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I have a website set up at www.example.com, and I have example.com set to redirect to www.example.com.

The problem is that it's set to redirect directly to the homepage. For example, example.com/page/123 takes you to www.example.com instead of www.example.com/page/123. The reason I'm doing this is because I don't have access to the .htaccess file, and the only solution I can use is setting up a 301 redirect.

My question is if this will negatively impact my SEO rating at all.

I never link to the non-www version of the site. It's mainly a convenient way to get to the homepage of the site, which is hosted at the www. version. I doubt anyone will take a www. link to a page, strip the www. and link to that version instead (which won't work). Thus, I don't think there are any cases of anyone using the naked domain to get to anything but the homepage of the site. Am I overlooking anything?

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If you don't have access to .htaccess how are you doing the 301 redirect? –  John Conde Oct 3 '10 at 21:20
    
@John: My DNS host has a setting using the UI on their website that let me setup the redirect. –  Senseful Oct 3 '10 at 21:20
    
Do you use a dynamic programming language like PHP or ASP for your website? –  John Conde Oct 3 '10 at 21:22
    
@John: No, it's redirecting to Blogger. I don't host any files for this domain. –  Senseful Oct 3 '10 at 21:23
    
I don't know if blogger lets you host JS, but you could use a JS script to redirect them to the right subpage. Or you could spring for the extra $8.25/month (assuming you're currently paying $9/year for a domain + free parking) and get a real webhost. –  Lèse majesté Oct 6 '10 at 5:26
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5 Answers 5

I would probably write some code to handle the redirect manually in that case.

As far as user experience, the user would much rather go to the correct location whether or not they put a www. in front.

As far as SEO, I guess it would marginally help your home page, but marginally hurt your sub-pages.

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Yes, but only very marginally. E.g. if someone decides to link to a subpage and instead of copying-and-pasting, they type the URL manually and accidentally add a www. It seems like a very unlikely scenario. –  Lèse majesté Oct 6 '10 at 5:23
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The odds are it isn't be good because you're telling the search engines, and everyone who visits a non-www page, every non-www page has moved to the home page which isn't true. This may not be necessary since Blogger uses canonical URLs so you wouldn't have to worry about duplicate content potentially caused by the www.

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But wouldn't the fact that nothing links to non www. versions on the web make this a non-issue? –  Senseful Oct 3 '10 at 21:55
    
Not if someone types it into their browser or if someone links to it without the www. Both of which you have no control over. –  John Conde Oct 3 '10 at 23:20
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I don't think it's a huge problem, as long as the majority of links to your site point to the www version. It's worth setting your preferred domain in Google Webmaster Tools.

If you have access to any scripting (e.g. PHP) on your site, you can add a script to the home page to handle anyone redirected from the non-www version. Check the REFERER header then redirect to the equivalent page on the www version.

This will only help users, not search engines, since they generally don't follow multiple redirects. Also, it's best to use a 302 redirect here, because having a 301 from a single URL (www.example.com) to different URLs each time will not work (browsers/SEs will cache the redirect).

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Sounds like you're talking about funneling requests to a forwarder script. I disagree with this approach because it requires two redirects and also nullifies the value of links to the non-www domain. –  sholsinger Feb 3 '11 at 15:23
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Using 301 redirects from foo.com/bar.html to www.foo.com/ effectively nullifies any benefit the link to foo.com/bar.html would have given you. Ideally you should - as mentioned above - find a way to redirect to the exact page on the www.foo.com/ site with either code or request your sysadmin / provider to create a better .htaccess/redirect for you to use.

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www. sub domains are good if you're dealing with cookies because you can then have say a resources. sub domain and any cookies from www. will not transfer over thus reducing overhead and improving performance. This of course applies to a full blown website that you can actively manipulate.

Also, I'm not sure what @DisgruntledGoat and @sholsinger are trying to say about the 301 redirect. 301 is permanent redirect and if you want to keep things permanent stick to it because your user's browsers will automatically hit the correct domain version every time they visit (except for the very first time).

And lastly, I think you're saying your links are hard coded to a domain, why don't you make them relative: /Something.html so they are host independent. SEO will not be affected by it if you're worried about that.

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