Why can't I set the preferred domain?

31 replies
hey there, when I try setting the preffred domain in webmaster tool it says:

Part of the process of setting a preferred domain is to verify that you own http://domain.com/. Please verify http://domain.com/.

Strange I have already verified my site:confused:
#domain #preferred #set
  • Profile picture of the author SamuelUherek
    Originally Posted by Anoopchawla View Post

    hey there, when I try setting the preffred domain in webmaster tool it says:

    Part of the process of setting a preferred domain is to verify that you own http://domain.com/. Please verify http://domain.com/.

    Strange I have already verified my site:confused:
    You have probably didn't go through the whole verifying process. I never had any problems with it. What did you actually do?
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  • Profile picture of the author Anoopchawla
    I Uploaded the google code that google gave and verified my site.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jashandeepmax
    Hi friend i have searched many sites availability .But i always found not available.After that i have searched on other sites i found this domain is available.So there might be problem in your site.
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  • Profile picture of the author zaco
    You need to verify the www and the none www to be able to set a preferred domain, verify it using the file, upload the file to your site main directory / and verify.
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  • Profile picture of the author MattCatania
    As zaco stated - go back to the webmaster tools and verify BOTH the www and non www versions of your website. Since you've already put the code within your website all you need to do is click verify for both and then you'll be able to change the preference!

    All the best!
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    • Profile picture of the author Anoopchawla
      Originally Posted by MattCatania View Post

      As zaco stated - go back to the webmaster tools and verify BOTH the www and non www versions of your website. Since you've already put the code within your website all you need to do is click verify for both and then you'll be able to change the preference!

      All the best!
      Ok I understand... but I can't see the verify both tab:confused:
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      • Profile picture of the author MattSchoenherr
        Originally Posted by Anoopchawla View Post

        Ok I understand... but I can't see the verify both tab:confused:
        There is no tab. They are trying to say you have to add it to Webmaster tools as if it were its own site (you've added the www version.. now you have to add the non-www version.) It's a surprisingly clunky way of dealing with www vs. non-www.
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  • Profile picture of the author sirtiman
    You can use plugin to make it more easier and save your priceless time.
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    • Profile picture of the author MattCatania
      Originally Posted by sirtiman View Post

      You can use plugin to make it more easier and save your priceless time.
      Honestly, he would be spending more time configuring the plug-ins than he would be if he just followed the relatively simple steps aforementioned.
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  • Profile picture of the author John Romaine
    I really dont understand why anyone would want to validate both instances of their domain? What am I missing here?

    I set my preferred domain within my .htaccess file, then do the same within GWT.

    I can understand it from a backlinking perspective, but are there any other reasons???
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    • Profile picture of the author MattCatania
      Originally Posted by ramone_johnny View Post

      I really dont understand why anyone would want to validate both instances of their domain? What am I missing here?

      I set my preferred domain within my .htaccess file, then do the same within GWT.

      I can understand it from a backlinking perspective, but are there any other reasons???
      You're not missing anything at all, it's just setting a preference through Google Webmaster tools. In order to set a preference, they require you validate both instances of your website (for what reason, is beyond me). You'd assume that if you can verify one version, then surely you must own the other?

      You could also go through the .htaccess file, but this merely a different way to skin the cat.
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  • Profile picture of the author John Romaine
    Aha...

    This explains it perfectly and makes good sense.

    Just set the preference to ONE DOMAIN only.

    "Once you tell us your preferred domain name, we use that information for all future crawls of your site and indexing refreshes. For instance, if you specify your preferred domain as http://www.example.com and we find a link to your site that is formatted as http://example.com, we follow that link as http://www.example.com instead. In addition, we'll take your preference into account when displaying the URLs. If you don't specify a preferred domain, we may treat the www and non-www versions of the domain as separate references to separate pages."

    Preferred domain (www or non-www) - Webmaster Tools Help

    For those that care, heres the .htaccess code to redirect all traffic to the www version of your website.

    RewriteCond %{http_host} ^YOURWEBSITE\.com [NC]
    RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.YOURWEBSITE.com/$1 [R=301,NC]

