homepage Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from 54.205.189.156
register, free tools, login, search, subscribe, help, library, announcements, recent posts, open posts,
Subscribe to WebmasterWorld

Home / Forums Index / Code, Content, and Presentation / HTML
Forum Library, Charter, Moderators: incrediBILL

HTML Forum

    
Linking style
dougie




msg:615726
 8:35 am on Sep 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

I think I've looked through the past posts, and don't think
we've covered this yet, if you have, then you can hit me
with a damp daffodil;-)

If you were *just* starting off all fresh in the big wide
world of websites, would you ask people to link to you as:

[example.com...]

or

[example.com...]

or

www.example.com

 

bill




msg:615727
 9:10 am on Sep 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

Warning: damp daffodils can be dangerous if dipped in liquid nitrogen ;)

Personally I went with [example.com...]

First, www isn't really needed for today's web. It's a dated artifact of the 20th century's Internet.

Second, [example.com...] is 4 characters shorter than [example.com....] This conserves keystrokes, makes it easier to remember, makes it easier to say, and saves ink (if you print it).

You can use any of these. The important thing is to choose one format and stick to it. Make sure that your server is set up to correctly forward visitors to the proper format of your URL. Then standardize this in all your online and offline promotion materials.

py9jmas




msg:615728
 11:04 am on Sep 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

Warning: damp daffodils can be dangerous if dipped in liquid nitrogen ;)

Nah - they just shatter.
First, www isn't really needed for today's web. It's a dated artifact of the 20th century's Internet.

There is more to the internet than just the web. The www is just a host name. There is nothing special about it, there never has been. Admins named their webserver www as a convention to help people.

dougie




msg:615729
 11:31 am on Sep 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

Many thanks for the quick input here:

So, unless I hear to the contrary very soon, I'll ask others to link to me in this style:

[example.com...]

Thanks again.

tedster




msg:615730
 4:08 pm on Sep 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

Here's a contrary opinion.

One of my new clients had done what you propose. They quickly discovered that other sites who linked spontaneously (without any link request) added in the "www" anyway. This especially included spontaneous links on forums that their happy (non-webmaster) customers left.

Even though a redirect can make that address work for human traffic, the 301 caused a bit of chaos on the search engines - the site's rankings were not what they thought they should have been, given the number of backlinks. Some (even major) search engines treated the two addresses as two different (and duplicate?) pages, rather than just one page. So the power of the backlinks was split.

Because of that experience, I would suggest you use the "www" as your primary address. It seems less likely that spontaneous links would drop the "www" than add it.

webdude




msg:615731
 4:10 pm on Sep 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

I am not sure I would hasten to not use www. The reason is that I always used example.com as opposed to www.example.com too, but the problem I have had is certain sites will actually add the www whether you like it or not. And sometimes you need to move a mountain to get them to change.

This has happened to me twice now. Once in dmoz (believe it or not) and once in JoeAnt. It was a royal pain to get dmoz to change the link and JoeAnt never did.

So even though I agree that the url is shorter and easier to type, you might want to take into consideration the problems I had.

p.s. I still use the shortened version!

yowza




msg:615732
 4:13 pm on Sep 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

I agree with Tedster. Webmasters may know that the www is not necessary, but most regular internet surfers think the www is required.

I would recommend always using the www to save search engine and 301 headaches.

pageoneresults




msg:615733
 4:15 pm on Sep 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

I would use the www. version too. I think it is safe to say that 99% of the time a linking partner is going to include the www.

I would also make sure that you have a 301 in place for the non www version to the www version.

encyclo




msg:615734
 5:08 pm on Sep 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

Another vote for www. Technically, you're quite right in saying that it's redundant and thus not required, but non-technical users recognize the www as the start of a web address and expect it to be there. Also, I tend to use subdomains quite a lot, so the www fits in nicely there too.

Of course, as others have noted, you should use a 301 redirect for the non-www version.

dougie




msg:615735
 5:32 pm on Sep 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

The help here is very much appreciated.

Can there be issues where there's no http at the beginning?

Because both of these have the www in them, which one would you ask other people to link to you as please?

[example.com...]

or

www.example.com

pageoneresults




msg:615736
 6:53 pm on Sep 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

Can there be issues where there's no http at the beginning?

Not that I am aware of unless of course it is a secure connection where the https is required. Other than that, the http:// is not a requirement.

encyclo




msg:615737
 7:41 pm on Sep 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

Can there be issues where there's no http at the beginning?

I can't agree with pageoneresults with this one. Try this link:

<a href="www.example.org/">test</a>

And you'll find that it will actually point to something like:

[example.com...]

Which is definitely not what you want. The http:// is absolutely vital.

dougie




msg:615738
 7:52 pm on Sep 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

Many thanks for the input here, so are we looking at this as the way to do it?

