WWW or the World Wide Web is the information space where web resources and documents are identified by URLs (Uniform Resource Locators). It was invented by Tim Berners-Lee in 1989. You might’ve noticed a number of times that some websites load without WWW being attached to their domain names while most others with the WWW suffix.
Actually, all websites load successfully even without inputting WWW before the domain name. The WWW vs. without WWW is not a hot topic for the public. However, it is of great interest for several SEO professionals that speculate differences between domains with and without WWW. So, this article will clear confusion about whether there is any role of WWW in SEO or not and if any then to what extent. But before doing that, let’s understand the distinction between WWW and without WWW domains for the public.
For Average Users and Small Business Owners
For small business owners and average users, there isn’t much of a distinction between domains with WWW or those without it. It is purely based on personal preference to chose either of them. Yes, if you type seocorporation.net or www.secorporation.net, both will successfully load the website. It is no different whether you choose the first option or the second one. Hence, for average users and small business owners, WWW and without WWW is one and the same thing.
For Mid-Sized and Full-Fledged Businesses
Unlike small businesses, mid-sized and full-fledged businesses need to adhere to only one preference, either WWW or without WWW. Though there’s not any hard and fast rule for this, it is preferred because it’s somewhat part of the business’s online repute. Again, as there is no obligation, businesses might follow or not follow this very preference.
Are there any SEO Gains?
Simply, no! There is no special search engine optimization perk, that one can get from using or not using WWW. Domains with a preference for WWW and domains without preference for WWW are treated in the same way by search engines.
Google has announced that it’s, using WWW or not using WWW, all just a matter of preference and nothing more than that. However, it is important for website owners to stick with one that they have chosen, WWW or no WWW, while launching the website. This is because it can be a significant part of the business’s repute at a later time.
Actually, search engines catalogue domains with WWW and also domains without WWW. However, if a website is accessed by using both WWW and without WWW before the domain name, then search engines simply consider both copies of the same website. Hence, as there is no distinction made between the two types, there is no special preference or penalty imposed on any of them.
How to Let Google Know About your WWW Preference
Now, it’s a good idea to let Google know how you prefer your website to be accessed by users, with WWW or without WWW. You can let Google know whether you like to keep WWW with your domain or not by means of the Google Webmaster tools. It’s a very simple process. However, if you don’t know how exactly you can do so, here’s a step-by-step instruction on how to do it:
- Login to your Google Webmaster Tools account
- Click on your website
- Next, click on the Gear icon present at the top right corner of the screen
- Now, select Site Settings
- Choose the preferred domain from the Site Settings screen
- Save Settings and exit
Once you’ll save and exit the Google Webmasters tools dashboard, the changes will be applied successfully and instantaneously.
Technical Distinction between with and without WWW domains
Though there’s no significant difference between a domain with WWW and without it, the distinction between the two exists on the technical front. You must know that domains not preferring to use WWW are also termed as naked domains. Yes, naked domains! That is a technical word.
WWW acts as a hostname for domains that use it. Simply, it provides the ability to restrict cookies and DNS flexibility, among all other benefits. As domains without WWW don’t have any technical advantages, they are simply addressed as naked domains.