    Of course, make sure the preference you set within GWT matches your .htaccess code.
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  • Profile picture of the author GreenGeek
    im unclear how do i double verify my site?
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  • Profile picture of the author GreenGeek
    ok i figured out. Go to https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/home and add new site but this time do not enter www, just yoursite.com and that is it.
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    • Profile picture of the author DimarcusJackson
      Originally Posted by GreenGeek View Post

      ok i figured out. Go to https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/home and add new site but this time do not enter www, just yoursite.com and that is it.
      Hey! I read all the way down to this point, before I did anything...
      Then I tried this & that was it! Took me all of 1 min to verify.. #Appreciated
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  • Profile picture of the author Adie
    I don't know why this is a problem.
    Just copy your website's url in the navigation bar and paste it into google webmaster. Verify your site by adding the meta tag.. That's all and it's done... There is no such thing a "both www and http".... Just copy the exact URL.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ruma
    The reason for this is because you need to add two sites to the Webmaster Tools before you set the Preferred Domain. For example one with a wwww and one without. Google will see these two URLs as a seperate site.
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  • Profile picture of the author bigbigeye
    I have met the same problem today, and add a new site without www to webmaster tools and very it, the problem has solved quickly.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ken Soszka
    So this works great, but now my question is If I delete the non-www site from Webmaster Tools so that I don't have to see it in my list of sites, or on my homepage, will it mess anything up or change the Preferred Domain setting back on the www site?
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    • Profile picture of the author Lloyd Buchinski
      Originally Posted by Anoopchawla View Post

      hey there, when I try setting the preffred domain in webmaster tool it says:

      Part of the process of setting a preferred domain is to verify that you own http://domain.com/. Please verify http://domain.com/.

      Strange I have already verified my site:confused:
      I'm not sure if this is part of the problem, but I thought once it was verified, I could delete the verify meta tag that they give you. It seems you can't. They look for it sometimes when they crawl the site.

      And here is a page with more details about your preferred urls.

      Canonicalization - Webmaster Tools Help
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      • Profile picture of the author michalsemen
        I am facing the same problem, can some one tell me how to verify my website. Do I need again to upload the file in root directory.
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        • Profile picture of the author Ken Soszka
          Originally Posted by michalsemen View Post

          I am facing the same problem, can some one tell me how to verify my website. Do I need again to upload the file in root directory.
          Yes, you must upload the file again and click the Verify link or button again too.. Then leave the file in there.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mritanjul
    I am really thankful for the people here contributing great thoughts, questions, answers. The same issue I had earlier and today I visited the site to post my question but instead of questioning I found answer.

    Thanks guys!
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  • Profile picture of the author MonitorScout
    Hi Anoopchawla,

    It may have happened that at time of verifying your domain something went wrong.

    I would recommend you to undo the whole process, remove your site from Google Webmaster tools, for that you also require to remove the code you have used for verifying your domain.

    Then try it again, and this time use Meta description method in order to verfy your domain. I hope this would resolve your problem.
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  • Profile picture of the author DelSyllables
    Setting the preferred domain has been an issue for me, I'm thankful for this thread. It worked! Just claim both non www and www versions.. same html file will be generated so you can up load it to your site and then simply verify for both. Set the preferred URL and Then you can delete the site version you don't need in webmaster and keep what you prefer. Settings remain. Thanks!
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    • Profile picture of the author John Romaine
      Originally Posted by DelSyllables View Post

      Setting the preferred domain has been an issue for me, I'm thankful for this thread. It worked! Just claim both non www and www versions.. same html file will be generated so you can up load it to your site and then simply verify for both. Set the preferred URL and Then you can delete the site version you don't need in webmaster and keep what you prefer. Settings remain. Thanks!
      Yep, that's right.

      I think its worthwhile using a 301 redirect to your preferred domain also to ensure anyone linking to it, does so to the right address.
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      • Profile picture of the author Janice Sperry
        Originally Posted by John Romaine View Post

        Yep, that's right.

        I think its worthwhile using a 301 redirect to your preferred domain also to ensure anyone linking to it, does so to the right address.
        That is a great suggestion. I used to do that but I forgot and probably have not done it in several years. I always set up my new sites without the www but you never know how someone else may decide to link to you.
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      • Profile picture of the author DelSyllables
        Originally Posted by John Romaine View Post

        Yep, that's right.

        I think its worthwhile using a 301 redirect to your preferred domain also to ensure anyone linking to it, does so to the right address.
        Redirections... For instance, my preffered address is a non www. Whenever I access the www version, it readily redirects to the non www type. Do you think this should be enough or the hosting provider did the redirection? I didn't touch the htaccess and using Hostgator. Thanks!
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  • Profile picture of the author John Romaine
    Check your htaccess file to see how the rule may (or may not be) set.

    I'm not aware of any settings within CPanel for this, but I might be wrong.

    Here's the code for your htaccess file...(this forces the www version)

    RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^www\.yourdomain\.com
    RewriteRule (.*) http://www.yourdomain.com/$1 [R=301,L]
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  • Profile picture of the author Jayroo
    Hi All, just a quick Q, is this preferred domain merely just for the look of the domain as it is displayed in the address bar? or does this help affect SEO in anyway? I never really bothered setting a preferred domain, but then I read that part in GWT about how google could reat your site as 2 separate sites? could some advise if not choosing a preferred domain will affect SEO, or ranking? thank you
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