.
– Content is further down the page or well below the fold
– Too many adsense or affiliate links above the fold
– Site speed is slllloooooooooowwww.

Now, I am sure there are other factors that play into these refreshes, but these are the ones that stick out most to me. The key here is to give Google what they want. Build a high quality website with diverse link and anchor text portfolios and you will be fine

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