Ask Yoast: www or no www?

While in the early days of the internet www was the norm, these days a good many sites of great repute -Yoast.com included ;)- don’t use www. So, are there any SEO-implications to choosing either option? And did you ever wondered about getting duplicate content issues because of having a www and a non-www version? I’ll get into those questions in this Ask Yoast!

If you own a website, you have probably, at some point, thought about your preferred URL. Perhaps you chose between www.yoursite.com and yoursite.com straight away and never thought about it again. Or maybe you switched to or from www at one point. Let’s look at some implications of these choices.

Dirkje Evers emailed us her question on this subject:

A hosting company told me that it’s better for Google to use the domain www.exampledomain.nl instead of exampledomain.nl. Should I take their advice or not?

Watch the video or read the transcript further down the page!

Should I use www for Google or not?

“Dirkje Evers emailed us about a Dutch hosting company that had recommended to them that using www.example.nl was better than using just example.nl for Google. And whether they should take that advice or not. Well, no… That’s what we call…nonsense. In terms that I can use on video. Because I’m actually up to use some other terms. It’s absolute nonsense, you don’t have to use www for anything.

The only reason why you would use www.something is if people would otherwise not recognize your domain name as a domain name. Which is something that is bound to happen, if you have a somewhat older target audience. But other than that use whatever you want. Use www or do not use www, whatever rocks your boat.

Good luck!”

www and duplicate content issues?

If the content on different URLs is the same, search engines don’t know which URL to show in the search results. We call this a duplicate content issue. And it can hurt your rankings! Unfortunately, it happens more often than you’d think. Did you, for instance, ever think about the consequences of www or non-www versions of your site?

At Ask Yoast, we received a question about this from Steve Blundell of Avonsci:

“Do the www and non-www versions of a page create duplicate content, and if so how can I deal with it?”

Duplicate content issues or not?

“The answer is yes, it creates duplicate content. It’s not the worst kind of duplicate content, because Google knows that these things happen, but it’s better to fix it nonetheless. The best way of fixing it is to choose one, either the www or the non-www version and to redirect the other to it. So on Yoast.com, we redirect www.yoast.com to yoast.com. We did that because we think it’s cooler and www is a bit old-fashioned. But, choose whatever suits you best, redirect the other and you’re done!”

Note: don’t forget to add the right version of your site to Google Search Console, if you’re using GSC!Watch the answer in the video below! 

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Ask Yoast your question!

Do you have a question about duplicate content, link building or copywriting? Just ask! We’ll be glad to help you out if we can. Send your SEO question to ask@yoast.com!

Note: please check our knowledge base first, the answer to your question may already be there! For urgent questions, for example about our plugin not working properly, we’d like to refer you to our support page.)

Read more: Redirecting your site to non-www and https »