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Mystery of the Google PageRank Solved

Just for the heck of it, tonight I checked my Google Pagerank again at Popuri… sure enough it was the big goose egg. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Out of curiosity, I entered http://www.douglaskarr.com instead of https://martech.zone… and voila! There it was in all of it’s glory! PageRank = 3 with 1,050 backlinks to my site.

This is a little bizarre to me because I signed up (free) on Google Webmasters and set my primary domain with the www, not without. So I really have no idea why that setting is even in there.

So… I did a few things tonight to try to ensure that I have consistency throughout the way my domain is called internal to my site:

  1. I cleared my preference on Google Webmaster and again submitted that my primary domain should utilize the www.
  2. I set my htaccess file to redirect any requests from http://douglaskarr.com to https://martech.zone. Be sure to edit your existing .htaccess file if it exists (it may be hidden from your FTP client):
    RewriteEngine On
    RewriteBase /
    RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST}
    ^douglaskarr.com$ [NC]
    RewriteRule ^(.*)$ https://martech.zone/$1 [L,R=301]

    (Edited: 4/11/07)

  3. I did a search and replace in MySQL to ensure that my domain was always referenced with the www. I updated both my posts table and my comments table (for the URL):
    UPDATE `wp_posts` set `post_content` = replace(`post_content`,'http://douglaskarr.com','https://martech.zone')

Perhaps this was a waste of time, but I figure it’s not going to actually hurt anything. Any thoughts from our SEO experts out there?

14 Comments

  1. 1

    Not a waste of time at all. Google sees each domain as a separate site and thus your PR gets split between the two. I don’t think your webmasters setup matters — it’s all about how many people are linking to each domain.

    Did you remove the .htaccess file? It doesn’t seem to be working right now.

    BTW, I think that last line should be:

    http://www.douglaskarr.com$1

    without the slash before the $1. That’s because the regex on the previous line will match the trailing slash, and you’ll end up getting double slashes in the redirect.

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    The steps you took are the correct ones although your redirects aren’t actually working at the moment.

    The one thing I would ask is why did you choose the www version? There’s nothing inherently better with URLs that include the www. With Google indicating its preference for the non-www version maybe you should go with that one. Of course, I’d like to know WHY Google likes the non-www version before making a decision one way or the other.

    • 3

      Hi SEO Guy!

      My first choice was changing everything to http://douglaskarr.com; however, it seemed to wreak havoc with WordPress Permalinks – even having changed the WP settings for the domain.

      Then I tried to change everything the opposite way – http://www.douglaskarr.com but with the htaccess file it actually broke the permalinks again, even though the links were perfect. Add the redirect – it broke it, remove the redirect and it worked. Weird.. because the URLs didn’t actually change.

      So – I’m totally confused and put it all back the way it was until I figure out what’s happening. I’m glad to hear your take on why Google likes the non-www version… I’m confused as well!

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      When I uploaded the htaccess, I didn’t realize that I actually wrote over the existing htaccess file written by WordPress… so the redirect worked, but the semantic URLs did not. Oops! I can blame my FTP software that hid the file and didn’t warn me to overwrite it. 🙂

      I do actually need the /$1. Without it, no slash followed the domain. I also mistakingly had a www in the search expression.

      Now I’m working on a feed redirect to Feedburner! Fun stuff!

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    I checked my pagerank with and without the www and it gave the same results, so I don’t think my web site is suffering a split personallity! I guess that is a good thing. If I do a search in Google for my posts they all come back without the www.

    I think I’ll leave things as they are. Dabbling can be a dangerous thing 🙂

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