Setting a preferred domain for your blog is very important. It’s recommended to get this step completed at the birth of your blog. However, if you are reading this and thinking crap my blog has been out there for a while now… Then don’t worry there are still steps you can take now to get this done (but ensure you watch the video and listen to what Matt has to say about this).
Please take a few minutes to watch this video of Matt Cutts as he discusses the canonical link element:
This is how to set your preferred domain in Google Webmaster Tools:
- Log into your Google Webmaster Tools account.
- Click on your domain to open up the settings.
- Click on site configuration, settings, and choose your preferred domain there (the preferred setting is up to you either with www or without).
Tip: By setting your preferred domain it will tell Google that you do NOT have multiple sites at http://yoursite.com, http://www.yoursite.com, etc!
It’s a great way to tell Google that you want all of your site’s URLs pointed to the main URL of your choice. It will help Google understand that when others link back to your site from any of your URLs to treat it as being linked to your preferred domain.
Now keep in mind that Google may not always use the URL you set as preferred. Please read the blog post where Matt answers the question about whether Google will always use the url from rel=canonical as the preferred url . Note: he also address this issues in the video above.