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Thread: Canonical links

  1. #1
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    Canonical links

    I understand that it is a good thing to use canonical links so that Google sees the www and non www site version as the same site.

    My question is which is it best to include in the canonical link - the site name with or without the www?

    Hope this makes sense.

  2. #2
    SitePoint Member backer's Avatar
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    I think it is not as important, as long as you pick one, and keep building links to the other "version" of the site.

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    Its better to use 301 redirection for merging your www and non-www version of your websites.
    Canonical tags are required to use in cases where search engine is discovering your web pages from different path.

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    Sorry if this is a daft question, but if I chose the www version to be the main version, why would I build links to the non www. version?

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    Whatever version you choose for your site (www or non-www) use that in your canonical tag and build links to that version chosen.

    Also make sure you choose the same version in Google Webmaster Tools.
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    It does not matter which one your choose. I personally prefer with www rather than without it.

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    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hlforr View Post
    Sorry if this is a daft question, but if I chose the www version to be the main version, why would I build links to the non www. version?
    You wouldn't but other people quite likely will. Since 99% of links to sites are built by people other than the site owner and you don't have any control over how they do the link you will likely end up with perhaps 20-25% of the links to your page using the one you didn't choose simply because some people always include the www and some people always leave it out regardless of what the site they are linking to uses.

    At most you will build a few thousand links to your page but if your page is to be popular it will need millions of links to it - hence 99%+ of the links to your page will have to be created by other people.
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    Thanks everyone for great explanations - they've been really helpful.

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    SitePoint Wizard mcsolas's Avatar
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    One aspect of this not yet mentioned is that Google webmaster tools lets you set your preferred domain.

    It mentions at the bottom of the page that a 301 redirection is a good way to help keep things in order.

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    om nom nom nom Stomme poes's Avatar
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    Zorro D is absolutely correct: instead of relying on an invalid, proprietary google-only attribute in your markup, make your server redirect with a 301... search engines (and hopefully those linking to you) will update their indices.

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    it doesnt matter which would you like to use for. as long as you know where is your portal for links. for me then i rather use with www.

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    Even if you have a 301 redirect, it's still not a bad idea to include a canonical meta tag on large sites... just to be extra careful you don't have any pages displaying the same content under different URLs.

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    Non-Member Jeff Collision's Avatar
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    You can use which ever you want (www or non-www version) but make sure to set your preferred domain in Google Webmaster tool.

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    i like to see www version of website in google listing.

    I am using www for my website as redirection and as canonical. So i'll suggest same.
    There is not any difference, you can use any one from these two.

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    i think with www is preferable.....but it does,not affect more in any way so its your choice to go either way...but make sure that you use only one URL for your website with or without www


    Good luck
    Last edited by Mittineague; Aug 3, 2011 at 15:05.

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    I don't think there's a point in using the canonical tag if there are 301s anyways.

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    SitePoint Member pratap295's Avatar
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    Its not matter that you should write www or not its all about you choose canonical links or not. So always use canonical links for saving duplication.

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    Mouse catcher silver trophy Stevie D's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by swebsitedesign View Post
    I don't think there's a point in using the canonical tag if there are 301s anyways.
    That depends on the setup of your site. Sometimes you can end up with multiple variations of an address, eg if you use dynamic URLs, and then a canonical is a very handy way to guide Google. And even if that isn't the case, belt and braces never hurts!

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    om nom nom nom Stomme poes's Avatar
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    and then a canonical is a very handy way to guide Google. And even if that isn't the case, belt and braces never hurts!
    Spreading proprietary stuff that only works for the single head of a monopoly never has!

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    I use a shoopping cart software called volusion and it will not let me use 301 redirects for my home page. so is the conical the correct way to go?

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    According to this: Canonical URL Tag - The Most Important Advancement in SEO Practices Since Sitemaps | SEOmoz

    Yahoo and Microsoft also support the canonical meta tag, not just Google. There are probably other smaller search engines that do (or will) support it as well, since the big guys do.

    @lightingguru You can also do 301 redirects through .htaccess. Your web pages should know any difference if done right. I've never used that software before, but this: http://support.volusion.com/article/301-redirects looks like a guide on how to do it.

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    Mouse catcher silver trophy Stevie D's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stomme poes View Post
    Spreading proprietary stuff that only works for the single head of a monopoly never has!
    There's no reason for it not to work on other search engines. Google have been very open about the canonical tag. I wouldn't say it's "proprietary", because other search engines are perfectly at liberty to adopt it into their own algorithms. Just because it isn't part of an official spec doesn't mean that it can't be used.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pratap295 View Post
    Its not matter that you should write www or not its all about you choose canonical links or not. So always use canonical links for saving duplication.
    Duplicate content caused by the www and non-www versions of the website are the main reasons this tag should always be used.

    301 redirects are recommended if you don't want to loose your link "juice".

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    www version to be the main version

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    You can use any one but I recommend you to always use with www.


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