Setting the domain preference should be the first thing that should be done by any SEO guy. Following this simple tip can even double the power of your link building efforts. However, not following this SEO tip could cut those efforts in half.
Three reasons why you should set your preferred domain:
1. The Panda Update
Panda is responsible for penalizing the sites with duplicate content. A large reason for the Panda update was for Google to rid their search results of duplicate content. Google sees YourDomain.com and www.YourDomain.com as two different web pages. This could be perceived as duplicate content. So setting your preferred domain (www or no www) will let Google know which domain they should crawl and index. It is advisable to the webmaster to choose 1 version and make it as fixed from the Google Webmaster Tools.
2. Double the Power of your Backlinks
It is crucial to choose one domain name version and use it for link building. If Google thinks the www and non www version of a web page are different pages, then there is a strong possibility that being inconsistent with the preferred domain you build links to could hurt your link building efforts.
For example, let’s say your preferred domain is not set, and half the time you link to www.YourDomain.com and the other half you link to YourDomain.com. There is a strong possibility that Google may think you’re linking to two different web pages, therefore cutting your link building efforts in half. Why take that chance? Now, Google does try to canonicalize matching domains, but they don’t guarantee it.
3. Personal Preferences
I always set my preferred domain to no www. In my opinion, why say www if you don’t have to? www doesn’t roll off the tongue very well. In fact, many people just say dub, dub dub. So I don’t think I’m alone here. There is no such hard and fast rule. Choose the version with which you are most comfortable. No matter what version you choose, stick to that version.
Did I miss any? Tell me below and I will add them here!