Many thanks for an excellent job completed in such a short timescale.

Lindsey White, Blinds for Living, Nottingham

Canonical Domains

SEO: Don't Shoot Yourself In The Foot

Are you wasting time and money promoting different versions of your website? Does your website always appear as expected, or are you diluting your marketing efforts?

Spend 1 minute going through the following checks. No-one's website should suffer from this, but many do. Does yours?

A website can usually be accessed by its domain name, either with or without the www prefix. For example, www.initiative2.com and initiative2.com. However, technically, they are TWO different web sites. I don't want to market 2 different web sites, and I only want Google to make use of one. That is why they have both been set up to display exactly the same content, and exactly the same thing in the address bar of your browser, whichever one is typed in.

Quickly check to see whether your website has been set up properly, or whether you have been caught out by this common, basic mistake. The instructions are below, but basically replace "initiative2.com" above with whatever your website domain name is.

  1. In your browser's address bar, type your domain name with the www bit in front. For example, I would type www.initiative2.com in the address bar. Note what appears on the screen and what exactly is displayed in the address bar.
  2. If no website appears, then you probably have a problem. If the website you expect to see doesn't appear, then you have a problem. If what appears in the address bar isn't exactly what you typed, then pay close attention to the next 2 steps.
  3. In your browser's address bar, type your domain name without the www bit in front. For example, I would type initiative2.com. Note what appears on the screen and what exactly is displayed in the address bar.
  4. If no website appears, then you probably have a problem. If the website you expect to see doesn't appear, then you have a problem. If what appears in the address bar isn't exactly what you typed, and it isn't exactly what you typed in the first step above, then you probably have a problem.

If everything appears to be OK, then congratulations. Although this is how it ought to be, so many websites fail these basic checks that your competitors are giving you a head start. However, if you would like an even bigger advantage, get in touch and I can tell you how we could help you.

But what if you have a problem? If you don't care about your website marketing, then it's not really an issue. However, you wouldn't have read this far, would you?

Different things have to be done to address this problem. There may be some choice; some techniques are better than others. However, not all may be available to you.

Usually I would suggest that you first contact whoever looks after your website. However, you may now realise that website design and website marketing are two different skill sets. That is why web designers pass clients to us. Get in touch and I can tell you how we could help you.

I hope that everything is in order with your website, but if not, at least you now know, and I look forward to hearing from you.

By Kenneth Mackay, 7th May, 2013

This is one of a series of articles that deal with common issues when promoting your business online. We hope that you found it useful. Go to our online marketing tips to see previous pieces of advice. If there are any topics that you would like covered, please let us know.

If you need to promote your business online, then contact us.