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I have a website, let's say www.example.com, that I added to Google Webmaster Tools without establishing any preferred domain. A couple of months ago, we decided to configure our site to establish example.com as the canonical URL, and redirect (301) all the www.example.com/bla/ URLS to example.com/bla/.

Since we did that, al the stats in Google Webmaster Tools (search traffic, indexed pages...) have dropped off. Our actual traffic hasn't been affected, only the stats that appear in Webmaster Tools. What should we do about this? Would it be as simple as just setting example.com as our preferred domain in GWT? Or should we create another property as example.com and merge them both somehow?

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You need to have two webmaster tools profiles, one for www.example.com and the other for example.com.

From now on, you should be looking on example.com webmaster tools profile.

Also you need to specify in the webmaster tools that you prefer the non-www domain, go to site settings

Site Settings
Preferred domain
    Don't set a preferred domain
    Display URLs as www.example.com
    Display URLs as example.com

And select the last one.

(GWT domain settings will be in a url similar to this one: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/settings?hl=en&siteUrl=http://example.com/ )

Both properties should be in GWT, www and non-www:

You may need to verify ownership of both the www and non-www versions of your domain. Because setting a preferred domain impacts both crawling and indexing, we need to ensure that you own both versions. Typically, both versions point to the same physical location, but this is not always the case.

  • Thanks for your answer, it's basically what I thought. The only part that I don't understand is: why do I need another GWT profile for www.example.com, if I've already redirected all its pages to example.com? – PaulJ Jul 4 '16 at 18:30
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    You need to add both properties, and the one you choose will collect the data, I've updated the answer with a link to support.google.com/webmasters/answer/44231?hl=en that clarifies the process. – marcanuy Jul 4 '16 at 19:17

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