This is an updated version of 2 x domains for same site in Google make canonical or not and I am posting it again as A) there is a new SSL aspect to the question and B) it's nearly 4 years old and things change.

To recap the current situation, a site launched in 1999 with a domain consisting of two, very descriptive words (let's say dog-toys.ie). In about 2001 I parked dogtoys.ie onto dog-toys.ie (client had radio ads and figured the dash may add confusion to the site name). Also, for both domains, we have not made www canonical so www.dogtoys.ie/example.html or dog-toys.ie/example.html are the same page.

Based on advice here in March 2014 we did nothing and site continues to do well in Google. Searches show both domains have fairly even indexing:

site:dogtoys.ie         About 3,500 results 
site:dog-toys.ie        About 3,040 results

We are re-visiting this because of the general move to SSL which now factors into ranking, and browsers give a not secure warning on forms.

Should I redirect, using a 301 in htaccess, http://dogtoys.ie to https://dogtoys.ie and separately http://dog-toys.ie to https://dog-toys.ie? Is there a SEO hit with this?

Or, (my preferred choice) send http://dogtoys.ie or http://dog-toys.ie or http://www.dogtoys.ie or http://www.dog-toys.ie to https://www.dog-toys.ie (and of course all pages)

Any advice / thoughts please - could we loose ranging by combining the domains?

2 Answers 2


Multiple changes at the same time can mess up things sometimes. At the other hand: changing everything to fix everything at once can be the best approach for you as well.

In the end, to my humble opinion, the best situation would be to redirect (301) all properties (non-www, non-ssl, and similar domains) to the preferred one. So http://dom-ain.com/page.html is redirecting to https://www.dom-ain.com/page.html

But if your current index/ranking is okay, and changing it step by step feels better for you, you could approach it like:

  • Make both (ssl and non-ssl) available / crawlable on all your domains.
  • Set the canonical to the preferred version.
  • If that went well, do the same for non-www and similar domains. If you see most of them moved to the preferred ssl domain, you can set up redirects on the server.

Regards, Peter

  • Thanks Peter, seems a good plan. I'm confused by the last step. "If you see most of them moved to the preferred ssl domain" - do you mean if I see https://... appearing in the search results, without me doing any re-directs?
    – user602088
    Nov 30, 2017 at 16:32

Should I redirect, using a 301 in htaccess


Is there a SEO hit with this?

It can be small positive factor

  • Thanks. Are you saying I should continue to not make one of the domains canonical?
    – user602088
    Nov 30, 2017 at 16:28

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