There's a pretty neat facility in Webmaster Tools where you can set your preferred version (www or non-www) to be crawled by Google. Once you pick your preferred destination URL, use 301 redirects to send traffic from other URL variants to your preferred URL, so that the valuable ranking factors are carried along with the redirect. It is also advisable to use the preferred version for internal linking and advertising. Let's talk about another important implication for canonicalization - Duplicate content. Most web hosts consider 'www' as a default submain to the main domain and automatically configure it to have the same content as the non-www versions. This can lead us to access the website more than necessary, perhaps slowing down the website load time for normal users and also confusing users by showing the same content in the search results twice. While Google is very good at automatically detecting the best version, webmasters can help improve our accuracy by making use of the rel=canonical link tag element as well as our URL parameter handling tool in Webmaster Tools.
In summary, here are some best practices to avoid having a canonicalization issue with your website:
We hope this article and those that will follow are going to be useful, not only for the discussed websites, but also for all webmasters who read this blog.
That's all! Until our next post…!
Posted by Search Quality Team
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