[example.com...]

pageoneresults




msg:615739
 8:10 pm on Sep 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

I can't agree with pageoneresults with this one. Try this link:

Ooops, should have explained myself better. Visibly (link text) the http:// is not required. When doing an a href (code), the http:// is required.

I'm thinking address window and not code. I see many people who still think the http:// is required when entering URIs in the address bar.

encyclo




msg:615740
 10:18 pm on Sep 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

pageoneresults, I knew that you knew, I was just a bit surprised! Now we're understanding each other! ;)

For the link request to your site, you need the http:// and it is a good idea also to have the trailing slash at the end of the domain name: [example.com[b]...]

Just to clarify further, the full link that you want from link partners is as follows:

<a href="http://www.example.com/">A descriptive text, the site name or some keywords here</a>

bill




msg:615741
 4:08 am on Sep 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

I can see where the www is burned into the public's mind for URLs, but I've done some corporate sites where from the start all marketing materials and the URL itself have been in the www-less format: [example.com....] Agreed, some people will link to you with the www, but if you 301 the www from the start then I'm seeing only a very tiny percentage of links that don't conform to the pattern I have established. A lot of people will visit your site and copy the URL out of the address bar it seems.

If you've got an existing site then it may be wiser to stay with the www version, but I see only a bare minimum impact from going the other way from a fresh start.

insight




msg:615742
 9:54 pm on Sep 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

Amen on encyclo comment.

Trailing slash good.

lysglimt




msg:615743
 6:52 pm on Sep 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

Encyclo

"For the link request to your site, you need the http:// and it is a good idea also to have the trailing slash at the end of the domain name: [example.com...] "

Could you please elaborate on why the trailing slash is important? I see it many places but I have not seen why it is important.

Hans J Lysglimt

[edited by: tedster at 7:01 pm (utc) on Sep. 29, 2004]
[edit reason] remove url in sig [/edit]

martinibuster




msg:615744
 7:08 pm on Sep 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

encyclo is right, the trailing slash is more important. Whether you do www or not doesn't make as much difference as you can always htaccess the requests to go to one or the other anyway.

photon




msg:615745
 7:31 pm on Sep 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

The trailing slash tells the browser that the URL is a directory, and not a file with a ".com" extension, for example. The browser will eventually get it right; the trailing slash just removes any possible confusion.

pageoneresults




msg:615746
 7:34 pm on Sep 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

Could you please elaborate on why the trailing slash is important? I see it many places but I have not seen why it is important.

One less request to the server I believe. Ever notice that when you enter a domain without the trailing forward slash that it usually gets appended to the URI instantly. Why not just skip that request and include the trailing forward slashes on all root level pages.

http://www.example.com/
http://www.example.com/sub/
http://www.example.com/sub/sub/

Do not link directly to index pages. You never know when the underlying technology of your site is going to change and there is no reason to have a bunch of /sub/index.htm pages indexed when you could just have /sub/.

StupidScript




msg:615747
 8:13 pm on Sep 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

IMHO:

Just pick a policy and stick to it. Your choice:

Using www.example.com: 301 example.com=>www.example.com
Using example.com: 301 www.example.com=>example.com

Either way, the same result.

We use: <a href="http://www.example.com/index.html">Example.com</a>

Re: using a directory or a page as the link:

Use a page. That page will develop PR. No page name = no PR. If you change your site significantly enough that the page names change, then 301 oldpage.html=>newpage.html

Re: using the "machine name" (www, etc.):

While it may seem silly, now, given that we have so few (!) domains on the planet that "www" is practically ubiquitous ... enough so that major browser mfrs include it by default when seeking a domain, this will not always be the case. Get into the habit of linking to and asking for links to a fully qualified domain name. That way, when you start using URIs like "http://fridge.example.com/milk.xml?howmuchleft" it won't be a problem.

Get used to the future. It will be our present.

IMHO.

pageoneresults




msg:615748
 8:30 pm on Sep 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

Use a page. That page will develop PR. No page name = no PR.

Could you expand on that please. Are you saying that if I link to...

http://www.example.com/sub/

...instead of...

http://www.example.com/sub/index.htm

...that the first example would not obtain PR?

StupidScript




msg:615749
 9:18 pm on Sep 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

Pretending that you are Google, assign PR to these examples:

[example.com...]
[example.com...]

PageRank needs a page to rank.

In the example of linking to a directory, which page in that directory would get the PR? index.html? index.htm? index.php? index.xml? home.htm? The default nameless (in the URI) page served up by the server?

The fun part comes when you change your site and need to use 301 redirects to maintain your PR.

If Google went to the directory, it did not request a page: a page was served by virtue of an entry in the server's config file.

When you change to a different page name, and 301 to that new name, then Google comes back to the directory, how can it apply the 301 to its index without an original page name to reference?

tedster




msg:615750
 12:36 am on Sep 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

Interesting comments, SS, but I see too many counter examples to your idea. Because of that, I'm sure that any URL can accumulate PR, whether or not it includes a page name and extension.

