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I uploaded a new site with a domain name https://example.com (actually the domain consists of 3 words concatenated together).

If i do a google search for those three words in Google, the site does NOT appear in the results. In other search engines (the duck one, the tree planting one & the bill gates one) it appears right at the top even though I have not registered the site with them.

Google search console gives me this error "Duplicate, submitted URL not selected as canonical". & in the report it says

Indexing
User-declared canonical: None
Google-selected canonical: https://www.example.com/

In other words, it has chosen the WWW version instead of the non-WWW version.

I did not know about WWW/non-WWW & HTTP/HTTPS URLs when I made the site last week. Now I do and I think the .htaccess file redirects everything to the non-WWW, HTTPS version. https://index.com/index.html is also redirected to https://example.com in that file.

Aside from this, the sitemap only has 2 entries - one to https://example.com & another to a solitary PDF file. The robots.txt file essentially allows everything. I have put a rel="canonical" link in the index HTML page as follows:

<link rel="canonical" href="https://example.com/" />

I am thinking of deleting the site from the web host, getting Google search console to look for (& not find) the pages & thus return 404. & then re-uploading it. Is doing so sensible or stupid? Are there are any gotchas? If it is not a workable solution, what a workable solution might be?

  • "dot H T Access file - stack exchange spell checker!!" - What do you mean by this? There is no "stack exchange spell checker"? There's no problem typing .htaccess or .htaccess? – MrWhite Oct 8 at 23:12
  • "if i use the actual link google will return it in it's search results & i will only have to remove it later." - Did you use a different substitution in your cross-site post on StackOverflow?! – MrWhite Oct 8 at 23:15
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    If you want your site to show up in Google search for a phrase, use that phrase in the title of your site and the headings. Make sure the page says "one two three" not "onetwothree". – Stephen Ostermiller Oct 9 at 10:31
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tl;dr You probably just need to give Google more time to resolve the canonical issue, but the failure to find the site based solely on the domain name is not necessarily fixable. These are two unrelated issues.

Just because the "other" search engines return your site for a match on the domain name does not necessarily make them correct. If I search for "pen paper scissors" I want to find authoritative, relevant content relating to that search phrase. The fact that those keywords might appear as part of the domain name is largely irrelevant.

Consequently, Google places little weight on domain name matches (or even the URL-path for that matter). The domain name (and URL-path) are more likely to help click through rates, rather than search engine ranking.

i did not know about WWW/non-WWW & HTTP/HTTPS URLs when i made the site last week. now i do

You only first uploaded the site "last week" and the canonical redirects and link element have only been implemented since (last few days max by the sounds of it). This isn't very long at all. It "might" take Google some weeks to resolve this.

By the sounds of it you have the necessary canonical elements in place and since you have a (301?) canonical redirect in place this is really a non-issue.

i am thinking of deleting the site from the web host, getting google search console to look for (& not find) the pages & thus return 404. & then re-uploading it.

No, I wouldn't do that. I can only imagine that that would slow everything down. You are better off just letting Google follow the (301?) redirect and seeing the canonical tag.

(Aside: You don't need to physically "delete the site from the web host" to make it look like the site has been physically deleted. A single directive in .htaccess would have the same result.)

| improve this answer | |
  • Sometimes it takes Google a few months to get new sites settled in. I'd give it longer than just some weeks. – Stephen Ostermiller Oct 9 at 10:33
  • thanks very much mr white – user3435279 Oct 9 at 10:33

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