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Linking and Diluted PageRank – the Problem and Solution

Do your URLS to your web sites have the www in the address? Or do they not have the www? Or do they have BOTH?

Do you have pages that are indexed with BOTH the www and without???

That is a Common Mistake that dilutes PageRank but can be solved with the Rewrite Rule which I will sahre with you.

As a web publisher it is our goal to get our web sites and web pages as much free exposure on the free search engines as we can. Top rankings on Google, MSN and Yahoo are what makes us the easy money.

This is accomplished by creating web sites with many real content pages and making sure that we have lots of high quality LINKS pointing at our home pages and inside pages – ideally with LINK TEXT that not only passes PageRank juice, but also establishes the reputations WE WANT for our pages.

How do you get PageRank??? PR is passed via links – both external and internal links will pass the magic juice. External come from other sites – internal links come from your own web pages on the same domain. YES – they both send PageRank! >>> Would you like the solution??? >>>

Link to a page with a BANNER and you only pass PageRank – no establishment of RELEVANCE

Link to a page with LINK TEXT and a keyword phrase that appears on the page and RELEVANCE is established in addition to passing PageRank juice.

So, now that we know that getting GOOD LINKS to as many of our pages as possible is a good thing – let’s look at a common mistake among NEWBIES and try to correct it.

A web domain name is the identity of a web site and is the most basic form of identification. If you are just building sites with subdomains or throwaway domains this is not as important – but if you are branding sites and trying to make them credible resources of information – you should be at least a little concerned with branding.

And it all starts with the domain name.

I’ll give an example

My site is Article Underground and I bought the domain name ArticleUnderground.com

I picked a name that would be memorable and easy to type in a browser without having to spell the name 10 times before they get the right page.

The domain home page URL is the address I would put on a business card:

www.ArticleUnderground.com

I have decided that I will be using the www. as a part of the URL/address.

http://www.articleunderground.com/

This is mainly because when the web first started it was established that www was a part of the web address – sure – you could type in http://articleunderground.com/ – but to me it’s easiest to use www.articleunderground.com – it’s your choice – whatever you prefer – one way or the other.

I’ll skip over the finer points of that “with or without” discussion as it can go either way – with or without the www in the URL/address – I prefer with.

Now – here is what is important – you want to pick ONE WAY or the OTHER – and STICK WITH IT 100%

Me, I decided http://www.articleunderground.com/ was my one and only URL – I do not ever refer to the address of any of my pages without the www in the URL.

The big mistake that many newbie’s make is they are NOT CAREFUL and will link to their sites BOTH WAYS – not one uniform way – and sometimes other people will link to you without the www for example and this causes a problem.

The problem is that Google will end up with two URLS for your home page (and inside pages eventually).

So, sometimes when you look at site:my-domain-name.org on Google or Yahoo you may notice that there are more than 1 links to your home page

1 with www and 1 without

This DILLUTES the PageRank of your DOMAIN! It’s not good!

In this case – since both

http://www.articleunderground.com/

and

http://articleunderground.com/

would point at exactly the same web page – my home peg – domain home – it would cause Google to CUT IN HALF the PageRank of my home page – which is conceivably the most powerful page on my site!

You see Google sees both those URLS as distinct individual URLS – it does not take the time to figure out they are the same page – so what happens is that www will have a different PageRank than the URL without the www

And – as our goal is to get top rankings on Google and the other engines – it will benefit us to have as MUCH PageRank on each page as possible. We can argue about what PageRank is and what effect it has on rankings, but I firmly believe that when push comes to shove
– Google will rank a page with higher PageRank ON TOP.

Let’s not make this a discussion about PageRank – I cover that in my blog – see the URL

http://www.mikeliebner.com/internet-marketing/the-undeniable-power-of-googles-pagerank/

– it’s a good read!

So – the idea is to get as MUCH PageRank juice as possible, right?
Not dilute it! So how do we do this…

WAIT – there are still more mistakes yet… I better point them out…

In addition to having pages indexed WITH and without the www in the URL – there is yet another WAY to refer to the HOME PAGE URL…

http://www.articleunderground.com /index.html

or

http://articleunderground.com /index.html

SOOOO… potentially there are 4 ways of having that ONE HOME PAGE INDEXED!

Sheeessshhhh….

SO – DO NOT make the mistake of putting ANY LINKS on your site(s) that have index.html or index.php in the URL – for one – it makes the URL longer – that’s not good – and TWO – doesn’t it make sense to have your HOME PAGE URL as short and sweet as possible??? The same URL you’d put on your business card???

