Google Testing Removal of WWW Subdomain from Search Results


Google really wants to get rid of the WWW subdomain. First we had Google removing WWW in the Chrome 69 address bar and now there is some test underway to remove it from search results as well.

I was first alerted to this when one of BleepingComputer’s reporters noticed that the BleepingComputer domain was showing up in Google search results as https://www.bleepingcomputer.com.

BleepingComputer keyword missing WWW subdomain
BleepingComputer keyword missing WWW subdomain

When I checked from my end, though, it was showing it listed as normal with https://www.bleepingcomputer.com.

While researching this behavior, I found many domains where Google was removing the WWW subdomain in the search results.  Once I performed a refresh of the page, though, the normal www subdomain would be listed again. In some cases, I could refresh over and over and the results would switch back and forth between www and non-www.

Ultimately, I couldn’t get BleepingComputer.com to show the non-www version, so I found another site that was also performing this behavior.  As you can see below, when I searched for “paloaltonetworks“, it showed the domain listing without the www subdomain. 

Search results for Paloaltonetworks not showing www
Search results for Paloaltonetworks not showing www

If you clicked on the above search result, the site would perform a 301 redirect to www.paloaltonetworks.com, which is the site’s desired behavior. 

On a refresh of the search result page, the normal www version of the URL appeared again in the search results. This time, though, the site links have been changed to a smaller display under the domain description.

Search results for Paloaltonetworks showing www
Search results for Paloaltonetworks showing www

So what does this mean? Unfortunately, have no idea and have not received a response back from Google at the time of this publication.

Google, though, does have something against the WWW subdomain lately and feels that the www is unimportant and should be considered a trivial subdomain. This is because almost all web sites who have a site configured on a domain also have the same same configured on the www variant.

Therefore, to Google, www is just not important.

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