The importance of having a great URL structure for SEO purposes cannot be underestimated, seeing as URLs are the building blocks of any website and can determine how much traffic your website gets or doesn’t get. This is why we have put together this article on www vs non www URLs.
At the end of this article, our readers would be able to understand which URL format is better for SEO purposes as well as the technical differences when it comes to www vs non www URLs.
So let’s get right into it!
Before we highlight the SEO benefits of one URL format over the other, let’s talk about the technical difference between www and non www URLs.
The technical difference: www vs non www
A non-www URL also referred to as a naked URL is a domain name that does not have a Canonical Name Record (CNAME record). A CNAME record (which is also called Canonical Name Record) in DNS is actually a sort of resource record that is used to indicate that one domain is also an alias for an additional domain name.
For small website owners generating a few hundred thousand to millions of page and website views monthly, having a non www URL format is not an issue. However, if you have a huge website generating millions of page and website views monthly then you should consider deploying redundant hosts. A redundant host is a computer server that holds a copy of your website.
The purpose of a redundant host to your website is to redirect traffic from one machine in the computer server array to another. This is done to avoid traffic overload.
While the www URL format has a CNAME record and these are used to define these redundant hosts, a non-www domain, on the other hand, cannot have a CNAME record, and this means the site is more likely to experience a traffic overload!
Furthermore, cookies are served better on www URLs. A common method of optimizing a website for better user experience is by serving static content from a subdomain. For instance, if your site is www.yourwebsite.com, your static subdomain would be static.yourwebsite.com.
For websites using www, this is not a problem as the site’s cookies are not sent to their static subdomain (unless configured by the site owner to do so).
On the other hand, websites using a naked domain have their cookies sent to all their subdomains. This not only slows down access to static content but also causes caching to not function properly.
So which URL format is better for SEO purposes?
When it comes to www vs non-www URLs, the right choice for SEO purposes is whichever one you prefer. Technically, as clearly explained earlier in this article, the www URL format outclasses the non-www but for SEO purposes, the URL format is inconsequential.
Twitter is proof that without the ceremonial “www”, your website can do just fine. However, you might have to buy new domain names just like Twitter for static content.
Final thoughts on www vs non www
The technical superiority of the www format over the non www format only arises when the website begins to generate millions of page views per day. Until you have such a website, the www vs. non-www issue should not trouble you and would certainly not affect your website’s SEO.