How Indexing Works
I was checking out my website to see what Google was indexing and had a research tool return that I had only one indexed page in Google. I was really surprised so I went to the browser and typed in site:www,affiliatestartingline.com. Sure enough, the only return was one indexed page.
I really got worried and tried to figure out what was going on. Then I remembered I sometimes use my domain without the prefix www. So I tried the same command without the prefix site:affiliatestartingline.com. And boom, there were all the indexed results.
Lesson learned is this. Google sees your prefixed domain and your un-prefixed domain as two separate domains. So you might find yourself with indexing one or the other or a mix of both. You don’t want that.
The solution is found in Google’s Webmaster tool.
You need to have a Google account and then you need to sign up in the Google Webmaster area. Register both your prefixed and unprefixed domains.
In my case I had already signed up the prefixed domain in the Webmaster tool for my account so I added the unprefixed domain.
Once you have registered your accounts, click on one of your domain names to go to the Webmaster tool dashboard for that account.
On the sidebar on the left select the Site Configuration tab. Scroll down and select Settings.
This will take you to a screen with the preferred domain function ready for your use. Select a domain as your preferred domain.
When you do that, Google will index all pages to that preferred domain regardless of whether the prefixed or unprefixed domain is used.
Redirect Your Domain
There is one last step Google wants you to take. Go to your Web host, go to the domains panel in your cPanel and select the Redirect icon. This takes you to the input screen where you will select the domain that is not preferred and redirect it to the preferred domain.
Complete that step and you are done.
Now all your indexing will be directed to one domain and your data will truly reflect the latest status of your site.
If you want to see this in a video, check out my video on Preferred Domain set up, that should make it easy for you to take the steps to solve this problem.
I hope this has been helpful.
May Your Travels Be Prosperous.