Use Google Webmaster Tools to Avoid Duplicate Content
In the General Guidelines for Google Webmaster Tools, Google advises that there are steps you can take to proactively address duplicate content issues and avoid receiving a duplicate content penalty. One such step is:
- Use Webmaster Tools to tell us how you prefer your site to be indexed: You can tell Google your preferred domain (for example, http://www.example.com or http://example.com).
I recently set this up for my Abipo domain name and I had the choice of either:
- Display URLs as www.abipo.com
- Display URLs as abipo.com
As I have always preferred the www prefix, I chose the former: “Display URLs as www.abipo.com” . However, upon choosing this option, I received an error:
Part of the process of setting a preferred domain is to verify that you own http://abipo.com. Please verify http://abipo.com.
As I had already uploaded a Google generated HTML file to the root directory of my Abipo web server I was thinking my sites WERE verified. I wondered why Google was asking to verify when it has already been done. Did I need to reverify?
The answer was I needed to verify the http://abipo.com domain AS WELL as the http://www.abipo.com domain name. This was done by visiting the Home Page of Google Webmaster Tools and clicking on “Add a site….”. After I did that, I was able to go back and specify http://www.abipo.com as my preferred domain for indexing.