SEO Tip: Add 301 redirect from non-www to www

Get Results / Search Engine Optimization / Tips & Tools / Web Design

Yesterday we talked about search engine optimization and how well we’re doing considering our new website has been up for less than a week. We also talked about how we think it’s silly that local web designers don’t divulge their “SEO Secrets” to their clients. They’re not really secrets. Do a little searching on Google and you’ll be able to find a lot of great and current SEO strategies to implement on your own website.

Web Design search engine optimization secrets

Redirect the non-www to the www version

One of the many strategies we use to help search engine optimization as well as usability is to redirect the non-www version of website (like: http://wilsonmediaconsulting.com) to the www version (http://www.wilsonmediaconsulting.com) using a permanent 301 redirect. This helps a little with search engine placement as well as usability.

You want Google and the other main search engines to index your website as only ONE website. If both the http:// and http://www version are out there, sometimes the search engines index these as 2 different websites (especially when people are inconsistently linking to one version or the other). If the same pages are getting indexed on your website twice, then the page ranking will potentially be split. If you can focus the search engines on one page instead of 2, your ranking should increase.

To see what I’m talking about, go open a new window or tab in your browser and type in: http://wilsonmediaconsulting.com. You’ll see that it automatically opens up (redirects) to http://www.wilsonmediaconsulting.com.

How to add the permanent 301 redirect

Your web developer should do this for you automatically when they develop your new website, but if they haven’t, I recommend asking them to do it for you (hopefully at no charge). This should work for most linux hosted websites, but you may want to check with your web host to verify that it’ll work with your web server before you get started.

If you have FTP access, you can do it yourself (but be careful: messing with these files can potentially break your website!).

  1. FTP to your website files and find the .htaccess file in the root
  2. Move this file over to your local computer & make a copy (you can use this copy to restore the file if you break it)
  3. Open the file in any text editor, like Notepad, Notepad++ or any other HTML/text editor you prefer
  4. Add the following code to the top of the file:
  5. RewriteEngine on
    RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^yourwebsite.com [NC]
    RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.yourwebsite.com/$1 [L,R=301]

  6. Save the file
  7. FTP the file back over to your web server & replace the old .htaccess
  8. Test to make sure everything works and that’s it!

Contact Wilson Media ConsultingIf you have any questions or would like some help improving your website, contact us and we’ll schedule a free consultation to review your web and media options.