SO NEVER EVER link to your home page as

http://www.articleunderground.com /index.html

That also goes for directories

They automatically will show your index.html page whether you include it in the URL or not – so don’t waste space and make URLS longer than they need to be – don’t give Google a chance that they will INDEX Both with and without index.html

Just use URLS without index.html

example

http://www.articleunderground.com/webmaster /index.html

should always be

http://www.articleunderground.com/webmaster/

OK… so I know you’ve been dying to ask or tell me that you are stuck and already have links pointing to your sites with and without the www in the URL – what should you do???

Well, here is what I did… I found me a REWRITE script and have included the code in my domains’ .htaccess file.

This is not for the squeamish and I do warn you that some SERVERS will BLOW UP and EXPLODE if you use this code I am going to give you – don’t worry – always save a backup of your files before you modify them – in this case – make sure you have an original version of .htaccess before you modify it – that way you can always put back the previous version and all the smoke will vanish.

This is extra tricky because on some servers .htaccess is a hidden file (periods at the beginning will hide the file).

If this is so you can still get the files from your control panel’s “file manager”. Check with your host if you do not understand any of this.

SOOO… without delay – here is the exact code I dropped into my .htaccess file for Article Underground which forces the URL even when typed without the www – to resolve to http://www.articleunderground.com/

Code for .htaccess: (change to YOUR domain)

RewriteEngine on

#Redirect http://articleunderground.com to http://www.articleunderground.com
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^articleunderground.com
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.articleunderground.com/$1 [r=301,L]

copy and paste into .htaccess file (after you saved copy of old version)

That code will FORCE it to use www which may be your only SOLUTION if there are links from people and sites out of your control.

For your own sites – fix what you can – pick one or the other – with or without the www – with or without index.html

It can possibly prevent that problem from ever occurring 

Be extra careful with this server hocus pocus stuff – always backup before making changes like this!

Any ideas or suggestions? Let’s discuss!

Please add your two cents!

SEO and Marketinng Tips from Mike Liebner

13 Comments »

  1. Thanks, it isn’t something I would ever have thought about. I’ll do it for my site now.

    Marianne

    Comment by guruette — March 18, 2007 @ 4:40 pm

  2. Thanks Mike, You added a little clarity to one of those Internet mysteries I’ve wondered about. I probably could have found the answer with some research but I have never took the time and your information will undoubtedly improve my IM efforts and ranking. Thanks for this and all those little nuggets you write about.

    Phil

    Comment by PineTreePhil — March 18, 2007 @ 5:03 pm

  3. Hi Mike,
    Great Script
    I use Word Press for some of my sites and a plugin to get keyword descriptive titles for pages instead of numbers or dates.
    In doing that the .htaccess file already has some code in it like:

    RewriteEngine On
    RewriteBase /Articles/
    RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
    RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
    RewriteRule . /Articles/index.php [L]


    Notice… I stuck my blog in a file “Articles” behind my squeeze page. So this code may only affect everything in the articlers file. I bet if a blog was a front page blog I would have to assign a fixed page (like page 2) as an index so that my page names would not change…
    But maybe I’m getting too deep beyond the URL aspect?
    Jeff

    Comment by Jeff — March 18, 2007 @ 11:19 pm

  4. google really threw us a curveball when they said that PR from nofollows simply dissolves into nothing.

    Comment by cd rates — October 13, 2009 @ 8:00 am

  5. It appears this entire problem can be simply solved by providing <link rel=”canonical” href=”http://page-on-your-site-you-want-google-to-send-the-juice-to.html/”>

    Comment by Sean — November 6, 2009 @ 1:46 am

  6. yes this is one of the biggest canonical issue in SEO, the problem is sometime your non www version is ranked higher than your www version, so redirect your www version to non www version in this case.

    Comment by Steve Austin — December 28, 2009 @ 3:45 am

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    Comment by Juno Mindoes — December 22, 2010 @ 1:01 am

  8. I tried to redirect mine using 301 connection, and with the help of Google webmaster.

    Comment by Bring The Fresh — April 4, 2011 @ 4:56 am

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  12. “SO – DO NOT make the mistake of putting ANY LINKS on your site(s) that have index.html or index.php in the URL – for one – it makes the URL longer – that’s not good – and TWO – doesn’t it make sense to have your HOME PAGE URL as short and sweet as possible??? The same URL you’d put on your business card???” – I totally agree with this point! The shorter the URL, the better! Let’s live a simple life… hehe

    Comment by Ryan Stockton — October 2, 2011 @ 9:11 am

  13. Having them link to the website both ways, with and without the www, is indeed one of the most common mistakes new online entrepreneurs make. Incorporating a rewrite script will definitely do the trick. Thanks for sharing with us the code.

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