For instance, call up most any domain name in the Toolbar without including the index.html, and you still see a PR number. The SERPs include many resources that are a bare domain name or domain+directory name

It is true that when two different URLs point to the same resource, each URL may accumulate its own PR. So consistency is essential, or else you may waste PR by splitting it - or even run into a duplicate content complication. And it is also true that search engines have not sorted this very well at the current time.

But given the common habit in directories and link pages of listing just the bare domain, I choose the internal linking style "without the page name and extension." to the domain root or directory root.

[edited by: tedster at 2:03 am (utc) on Sep. 30, 2004]

createErrorMsg




msg:615751
 1:12 am on Sep 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

Pretending that you are Google, assign PR to these examples:

[example.com...]
[example.com...]

PageRank needs a page to rank.

I'm no Google/PR expert, but as far as I know, there is no practical difference between these two urls.

The first, with the forward slash (and other, more complicated and subdir based urls, like www.example.com/subdir/sub/) is usually rewritten via php or mod-rewrite rules in the .htaccess file to point to an actual page whenever someone visits. This 'someone' can be a user who typed the url, a user who clicked a link, or a SE spider crawling to index a site. All three are given the same page.

The forward slash version is merely a (smart) convention that allows you to have (a) simpler urls that are easier to remember and (b) the ability to change your site's backend (like switching from .htm to .php or .asp pages) without having to alter intra- and inter-site links.

pageoneresults




msg:615752
 1:44 am on Sep 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

Google trims the index.html [google.com]. I see no need to include it when linking. It produces excess code and, URIs are so much easier to advertise without using page names and file extensions. ;)

Fixed search string.

[edited by: pageoneresults at 2:39 am (utc) on Sep. 30, 2004]

StupidScript




msg:615753
 2:24 am on Sep 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

So, let me get this straight, because it's important.

My original site is set up like this (to keep it simple):

I'm running Apache2, Posix OS and PHP, and I'm using the default httpd.conf file that indicates files to be processed by PHP have the .php extension, and that index.php is one of the possible default documents.

My original home page: [example.com...]

Google goes to: [example.com...]

They end up (technically) at [example.com...] (after the server acts on the 301 redirect) where the server delivers the default home page file "index.php" (in the absence of index.htm and index.html and whatever else the default doc array contains).

Q1: What does Google index?
A1: index.php

Does Google retain the file name in its index? Probably.

I change my default Apache2 configuration so that .html files are also parsed by the PHP engine. I redesign my site, and rename my file to get rid of the .php extension.

My new home page is: [example.com...]

Google goes to: [example.com...]

They end up (technically) at [example.com...] (after the server acts on the 301 redirect) where the server delivers the default home page file "homepage.html" (in the absence of index.php et al.).

Q2: What does Google index?
A2: homepage.html

Does Google retain the file name in its index? Probably.

Does Google assign the same PR to the new file?

That's the $64k question, I believe.

What would the 301 redirect that usually passes PR on to its beneficiary look like?

301 index.php => homepage.html?

The client did not request index.php. They requested the default doc, so the redirect would not be triggered.

The PR transfer would not happen: new file with no 301 in effect = no PR transfer.

I'm encouraged by the activity in this thread, and hope the (no doubt) stimulating exchanges to follow will help put this nagging question to rest.

:)

pageoneresults




msg:615754
 2:43 am on Sep 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

Interesting search results if you do...

allinurl: index.asp
allinurl: index.cfm
allinurl: index.htm
allinurl: index.html
allinurl: index.php

It looks like Google trims most of the page names with index.htm and index.html. But, when it comes to the other extensions, they do appear in the indexed URI much more frequently. Just an observation...

jetnovo




msg:615755
 4:51 am on Oct 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

In my (relatively few) experiences, I've found [example.com...] to be the only 100% reliable method.

Links without the "http://" (ie, www.example.com) occassionally don't open - instead they generate a "The page cannot be displayed" message.

I know this is odd, since if I manually enter the same address (www.example.com), it works as IE automatically adds the "http://". But often when linking from another site, it fails to add that to the address and subsequently doesn't work.

Also, links without the "www." sometimes have failed on me also. Reading the above posts I suspect that some people won't believe me, but honestly I have had the problem.

So, in summary, [example.com...] hasn't let me down yet, whereas believe it or not, the other two systems have.

Global Options:
 top home search open messages active posts  
 

Home / Forums Index / Code, Content, and Presentation / HTML
rss feed

All trademarks and copyrights held by respective owners. Member comments are owned by the poster.
Home ¦ Free Tools ¦ Terms of Service ¦ Privacy Policy ¦ Report Problem ¦ About ¦ Library ¦ Newsletter
WebmasterWorld is a Developer Shed Community owned by Jim Boykin.
© Webmaster World 1996-2014 all rights reserved