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How to Set Preferred Domain Setting Using Google Webmaster Tool

How to Set Preferred Domain Setting Using Google Webmaster Tool

Usually any site which is not using redirection from www to non www or vice-versa is creating a duplicate cope of his own site. Google offers various ways by which you can tell Google to tell which site to index. Usually web masters set 301 redirection or use canonicalization to set their preferred domain. Here I’m sharing one more way by which you can tell Google which is your preferred domain. Usually you don’t have to worry much about this setting if you are using WordPress, but again it’s always a good idea to configure this setting from Google Webmaster tool.

If you not sure you are making same mistake by offering two different links for the same content, try to open your site with and without www. If both of them redirects to one URL, you need not need to worry about, else you should make sure that both the URL should redirected to one URL only.

What is Preferred domain setting?

As name suggests, you can tell Google which URL ( www or Non www) you would like Google to index. Though this

You can treat your domain like or  If you don’t set your preferred domain style, chances of getting penalize for duplication of content by Google is very high.

This is what Google talk about preferred domain :

The preferred domain is the one that you would like used to index your site’s pages. If you specify your preferred domain as and we find a link to your site that is formatted as , we’ll treat that link as if it was . In addition, we’ll take your preference into account when displaying URLs in our search results. It may take some time for changes to be reflected in our index.

You can read more about preferred domain here on Google official page.

How you can set up your preferred domain using Google webmaster tool?

To configure this setting, you need to verify domain ownership of your domain with www and without www. You can use the same meta verification to verify your ownership or upload the verification file offered by Google Webmaster tool, when you submit your website. Once you have verified the ownership, login to your website dashboard under Google webmaster tool and click on gear icon on the right and click on site settings.

site settings Webmaster tool

From there you can set your preferred domain settings. As I mentioned above, you need to add www and non www version of your domain.

preferred domain name

Though if you have set proper 301 redirection, which usually any WordPress blog does by default, you can skip this step. Once you are configuring Webmaster tool for your blog, you might like to set it too.

Do let us know which domain URL do you prefer, www or non www? And which method do you prefer to set you preferred domain URL ?

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Article by Harsh Agrawal

Harsh has written 1048 articles.

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{ 18 comments… add one }

  • Adesanmi Adedotun

    Yes! Its indicated redirection.

  • Adesanmi Adedotun

    After chosen a prefer domain (www) version of my domain, Googlebot stop indexing my blog, please what can I do about this?

    • Harsh Agrawal

      Is your non www version of site getting redirected to www version of site?

  • Muhammad saleem

    Hi Harsh,
    I am getting this when preferring to my site on
    Part of the process of setting a preferred domain is to verify that you own Please verify

  • Animish

    Hi! Please guide me with this issue. Should I use domain with www. or without http://www.? Which one will be better seowise?

  • Avneesh Sachdeva

    I have set 301 from www to naked domain. But i want google to display search results for WWW domain. Is this possible by setting domain preference as WWW in webmaster tools?
    Also do I need to add and verify both domains (www and naked) in webmasters??

    • santosh

      According to SEO Expert NON-www is more powerful than www. So you can go with non-www according to me. As your preference you can set WWW versions in webmaster tools and check both non-www and www version in browser, if both points to same location then you are done.

  • salman

    do i need to set 301 redirect in .htaccess before doing in webmaster tools please quick reply.

  • scott

    I am getting this verify issue as well.
    The first thing I did, was I verified my site by uploading the file.
    Google then verified.
    When I try to change my preferred domain, it will not allow me.

    I don’t see how/why I need to add the site, when its already added..

    P.S. I did add the site again anyway, and it didn’t work =(

  • vasvi gupt

    hie friends,

    My website is verified in google webmaster tool but I am unable set preffered domain with www . it shows error “Part of the process of setting a preferred domain is to verify that you own Please verify” but My website is verified with www
    How can I do this??

  • Pete

    I figured it out, its because you need to add as a new site.

    • Harsh Agrawal

      That’s great Pete that you figured out yourself. Feel free to ask anything, will try to answer .. This will also help me to do my research :)

  • Puneett

    Harsh I tried it. But after setting preferred domain it asks me to verify domain. How to do that? Try to reply ASAP

    • Harsh Agrawal

      Puneet that’s the first thing you have done after putting your domain into Google webmaster tool…
      There are two ways to verify Google webmaster tool..
      1. meta tag
      2. Upload a HTML file
      You can use any of these method..

      • Puneet

        I have already added meta tag. So now the only thing I am required to do is choose the preferred domain. Or do I need to do anything else

        • Harsh Agrawal

          Instead you can use enforce www wordpress plugin. That will also help.

  • Harsh Agrawal

    There are some great features in your webmaster tool. Like image search permission and robots.txt.
    try to use them to make the most out of it.

  • Nimit kashyap

    wordpress already has this option enabled,anyways nice article for those who aren’t working on wordpress platform :)


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