WWW or non-WWW: Which URL Structure Is Better for SEO?

Explore the pros and cons of the www vs. non-www usage in your domain address and figure out which URL structure is better for website SEO

SEO
Updated on September 10, 2022
WWW or non-WWW: Which URL Structure Is Better for SEO?

Your website domain and general URL structure are based on some technical elements. This article will explore the use of www vs. non-www in your website URL and which URL structure is better for SEO.

Both www and non-www have their professional and cons; however, in the long run, you want to apprehend the results of your choice. If you’re not careful, you can create duplicate locations of your site, hurting your site’s SEO and rank in the SERPs. See how you can keep visitors flowing with a properly configured website URL.

Understanding The Structure Of A URL

It is important to understand that many seemingly insignificant details are in building your website URL. Each of these details will change your website location and also changes how search engines like Google crawl and index your website.

HTTP and HTTPS

HTTP is a standard language protocol that helps browsers communicate between clients and servers. Most URLs start with http://. If your website has an SSL or Transport Layer Security (TLS) certificate, the URL will start with https://.

http://domainname.com

or…

https://domainname.com

Domain Name

An important part of the Internet allowing users to navigate between websites. This is something you buy and register with a domain registrar like Godaddy or Namecheap. Additionally, domain names act as human-readable (and easy-to-remember!) addresses. Without them, I would have surfed the Internet and remembered her IP number instead of company and brand names.

In the URL, the domain is the first http:// or

https://domainname.com

WWW Domain Prefix

The WWW prefix is ​​used to identify web addresses or locations. It’s a subdomain (similar to ftp.yourwebsite.com or blog.yourwebsite.com) to identify a more specific location. This is mostly used on larger sites. However, unlike traditional subdomains, nowadays, it is not necessary to include the WWW prefix unless you have a specific reason to do so. For example, in a URL, the prefix www precedes the domain name:

https://www.domainname.com

What Are WWW And Non-WWW URL, And Which Is Best For SEO?

When talk about www vs. non-www, we refer to sites that do or do not include the prefix www in the domain name.

Here is a www domain:

https://www.yoursite.com

And here is a non-www domain:

https://yoursite.com

The prefix WWW (“Word Wide Web”) traditionally designates websites accessible online. Moreover, for most of the history of the Internet, most websites used the prefix “www” followed by a domain name. These days it is treated more like a subdomain, making it optional for anyone who wants to simplify their URL with a non-www version of their domain.

Differences Between WWW And Non-WWW Structure URL For SEO

The Internet is a very specific place. At least in terms of web standards. Adopting new ways of doing things is slow as billions of internet users and breaking the Internet is in no one’s interest. And the differences in www and non-www domains may go away someday, but there are some technical and user experience differences to understand now, so you can quickly decide which URL structure is better for SEO..

First, it’s important to understand that a website URL using WWW is technically a completely any place other than the same website URL without www.

For example:

https://www.yoursite.com will take you to a location other than https://yoursite.com.

That’s why it’s important to be consistent with what you choose. And use canonical redirects and URLs to ensure you’re not getting duplicate content.

Pros and Cons of WWW and Non-WWW URL, Which Is Best For SEO?

Both www and non-www versions have advantages and disadvantages. Let’s outline them so you can quickly decide which URL structure is better for SEO.

Interestingly, there are two websites dedicated to this topic.

WWW strengths and weaknesses

WWW has been the standard for many years. Unfortunately, many still associate www with his website. However, these are not strong points. Much less so. And there are some great things you can do on the web because of how the web works.

First, you can set some cookies only for specific www subdomains. Cookies are passed hierarchically. Moreover, if you set a cookie on www.domain.com, it will be given to a thing.www.domain.com, other.thing.www.domain.com, and so on. As you can imagine, setting a cookie on domain.com propagates to all subdomains.

Domain-level cookies are usually important, such as session IDs and tracking scripts. However, if you want to host an image on a subdomain and remove unwanted cookies, you cannot do this by setting the root domain cookie.

Using WWW only sends cookies to the WWW version and not to all other subdomains such as static.domain.com and img.domain.com.

Second, the subdomain is more flexible, at least in terms of DNS. This means you can use Content Delivery Networks much more easily.

As a con, we could say that the WWW is kind of old. Eventually, the web will likely adapt to non-WWW usage to its full potential, but it may take a while. Who knows, maybe we won’t use URLs anymore at some point.

But for now, the technology still relies on old protocols, and the www is likely not going away anytime soon due to its vast and efficient uses.

You can read more about the advantages of using www at https://www.yes-www.org.

