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Canonicalization, The Pros and Cons of Redirecting Various Typins to Root
Help Me Decide
AjiNIMC




msg:3328259
 6:24 am on May 2, 2007 (gmt 0)

Redirection from /index.html to /. Example if someone types http://www.example.com/index.html we will take them to http://www.example.com/.

Why I might not do it

  1. It is very much natural
  2. Almost 99% of the website will never do it, so it is a problem at googleís end, they need to solve it.
  3. Very important, when a person is coming to index.html I am redirecting it to / which is making my customer wait.

Why I might do it?

  1. Only from links point of view (avoiding people to link to / and /index.html) and to help Google (may be google will consider the links to / differently from /index.html). SEO benefits (may be for some search engines which cant do URL Canonicalization at its end).
  2. Technically both these files can be different too.

What does Google do?
They will take the most appropriate URL, which is with / almost 99% of the times. I have never seen a duplicate content issue so far due to this. For www and non-www google has an option under webmaster console.

What is your opinion about it?

Thanks,
AjiNIMC

 

g1smd




msg:3334310
 11:24 pm on May 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

Domain Name can be Any Case. Mixed is fine, but I avoid it.

Case is only important for Folders and Filenames. Go all lower case.

Vimes




msg:3335535
 5:00 am on May 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

Hi,

I made a post a while back about a similar issue and never got round to following it up,
mine was whether redirecting from / to index.html or index.html to / made any difference from an indexing speed point of view, all advised to redirect from index to /

Not that I disbelieved anyone but I made a few tests on a couple of spare domains and these are the findings that I received.

They were except for the content on page identical.

For indexing purposes I didn't see a huge difference in the speed that the sites where indexed.

I did notice across the engines a huge difference between how the sites are actually index how ever

Google still names the home page / on both sites
Yahoo has followed the redirects so each site has the correct page showing / and index.html
MSN is completely confused and has indexed a URL listing on the site that redirects from / to index.html and the other site is indexed correctly.

Also I have noticed that with the limited amount of SEO that Iíve actually done on these sites that the site with the redirect from index to / ranks better, definitely on msn but across the other two as well or at least thatís how it appears to me.

Just me piping up ;)

Vimes.

webastronaut




msg:3335548
 5:23 am on May 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

AjiNIMC, My girl hired you last Sept. 2006 to make her online forum SE friendly and now she is dealing with a site full of duplicate content because her forum has all pages that say's, forum-1 (and view-forum-262.php)and so on.

What did you do and why? She lost all her keywords since?

AjiNIMC




msg:3335582
 6:37 am on May 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

AjiNIMC, My girl hired you last Sept. 2006 to make her online forum SE friendly and now she is dealing with a site full of duplicate content because her forum has all pages that say's, forum-1 (and view-forum-262.php)and so on.

I was never hired by anyone. There was a particular case when I wanted some urgent money for a charity work so I thought I will help someone with a small fix. I think it was she who asked me to make the url SE friendly where I guided her a bit. She had some 5 queries which I answered. I did not take any money either as that was against my ethics, I think I explained her that very clearly. I helped her as much as possible as I once said I will, so just to keep my words I helped her but not for a single penny.

If I helped someone with a small fix I do not think I can be responsible for the duplicate content issue as it can happen because of many reasons. When I saw it first it was a new website so I do not think there were any ranking.

But still, since I was involved it in once, I can take some part of responsibility (with an apology) and can offer to review it once again :).

Regards,
AjiNIMC

danny




msg:3335584
 6:43 am on May 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

I implemented "index.html redirect-removal" a few months ago, after worrying about this issue for some time but not liking the effects.

The only noticeable effect was that the PageRank for the pages in question disappeared (n/a), then came back a couple of levels lower than usual, then returned to normal. But this seemed to have no effect at all on actual search results.

One minor positive effect you don't mention is that people cutting-and-pasting URLs, e.g. into email, may see shorter URLs. A minor negative effect is that browsing local copies of my one's web sites is harder if the links are to directories instead of index.html files.

webastronaut




msg:3335593
 7:01 am on May 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

Sounds good brother... thanks for helping her.

g1smd




msg:3335791
 12:15 pm on May 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

I have implemented "from named-index-page to slash-terminated URL" redirects for many years.

