303 Redirects and SEO?

Here is a question for the true SEO professionals that I was not aware made a difference. A client has asked me to do a 303 redirect of his http://domainname.com to www.domainname.com so that he gets full credit for the traffic that comes from a browser where a user has only used domainname.com and not typed in the www.domainname.com. I was unaware that that there is any difference. The question is: Is the traffic split between these two ways of entering the Domain, and not a simple collective Domain Name level?

I hope this makes sense.

Certainly there is a difference between typing domain.com or www.domain.com… although most of the time we don’t notice because major domain resellers asing you both forms when you buy the domain and they do the redirect and all.

For this very reason, you don’t normally need to think of it in SEO terms as the redirect is definitive and therefore you don’t need to pay more attention to it.

Now, if you customer didn’t have the two versions and therefore the redirect was not automatic, I quite understand that he wants to do it now.

I am assuming that if you type it in either way and it goes to the site, that it in fact is being redirected. Would that be the case? Silly question I know, but I have seen where it does not work either way.

I don’t find the question silly at all. It is the kind of thing that we expect to happen but we don’t stop to wonder why it happens and if it shoud happen that way :slight_smile:

If it goes to the same site, yes, then it is already redirected.

Thanks for your help! It is what I thought, but because I was getting the question, I questioned myself. :goof:

The answer is - it depends. If all your SEO uses www., you only ever publish the URL including www., and most or all inbound links to your site follow the same convention, it’s unlikely that search engines would pick up or pay much attention to the non-www versions. On the other hand, if you have some links and references that include the www. and others that don’t, you’re in danger of search engines indexing both versions of the URL. This means that each of the two versions will get less prominence, because your link juice and relevance is being split between two pages instead of all channelled into one.

You should always ensure that visitors get taken to the same page, regardless of whether they use www. or not in the URL (different subdomains may be an exception). Ideally, you should have one canonical version, and have the other version redirect to the preferred one - this solves the problem of search engines treating them as two separate and competing pages.

Thanks for the reply, the linking aspect I had not considered.

You shouldn’t use a 303 (See Other) redirect for this, but a 301 (Moved Permanently).

See HTTP/1.1 Status Code Definitions.