The Importance of 301 Redirects And Google Canonical URL Issues

Apr 4, 2006 • 8:10 am | comments (1) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization
 

There is an excellent recent thread named Canonical URL problems results in two sites in Googles eyes where Dayo_UK explains the current issues with having a domain name without 301 redirecting the non www to the www.

He uses Matt Cutts's blog as an example, saying;

mattcutts.com/blog/2005/10/ is not indexed under the non-www and if you query all the DCs you will see that it references the www on a "mattcutts.com/blog/2005/10/" search as the page.

So you would probably think that the Canonilization process is working correctly - and we would assume that Google thinks that mattcutts.com/blog/2005/10/ is the same page as www.mattcutts.com/blog/2005/10/

But if you do a PR check on the non-www and the www pages you will start to see that they are in fact split - the non-www has no PR while the www has PR accross the DCs.

Dayo_UK explains that Matt's site "survived the site split" effect of the canonilization process. But many sites are not. Matt most likely survived it due to the number of fresh inbound links to his site.

So if you have an ordinary site and the non www version is not 301 redirected to the www version (or visa versa) then you should probably look deeper into this thread and make that decision. You can easily check your header status at this or this tool.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

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Comments:

Search Engines Web

04/06/2006 05:41 am

Interestingly enough, the WWW and the Non-WWW ARE IN FACT TWO different Sites (technically). You can actually modify most DNS control panels to have two different Default (index.html) Web pages for both the WWW and the Non-WWW. You can even have them point to TWO seperate Class C IP addresses. Some Webmasters have had two seperate pages as a "Back Up" for one another in case of "Innocent Droppings".... Some have had one page LINKING to the other - or both reciprocating links. Some have made one a very fancy graphics-intensive or FLASH introduction page that they introduce to a Certain Group of clients - while developing the other into a more "SEO" friendlier page for the benefit of Search Engines traffic or PPC traffic. To some this is preferable to having to different Domain Names.

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