How do you access your website? Do you use www as a prefix or simply go without it?
Usually, any site that is not using redirection from www to non-www or vice-versa is creating a duplicate copy of the site. This creates a duplicate content issue, and your site gets penalized in the search engine. It’s your job to ensure only one URL is accessible and the other one is redirected.
For example: My Website address is www.ShoutMeLoud.com
When you type https://ShoutMeLoud.com, it will automatically be redirected to www.shoutmeloud.com, which is how every website should be.
Usually, webmasters set 301 redirections 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 at Google Search console.
If you are not sure that you are making the 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 worry. In a different situation, you should make sure that both the URL should redirect to one URL only.
What is a preferred domain setting?
As the name suggests, you can tell Google, which URL (www or non-www) you would like Google to index.
You can treat your domain like https://shoutmeloud.com or https://www.shoutmeloud.com. If you don’t set your preferred domain style, chances of getting penalized for duplication of content by Google is very high.
This is how Google explains the 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 http://www.example.com and we find a link to your site that is formatted as http://example.com, we’ll treat that link as if it was http://www.example.com . 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 the preferred domain here on Google’s official page.
How can you set up your preferred domain using Google Search’s console 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 prove your ownership or upload the verification file offered by Google search console when you submit your website. Once you have verified the ownership, log in to your website’s dashboard under Google’s search console tool and click on the gear icon on the right and click on site settings.
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.
Though, if you have set proper 301 redirection, which a WordPress blog does by default, you can skip this step. Once you are configuring Google search console for your blog, you might like to set it too.
Do let us know which domain URL you prefer. Also, which method do you prefer to set your preferred domain URL?
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- How to Deal with the 404 Error for Search Engine Optimization