Search Marketing

Finally, It’s Time to Retire Your WWW

Sites like ours that have been around for a decade accumulated SEO rank on pages that have sustained incredible traffic. As with most sites, our domain was displayed and started with www. In recent years, the www has become less prominent on sites… but we kept ours because that subdomain had so much authority with search engines.

Until now!

Moz has a great breakdown of changes with 301 Redirects that Google has announced, which are helping search-centric sites maintain their authority while modifying their site’s location. The two that are key, in my opinion, are:

  • SSL – Google has encouraged websites going secure and announced there would be no impact in redirecting HTTP to HTTPS. If you’re accepting any data on your site, I’d encourage you to make the move as well.
  • 301 Redirects – Gary Illyes announced that 3xx redirects no longer lose authority. So, it’s time to retire that www subdomain and push your traffic to your domain. We’re now just without the www!

New Rules of 3xx Redirection

Moz 301

This is a great time to retire that old www and modernize your site’s address. We’ve already done it on Martech and our agency. We’ll also be rolling these changes out to our client after having changed and tested it with our sites and not seeing any degradation in ranking.

Apache .htaccess Redirect www to non-www

If you’re running a site like WordPress on Apache and can edit and add rules to your .htaccess file, here’s a snippet to 301 redirect (with https):

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTPS} off [OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^www\. [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^(?:www\.)?(.+)$ [NC]
RewriteRule ^ https://www.%1%{REQUEST_URI} [L,NE,R=301]

Don’t Forget Google Search Console

Note that having both versions of the site’s URL listed in your Google Search Console account won’t affect the indexing of your site as long as you have submitted a Sitemap for only one version—the version you want to be indexed. Don’t submit a Sitemap for both versions if the location and content are identical.


Douglas Karr

Douglas Karr is the founder of the Martech Zone and a recognized expert on digital transformation. Douglas has helped start several successful MarTech startups, has assisted in the due diligence of over $5 bil in Martech acquisitions and investments, and continues to launch his own platforms and services. He's a co-founder of Highbridge, a digital transformation consulting firm. Douglas is also a published author of a Dummie's guide and a business leadership book.

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