Non-WWW URL Pros And Cons, Which Is Best For SEO?

You get a prettier and shorter domain if you don’t use WWW. Shorter domains are associated with higher rankings, but that’s just a correlation.

Also, if you don’t use any cookies or if your cookies are needed everywhere (including images), it saves bandwidth because you have to send 4 more bytes of data (www is 3 and the 4th is the dot before the domain name).

You can also say that the domain is easier to remember, spell, type, and count. This is not an issue with direct traffic as there are 301s that always take the user to the good version but can leak link juice from redirects. Ideally, all backlinks should go to just one version instead of always splitting in two. This applies regardless of whether you use the WWW or not.

The cons are the opposite of what the pros are for the WWW version:

Firstly, you cannot restrict root cookies to just the root domain, as and will always pass them to all subdomains. However, cookies are still sent because most blogs and websites host images on the same domain.

Second, you can’t set up his CNAME record for the root/naked domain without messing with other things like FTP or email, which makes it more difficult to get the CDN to work.

Using a non-www version might also be less secure, but this is only applicable if you don’t use secure HTTPS and cookies.

So, if you want to see the pros of a non-www webpage, go to https://dropwww.com/why.

As you can see, the reasons for leaving the WWW are a little more ignorant. And they don’t get into the technical issues at all. On the other hand, the reasons for keeping the WWW are much stronger.

WWW CDN Setup

Also, a CDN is easy to set up with a www domain. Unfortunately, some CDN providers don’t handle non-www well. But this is a shrinkage occurrence.

Domains without www are better for user experience

Using domains other than www is more intuitive on the end user’s side. Internet users often type sites that are not www by default (even for sites that use www). Moreover, this means fewer redirects occur when using non-www URLs to sites with a lot of direct traffic. People often ignore “www.” prefixes when speaking or referencing URLs.

SEO Benefits Of Using WWW vs. Non-WWW URL

Search engines do not prioritize www or non-www and do not consider them a ranking factor. So it doesn’t matter for his SEO which one he chooses. It is essential to configure one of the options correctly. You cannot configure both. Incorrect www or non-www configuration can result in SEO penalties.

SEO Risk of Duplicate Content

Both www URL and non-www URL versions of a page or post are considered duplicate content and can negatively impact your SEO, so you can quickly decide which URL structure is better for SEO.

Duplicate content is content repeated on the same website (and possibly on other websites). Of course, all websites have content duplication all the time. However, www and non-www create two complete and accurate versions of each page, post, and archive location. This essentially creates a duplicate of your entire website. One is created at www.example.com and another at example.com. This gets more complicated when you allow HTTP and HTTPS protocols on your website.

Duplicate Content Warning

It can have dramatic consequences. Simply put, the two versions of your website confuse search engines. Search engines index some pages in www domains and others in non-www domains.

You don’t have to build half of your domain authority based on one of two versions of the base URL. Confusion about which version to index and rank can penalize both versions, negatively impacting your ranking. This reduces search traffic and site performance.

If you have both or concerns, you can set up a 301 redirect. This allows you to redirect unwanted URL versions to the desired version. For non-www domains, many hosting providers default to redirecting to the www version of the field to avoid conflicts. If not, you can always use plugins to perform the required redirects.

The Importance Of Setting Canonical URLs For SEO

A canonical URL is a self-declared choice despatched to look engines for the preferred URL version of a page or domain location. As we’ve seen, having multiple web page versions can cause search engine problems. This is because you may not know which version of the page to index and display to searchers. Additionally, when search engines detect duplicate content, it can exacerbate indexing issues and lower your ranking in search results.

Setting the canonical URL tells search engines which version of the page to index. This allows us to crawl your site more efficiently and prevent content duplication issues.

Yoast SEO for WordPress allows you to set a canonical URL. Yoast search engine optimization is a plugin that permits you to optimize your internet site for seek engines. Scroll down to the Yoast SEO section on any page or post on your site. Under Details, you will see a field to add the canonical URL for this page/post. This tells search engines which version you prefer.

WWW vs. non-WWW: Which One Should I Use?

To decide which URL structure is better for SEO as we have established, there is a stalemate regarding SEO. Using www or non-www URLs will not affect her SEO of the site. Using www URLs can provide technical advantages in some areas, which should be considered over non-www ones. And also, the main thing is to be consistent in usage. Once you decide to go www or not go www, stick to that choice.

Conclusion

Also, a CDN is easy to set up with a www domain. However, choosing to use www instead of non-www in your URL is not a major consideration for your site’s search ranking. Moreover, just remember to follow the best practices above, and you can spend your time worrying about other areas of SEO.