If you have ever wondered what is the difference between www and non-www websites and which one is superior, we at Bakoffis, a leading SEO agency in Australia, are here to help you with the right explanation. In SEO, it’s a common misconception that WWW is SEO-friendly, but non-www is not and vice versa. In truth, both www and non-www have similar SEO ranking criteria, and both can help you improve your search engine rating. What you have to do is decide which one looks best for your company.
In fact, experts from leading digital marketing agencies say that it makes no difference which choice you choose because the brand makes the decision. In short, from an SEO analysis and best SEO practices view, www or non-www URL domains do not offer any advantages or boost the website’s performance. So, you can pick one that you like and stick with it.
The Claim: WWW/Non-WWW in A URL Is A Ranking Factor
Would https://www.example.com rank higher than https://example.com (or vice versa) merely on the basis of the www’s use? To understand this, we need to first determine what the www element of a URL means and represents. Take a look at the URLs below:
- https://example.com/page.html – An HTML page on the root domain.
- https://example.com/folder/page.html – An HTML page in a subfolder/subdirectory.
- https://www.example.com/page.html – An HTML page under the www subdomain.
- https://store.example.com/page.html – An HTML page under the store subdomain.
This clearly shows that www is seen as a sub-domain.
The Evidence Against WWW or Non-WWW as a Ranking Factor
With our understanding of www and non-www website URLs, we would like you to dive deeper and look at the pros and cons of both.
A www URL offers more control over cookies for your own www subdomain. For instance, if you have a www.abc.com domain, and if you set cookies for it, then those cookies will be passed down to all subdomains. For the subdomains x.www.abc.com and y.www.abc.com, the cookies will also be passed down.
By using the www prefix, you may also limit your cookies to your root domain, ensuring that no more cookies are transmitted down to subdomains. As a result, if you have a website with numerous subdomains, you should use www URLs to limit cookies for each. Another advantage of utilizing www is that www subdomains have far greater DNS flexibility. So, you can use Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) in a much easier way.
The www URL also has a few setbacks. It is possible that www domains will become obsolete in the future, as most users don’t bother typing www when looking for a website. Further, Google’s Chrome browser hides www from the displayed URL. A Google employee once noted in a discussion regarding the decision that “‘www’ is now deemed a ‘trivial’ subdomain,” fueling speculation that it could become obsolete in the near future.
The most obvious and powerful benefit of the non-www domains is that they are easier to remember, type, and search for, making them ideal for generating direct traffic. Since most people look for websites without inputting www, www domains may gradually go away, and non-www names may become more dominant. Furthermore, www is merely a prefix that was utilised in the early days of the internet and is not strictly necessary. Also, if you don’t need to restrict cookies, you don’t need a www domain and can go with a non-www one instead.
For non-www domains, the cons come in the reduced options from a technical aspect. Here are two examples.
(i) No cookie restrictions: For one thing, in the case of non-www URLs, there is no way to limit cookies to just the root domain. However, if your subdomains are hosting images on the same base domain, this shouldn’t be an issue.
(ii) No traffic overload protection: Non-www domains lack CNAME records, making it impossible to reroute traffic from one server to another. This feature comes in handy when one of your servers becomes overburdened and you need to divert traffic to a more stable server. However, you cannot do so with non-www websites. This also makes working with a content delivery network for such domains challenging.
To summarise, www domains offer various benefits that non-www domains do not. These advantages, however, only apply to large websites with several subdomains and different servers. It makes no difference which type of domain you pick for a small website, and even a non-www one works just as well as a www one. The counter-argument is that everyone wants their website to grow, so instead of thinking small, they should plan for it. So, even if your website is now modest, one should plan for it to grow in the future.
Use of WWW vs. non-WWW as a Ranking Factor: Our Verdict
As a leading SEO agency in Australia, we say that this factor is unlikely to be a ranking factor in the absence of word from Google or research indicating that a domain with or without the www ranks better. However, the key to success with www or non-www is to pick one and stick with it so what matters is that you stick to the one you choose when you first start your website.
In other words, DO NOT add or remove www from your site’s URL. This is due to the fact that search engines such as Google will treat www and non-www as two separate sites, resulting in content duplication difficulties.
The short answer to the question of www vs non-www is that there is no significant difference. The experts at SEO agencies in Australia and around say that if you dig a little deeper you find that www domains have certain minor technical advantages that help a website operate better. For large websites with various subdomains and servers, these are useful.
The differences are incredibly minor in terms of SEO, with www domains having certain advantages. As a result, while deciding which sort of URL to employ, consider the estimated size of your website. Remember, choosing between www and non-www does not have to be a difficult task. But depending on your taste, usability, or brand, we are sure you will make the right choice for your business.
If you are still feeling stuck and need help, get in touch with us for the best SEO practices.