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Netlify is really enforcing to use www for primary domain for external DNS. How does this affect SEO?


I had been using firebase hosting which allowed me to use apex domain. Now that I am using netlify, I have to use www as my primary domain. How does this affect my website’s SEO? Do I have to make any changes? Should I be changing the url in my sitemap.xml from mywebsite.com to www.mywebsite.com?

Hi @vishisht

Under Apex domains and www subdomains it says

If you’re using external DNS, we strongly recommend setting the www subdomain (or another subdomain) as your primary domain .

It doesn’t NOT say you have to use www. When setting a custom domain to my Netlify site (prior to configuring my domains in Netlify DNS), I used the apex and my primary domain because that is what I had done for some time previously and found no issues with it. (I now use Netlify DNS for any site hosted here.)

You should, I believe, set the URL in the sitemap to whatever the content is served from. If the apex redirects to the www subdomain, set the URL to the www, or vice versa.

Thank you for your answer @coelmay. I understand that I can still use apex domains but according to this article, page load times are faster if I use www.

If I continue using www as my primary domain then you are saying that my sitemap urls should also point to www right?

True, there are benefits to using the www (as the article suggests). Is there a reason you can’t/won’t use Netlify DNS in order to use the apex as you previously have?

Yes, I would point the sitemap URLs to www if that is where the content is served from.

The reason is in this article: [Support Guide] Should I use Netlify to manage my DNS?.

The domain has some emails attached to it as well(and I expect some emails will be used in the future as well). This means a lot of DNS records which, according to the article, is safest to use with external DNS.

fyi: The domain was bought using google domains and I have enabled Google Workspace there(with emails).

As stated further down the thread

I have no fewer than a dozen records on at least two domains in Netlify DNS. If you are comfortable and follow the information in [Support Guide] How do I migrate a domain to Netlify DNS with zero downtime? then configuring the records for Google Workspace is no issue (check out this thread and this thread.)

Understood. I will have a look.

Is there a particular reason why you would like me to look into netlify DNS. Is it because you think I should be using apex domains? I am asking this because the advantage that laura is describing for netlify DNS is not applicable to me as I am not using git for builds. I am using netlify cli to push my code.

I was simply asking why you weren’t considering using Netlify DNS as you (seemed to) wish to use the apex rather than the www for your domain and the suggestion is to use Netlify DNS when wishing to do so (as previously discussed.)

If you feel there is no advantage to moving to Netlify DNS by all means continue to use externally configured DNS.

Gotcha. I will right now continue with external DNS and will change my sitemap. I will be on the lookout for how that affects my SEO. If it affects my SEO adversely then I will move to Netlify DNS.

Thank you @coelmay. You have been immensely helpful.

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