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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.

The Top 6 Mobile Device Emulators – Test Mobile Devices for Free with a Simple Click of a Button

Posted on: December 8th, 2014 by admin

In the past, when browsing content on the internet was limited to tiny screens and text and links only, it wasn’t really that important to optimize your content for mobile content. However, the percentage of people that use a mobile device to access the internet is huge and soon the people who access the internet solely through a conventional computer will be a minority. You simply can’t ignore mobile devices.

The best way to make sure that your content works across all mobile platforms is to test it on those platforms, but unless you own every one of those devices this might be difficult to do. That’s where mobile emulators come in. There are a number of mobile emulators out there now that will let you see exactly what your website looks like on the iPhone, tablet and other devices. This will allow you to make adjustments so that your website displays perfectly no matter what device someone is using to access your content.

The is a website that is specifically designed to display a site exactly how it would show up on all devices. With how popular smartphones and the tremendous amount of search mobile is now taking up are, you can’t ignore this platform. Just type in your URL and see how it displays on all devices.


General Mobile Phone Emulator

This Mobile Phone Emulator will allow you to see what your content looks like across a wide variety of formats and mobile manufacturer platforms. This includes Samsung mobile, BlackBerry and more. Best of all it’s free.


Mobilr Phone Emulator


iPad Emulator

The iPad or other tablet devices are quickly becoming the most popular way to access the internet, and the iPad is definitely the most popular within those devices. That’s why the iPad Peek is the perfect emulator to let you see how your content will look on a tablet.




Response Time

The responsiveness of your website is one of the factors that Google evaluates when ranking your website, and besides, you want your visitors to arrive and browse without frustration. That’s why you should check your site with ResponsivePX.





MobiReady is such a valuable tool because while it checks mobile compliance, it also gives you detailed error reports that can help you make changes easily. Also, you can check your code for errors which might be valuable later on, if you encounter a problem and aren’t sure where the issue lies.



Screenfly Emulator

The value in using Screenfly is that it tests your content across a wide coverage of platforms and you can customize it to show your website under a variety of conditions. While you should make use of the other emulators as well, testing under different conditions can be useful.

When it comes to your website, you have to optimize for mobile content across as many platforms as possible, because if you are only targeting computer users, you are missing out on a huge number of visitors, and in the very near future, those mobile users that you are ignoring are going to make up most of your potential audience.




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.

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