I was having a discussion with someone about what sites we should add to google search console. I argued that we would only need our canonical site i.e.

  • https://www.example.com

Where as he argued that we should have all variants:

  • http://example.com
  • https://example.com
  • http://www.example.com
  • https://www.example.com

Annoyingly, he couldn't provide any reasons as to why we should add them all ' it's just something you do' he said. I'd be grateful if someone could shed some light on why you would want all the sites listed?

Note: We do server 301 redirects from the three non-canonical sites to the canonical one, so there is actually no way anyone could get to any URL other than https://www.example.com

  • 1
    Sorry but this question has been asked in various forms already on Pro Webmasters. Several of those questions have been included at the top of your question, but Stephen Ostermiller ♦ has left you a solid answer, but should you want further assurances then visiting those questions and answers, will confirm what Steven is saying, is true. Mar 26 '18 at 14:25

I usually recommend adding all the variants.

  • Some people configure multiple versions to show content directly (not redirect). In those cases, none of the properties will have all your data individually. Even when using canonical tags, Google may not send all the traffic to single variant.
  • You can create a domain property to view all the data on all the variants together.
  • If you ever change your canonical, you will be set up to capture all the data. If you change your canonical and forget to add a property to search console, you will have data loss.
  • If there is every a technical problem with one of them, you will get alerts for it from Google.

If your variants are all redirecting and you plan to have the redirects forever, there is no great need to add the variants.

  • +1 - thanks for the answer. Its pretty much a summary of the points in the conversation I had. My point was that if we always plan to 301, and all variants are the same, then there would be no need to setup all the variants in the console. The only time I could think we might want them is to check if the redirects had broken but not sure how I would use console to check that
    – GWed
    Mar 26 '18 at 14:28
  • On the other hand it doesn't really hurt to have all the variants there. Most of the verification methods allow you to add the variants without additional verification steps. Other than a bit of clutter when you log in to Google Search Console, there is no down side to adding all of them. Mar 26 '18 at 14:35

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