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I have seen a similar question here:

Can't add preferred version to Google Webmasters / Search Console

I have added the other properties for my website fo Google Search:

Properties

When I follow the instructions to set a preferred domain I get confused:

Preferred

I want to set https://www.publictalksoftware.co.uk as the preferred site. But I can't specifically choose it from the list.

Now that I have all 4 validated there in the console what are the exactly steps to set the desired domain as preferred? #confused

I might have understood this whole concept. I only have one website and all four of those URLS go to the same site.

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    Google only lets you choose between www and no-www as a Google Search Console setting. There is no setting for http vs https in search console. So there is no "set of steps" to make it happen just in search console. – Stephen Ostermiller May 21 '18 at 15:41
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This is no such option because Google considers the two protocols as representing two completely separate websites. The only thing they offer is to distinguish between the use of www or not, so they offer a way to choose one of these for non-secure:

http://www.example.com/
http://example.com/

And for the secure version, one of these:

https://www.example.com/
https://example.com/

They don't offer a way to mix the non-secure and secure versions. The only good way of doing so is to redirect any access to the non-secure version to the secure version so that way the non-secure won't really exist per se (i.e. you should not have/need a Google Search Console version for the non-secure if you want to do that.)

Note: you could also redirect all the secure versions to the non-secure, but Google definitely prefers websites that use SSL.

I don't think it is a good idea to have a canonical to the secure on the non-secure because Google considered both as different sites. At the same time, if you keep both, one is most certainly going to be viewed as a duplicate of the other without such a canonical. I just don't think that canonical is expected to be used between websites (since both of those are going to be considered separate websites...)

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    I only have one actual website. For example if you specifically navigate to the HTTP link you will end up at the HTTPS link, – Andrew Truckle May 22 '18 at 7:20
  • I have just contacted my domain provider. They said that I don’t need a 301 redirect in my case and that in Google Search Console I on,y needed the http property. The user will always be directed to my https site. So I think we are good. – Andrew Truckle May 22 '18 at 7:57
  • Your Google Search Console should say "https://..." The 301 is just something you'd do on your HTTP server. – Alexis Wilke May 22 '18 at 8:12
  • Ok, well, I can't really disagree. All I know is that my provide one.com told me all I need is HTTP listed in the search console because it will all land up on the HTTPS site anyway, whatever they click. – Andrew Truckle May 22 '18 at 13:06
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Google will index and rank whatever it finds.

The correct approach is to use server-side redirects to make the decision for all users of your website.

Without the constraints of your specific setup (you have not mentioned anything), I will give an example of how to do this with .htaccess (which may not be suitable for your setup):

Create / edit .htaccess in your site root and include the following:

NOTE: If you have existing code in your .htacess, add this above where there are already rules with a similar starting prefix.

RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase / #this line is not always necessary depending on the host
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^publictalksoftware\.co\.uk [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ https://www.publictalksoftware.co.uk/$1 [L,R=301]
# You can also force SSL with the following two lines added
RewriteCond %{SERVER_PORT} 80 
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ https://www.publictalksoftware.co.uk/$1 [R=301,L]

It seems that it is broadly accepted that Google prefers HTTPS websites, for example.

When testing, you should use [R=302,L] until you are sure that everything is working correctly and then change it to 301.

You should also configure each page to provide a canonical reference specifying your chosen domain and transport as well as the base URL if the same page is available via more than one URL, this is a handy guide.

rel:
https://www.inmotionhosting.com/support/website/htaccess/force-www-htaccess
https://www.inmotionhosting.com/support/website/ssl/how-to-force-https-using-the-htaccess-file

  • You should not redirect to port 80 if you then redirect to port 443, though. So the first redirect should immediately go to HTTPS. – Alexis Wilke May 21 '18 at 23:19
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    @AlexisWilke You are right, a double redirect can be avoided like that but, that was in place in case the OP doesn't redirect all traffic to https. I should probably fix it. – Willtech May 22 '18 at 4:27

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