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Including The Www

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I've been told by a friend and now a SEO company that I need my www to appear before my domain name. I rarely type it in anymore, so when I setup my accounts I don't add it.

 

The SEO said I could get in trouble with the search engines for duplicate content, even if it's by mistake.

 

cheapwebsolutions.com

www.cheapwebsolutions.com

cheapwebsolutions.com/index.php

www.cheapwebsolutions.com/index.php

 

All point to the same content.

 

I tried to do a redirect in cPanel, but it didn't like / pointing to www.cheapwebsolutions.com !!

 

I'm clueless. Any help?

 

Thanks.

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While I am no expert by any means, I highly doubt that the subdomain of www will have any negative marks on your SE rankings. I will defer to someone in the know as I have been known to be wrong.

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If that is true then most every site here at TCH is in trouble because they are set up that way by default. I dabble in SEO, by no means am an expert, but it makes no sense to me as long as all of your links are written the same. Ideally you would put the whole (with www) URL in your site (internal links) and give that URL to others to use to link to you.

 

I would not ask that it be set to work only one way or the other, if it's even possible, because how many times have you typed google.com? I do it all the time and I'm pretty sure a lot of folks get to any of my sites by saying the-name-of-my-church.org or the others without www.

 

Remember, the engines only see what's out there so if you always use WWW then they'll be happy :)

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For what it's worth, my site has good rankings in the major search engines for a couple terms I track, and it has for years. Until maybe a year ago both www.mysite.com and mysite.com were valid addresses. A year ago I added an htaccess rule so all incoming www.mysite.com traffic is redirected to mysite.com (for reasons other than SEO). I'm pretty sure I tacked a 301 error message on there for the search engines too. But this theoretical switch from "two" sites to one didn't do a thing to my rankings--up or down.

 

I've always thought (with no evidence or proof to back this idea up, mind) that the "duplicate content" issue was more of a concern if you had two very different URLs pointing to the same page, i.e.

 

mysite.whatever/folder/page.php?foo=bar

 

and

 

mysite.whatever/f/foo/bar/

 

Search engines can't anticipate that those are the exact same page, although they might be if you're doing an htaccess redirect. So then you get penalized for duplicate content. Whether or not a www is present, or whether or not index.php is present, can be anticipated in the algorhythms. I would think, anyway.

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Ok, I did some research and here's what I found out about Google.

 

1. There is no such thing as a duplicate content penalty. A penalty results in pages being removed and they don't do that.

 

2. Duplicate content may get higher rankings than your original site in some cases and Google will not show the same page over and over again. Therefore others may show up and yours won't.

 

3. If some links are to yourtchsite.com and some links are to www.yourtchsite.com then you won't get full credit for those links as if they were all to the same variety. This means that your site with 100 links may get the same "credit" for it as another site with only 50 links to it if yours are with www and without.

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