Don’t Divide Your SEO

August 6th, 2009 | Posted in Design, links, Misc, Websites | Comments Off

A lot of people are dividing their off site SEO efforts without even realizing it. Specifically they’re not being consistent about how they present the url for their site. Sometimes they’ll use the “www.” and other times they won’t. The same goes for the trailing slash at the end of the url, sometimes they include it, other times they don’t.

The problem is that search engines treat each version of the url as a completely separate entity. http://www.blogdoofus.com and http://blogdoofus.com are NOT the same address in the eyes of search engines. The same goes for either url with or without the trailing slash.

While you can’t do anything about how others link to your site, you CAN do something about the url that you use in comments, forum signatures, advertising and so on. Pick one form of your url and then only use that one.

For example, I’m a bit lazy and don’t see the point of using “www.” in my url so I never use it. I also don’t use the trailing slash either for the base url for this blog. Granted, WordPress will typically add a trailing slash to single post page urls but since I don’t have to type them, I don’t care about that and leave it as WP generates it.

By being consistent with how you use your site url, you can concentrate all of the “link juice” you generate on one form which will help avoid confusing search engines.

To help further avoid confusion, I also have a bit of code in my .htaccess file that automatically converts to the non “www.” form of the url so that any visitor here will never see it and if they do notice that they clicked or typed a “www.” form and their location bar ends up shown a non “www.” form of the url, this should be a little clue as to which version I prefer to use.

Options +FollowSymLinks
RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} .
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^example\.com
RewriteRule (.*) http://example\.com/$1 [R=301,L]

All you need to do is add this code to your .htaccess file (assuming you use Linux based hosting), just above the code that WordPress put there. (making sure to change example.com to your url! Otherwise you’ll break your site!

Technorati Tags: consistency, url forms, url format, canonical url, trailing slash, www, no www, off site seo

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