Many of you have heard of this issue, but I bet very few of you can actually say it without twisting your tongue: canonicalization.
A mouthful of a word to describe a simple concept:
In Google’s eyes, http://www.TrafficGenerationCafe.com and http://TrafficGenerationCafe.com are 2 different sites.
Without getting all technical on you (actually, I couldn’t even if I wanted to – all I know about the issue is what an average blogger should know about it, and that it how to take care of it painlessly), here’s what it means in practical terms:
When any kind of link building to your blog occurs – whether it be natural link building through other people linking to your posts or intentional link building that you do on your own, all your links have a potential to be split between those 2 versions of your site. It all depends what version of link used: www or non-www version.
Also, there is a question of duplicate content issues, since now you basically have two website with identical content.
Bottom line: you need to fix it now.
If you don’t know whether you use linux or apache server or what your .htaccess file is, don’t fret – I make it my job to not know these things.
Here are 2 practical steps you need to take to resolve this issue:
1. Set It in Your WP Dashboard
In your WordPress dashboard, go to Settings ==> General.
In the “WorPress address (URL)” box, enter your chosen URL – with or without WWW.
It doesn’t matter which one you choose, as long as you choose it and stick with it.
2. Set It in Your Webmaster Tools
If you don’t have a free account with Google Webmaster Tools, get it now.
Here’s the simple precess step by step.
If this is your first time using Google Webmaster Tools, you will have to verify both of you www and non-www versions of your site. Just follow the directions on how to do that.
Once both sites are verified, click on one of them and go to Dashboard ==> Site Configuration ==> Settings.
Then set your preferred domain as one or the other.
By doing this, you are basically telling Google which domain you prefer and they use that information for all future crawls of your site.
For instance, now when Google see a link that is formatted as http://yoursite.com, but your preferred domain is http://www.yoursite.com, they will follow that link as if it were http://www.yoursite.com.
Plus, whatever version your visitors use to get to your site, they will be automatically redirected to the one you prefer.
You should be properly canonicalized now and all your links will be just where they should be: in one basket.
And one more thing: to make sure everything is set up properly, just type your non-preferred URL into the Google address window and see if you are properly redirected. If you are, you know you did it right.
As always, comment to show me that you’re alive!