Preferred Domain SEO: www or Non-www Verify in Webmaster Tools

The easiest way to set up preferred domain www or non-www in Google Webmaster Tools. No confusion, no HTML code and meta complications. All you need is to verify that you own both domains. Follow these few steps and you’ll have the correct controller and redirection for effective SEO.

One of the major settings of a website to rank better to search engines especially Google is to set up one preferred domain – either or because the two are different in the eyes of search engines and a website owner must verify his preferred domain to avoid duplicate content issues and to have fast crawling and indexing of the website.

In this page, I’m gonna discuss the method for WordPress website. If you own a website using Blogger or Blogspot platform, the method will be discussed in another page.

Part of the process of setting a preferred domain is to verify that you own Please verify”

That’s the common message when website owners and bloggers receive when they set up their preferred domain. It sounds complicated and scary but it has really a solution.

Verify that you own www and non-www in Google Webmaster Tools

Before proceeding to the main steps of verification, make sure you already set up your preferred website URL in your WordPress settings. Decide how your URL will be – or just People have different reasons and preference but as for me I chose the shorter URL so it’s the one I’m gonna use here. To do this, go to WordPress General Settings and set your website address URL. (see sample settings below for my website)

wordpress url settings

After setting up your URL preference, make sure you have your Google Analytics linked successfully to your website because it’s the easiest way to verify your domain on Webmaster Tools. Don’t have Analytics active yet? Follow their instructions.

Now that you’re ready to verify your preferred domain on GWT, follow these steps.

  1. Add to Google Webmaster Tool. Select Add a Site. Type only (without www and http)
  2. You’ll then be asked to verify your site. Choose the Alternative Method tab and select verify through Google Analytics. You’ll then see the verification successful message.
  3. Add your Sitemap so that you’ll see which pages and post are indexed and not crawled. This is so important in having GWT.
  4. On your GWT account, go to Configuration then to Settings. Select your Preferred Domain display URL. You’ll see a message this time saying Part of the process of setting a preferred domain… No worries, just proceed to the next step so cancel what you’re doing this time.
  5. You need to prove that you own too so you need to create another Webmaster Tool account for that. On GWT dashboard, select Add a Site then type (without http)
  6. Verify it the same way how you verified by choosing through Google Analytics.
  7. Go back to GWT Dashboard. See now that you have 2 accounts for both domains. Since you prefer, go back to it and go to Configuration then to Settings. Choose “Display URLs as
  8. Congrats! You now have successfully verified your preferred domain.
preferred domain webmaster tools

Having your preferred domain can cause positive and effective SEO. A lot of websites know this by now especially after the Panda and Penguin updates. It lets Google and other search engines to really know which is which… They will display and redirect only to your URL preference even if people type, search, or link it as www or without the www. This can also cause neat and effective canonicalization. Now, that’s a term!

verify preferred domain
Notice that I have added and verified both two domains (www and non-www) in order to have one as preferred
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Fehl is the founder of Philpad and has been writing online for 12 years. She has a bachelor's degree in Accountancy and a background in Finance. She is a licensed Career Service Professional and author of a poetry book at Barnes & Noble. In her spare time, she likes to travel and discover new places.

4 thoughts on “Preferred Domain SEO: www or Non-www Verify in Webmaster Tools”

    • I was trying for hours how to set it up without messing around with the coding and stuff… I found that doing it through Analytics is the easiest 🙂 You are awesome! *Kiss*


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