Ask Yoast:

Www or no www? And what about duplicate content?

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 have you ever wondered about getting duplicate content issues because of having a www and a non-www version? Let’s 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 for the answer!

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?

We received a question about this from Steve Blundell from 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!”

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

Ask Yoast series


14 Responses to Www or no www? And what about duplicate content?

  1. Gijs Hovens
    Gijs Hovens  • 2 years ago

    Hi Yoast,

    I definitely agree on that Google does not care.

    What is your opinion on using www for high-traffic sites? http://www.yes-www.org/why-use-www/ describes several reasons why this is a better idea than using the naked domain.

    And even if it’s nog always relevant for smaller sites, why not better be safe than sorry?

    Kind regards,

    Gijs

  2. Hazim Alaeddin
    Hazim Alaeddin  • 2 years ago

    Hi Joost,

    I don’t know what I would do without Yoast SEO. What I do know is that my life will be a lot more difficult. Thank you for everything you guys do.

    As for the www or no www, a few years ago I was upset that it was going, and it was purely nostalgic. Today, I never use it, and actually, prefer no www.

    I look forward to reading and learning more with Yoast.

  3. storycrow
    storycrow  • 2 years ago

    The audience argument ist a good one. Many especially newer, fancier domains like .berlin or .doctor are not easily recognizable as a domain name for many people still!

  4. Carlos
    Carlos  • 2 years ago

    Usando o www o site fica parecendo mais profissional assim faço em um meu de Buscar Empregos

  5. Ramanan
    Ramanan  • 2 years ago

    This article convinces me that www is better.

    http://www.yes-www.org/why-use-www/

    • David Ritter
      David Ritter  • 2 years ago

      That article is bogus.

      It’s true that some hosting providers prefer CNAMES so they can update IP Addresses whenever the feel like it. However, DNS providers like DNSMadeEasy, Dyn, etc. also allow you to have ANAME records, which are basically like CNAMES but at the root level.

      I’m a minimalist, I prefer a naked domain. But as far as google is concerned, Yoast is right, it doesn’t matter, as long as you’re consistent.

  6. Alex
    Alex  • 2 years ago

    Its always better to use www url then non www as it will be useful in website’s off page optimization.

  7. Prosperity Kenneth
    Prosperity Kenneth  • 2 years ago

    As for me. non WWW url remains my best bet ;)

  8. Elisabeth van der Meer
    Elisabeth van der Meer  • 2 years ago

    Joost,
    Thank you for paying attention to this issue.
    You are the SEO expert and you looked at the issue from that angle. Yet there is another aspect to this topic.
    What I noticed in your email is: that the http://www.exampledomain.com has turned into an active link. Whereas exampledomain.com did not.
    So the use of www is a benefit there.

    • Prosperity Kenneth
      Prosperity Kenneth  • 2 years ago

      exampledomain.com didn’t turn into an active link because of the absence of http/https

      https://exampledomain.com

  9. PressWord
    PressWord  • 2 years ago

    If you ever plan on using subdomains for anything, having www is a much easier route to take, for many reasons. So I play it safe and stick to www most times on bigger sites. Small sites I’m fine with what they prefer and take that route accordingly.

    • David Finch
      David Finch  • 2 years ago

      Hi PressWord
      We use a lot of subdomains and actually find it simpler easier and cleaner for SEO to not use WWW. In fact we stopped using it all together about 2 years ago, nobody types www anymore they type the website name so no www saves time for the user and loads quicker for the benefit of the site.

  10. Andrei Jach
    Andrei Jach  • 2 years ago

    As most people don’t type in www. anymore (can you remember the last time you typed it in…), this will actually slow the load times down by introducing an extra redirect if someone was to type the website address into a browser without the www. We managed to reduced load times for many of our client websites by 200ms for local traffic by removing the www and redirecting straight to the domain. It also makes for a cleaner, shorter URL for sharing and displaying in search results.

  11. phpfreelancer
    phpfreelancer  • 2 years ago

    Perhaps this is good advice for SEO, but in case your planning on using a service like CloudFlare, you should be careful. See https://support.cloudflare.com/hc/en-us/articles/203685674-Full-setup-versus-Partial-CNAME-setup


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