I see nothing but positive benefits to indexing and more benefits in the last year as search engines start to pay more attention to these issues.

Tonearm




msg:3335961
 3:01 pm on May 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

Has anyone ever had trouble with:

[domain.com...]

vs.

[domain.com...]

or does Google consider them the same?

g1smd




msg:3336011
 3:43 pm on May 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

"Without /" should 301 redirect to "with /" to be sure.

It should also force www at the same time, in the same redirect, if possible.

activeco




msg:3336020
 3:51 pm on May 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

Apache does it automatically anyway, if you have mod_dir module enabled.

A "trailing slash" redirect is issued when the server receives a request for a URL [servername...] where dirname is a directory. Directories require a trailing slash, so mod_dir issues a redirect to [servername...]

However, because of the troubles in transfering PR using 301, it is always better to include trailing slash in all links to a directory or domain only.

Tonearm




msg:3336056
 4:35 pm on May 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

If http://www.example.com and http://www.example.com/ are considered different pages, and http://www.example.com/ is preferred by the webmaster, all the incoming http://www.example.com links will potentially suffer the PR problems right?

[edited by: tedster at 5:28 pm (utc) on May 10, 2007]
[edit reason] switch to example.com - it will never be owned [/edit]

AjiNIMC




msg:3336117
 5:42 pm on May 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

[httpd.apache.org...] , trailing slash section can be helpful.

or does Google consider them the same?

Google does everything possible to check whether they are same. I have done some analysis and I have some related examples to show.

This can be tested on news websites where the content changes often and Google finds new content whenever it visits. So if google is visiting index.html now and index.html?cnn=yes latter it is not able to judge whether they are same or not. I doubt whether this is the same case with / or not. As it is very rare case that you will find a website different with or without slash so smart search engines like Google must have done the fixes for it.

Now the only problems with "?", we can basically create 100s of cached pages for cnn this way. Here are some of the examples,

  • money.cnn.com/index.html
  • money.cnn.com/index.html?cnn=yes

(Which is practically same but technically different.)

Since the contents are different when Google visits it so both the pages are different for google

Google does more things than what we expect. Look at the sfgaints example cited by Matt cutts [mattcutts.com].

Thanks,
AjiNIMC
(writing the post in hurry, apologies for mistakes)

[edited by: AjiNIMC at 5:43 pm (utc) on May 10, 2007]

activeco




msg:3336147
 6:26 pm on May 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

If http://www.example.com and http://www.example.com/ are considered different pages, and http://www.example.com/ is preferred by the webmaster, all the incoming http://www.example.com links will potentially suffer the PR problems right?

Correct, although you never know with the next version of Google algo.

From mattcutts' blog:

Search engines can do things like keeping or removing trailing slashes, trying to convert urls with upper case to lower case, or removing session IDs from bulletin board or other software...

But theoretically you could have completely different things; a file http://www.example.com/dir.html, but also http://www.example.com/dir.html/ as a directory (well, not in the same tree, but it is possible), so trailing slash always denotes a directory (which can return any default file, if needed).

activeco




msg:3336250
 8:21 pm on May 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

Look at the sfgaints example cited by Matt cutts.

It is interesting, if you do the same query today ("sf giants"), Google returns the same homepage with different url's on the first two positions (actually four results from the same domain, which says enough about subdomains).

The only difference is cache taken a day before on the second url. For those interested to know "how much to escape duplicate content issue", this could be a good example.

Dc71




msg:3336421
 11:17 pm on May 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

Once the Root is established of a site arn't all these issues trivial? Doesn't google always assume the root of a site is ./ or /. and then once the absolute path to root is established by the most authority links to it.

I bet this can be frustrating when you use " Add On " domains with CPANEL and then google just picks / as a root and index all the domains/folders from their on?

Great way to focus the love but hell for SEO since you will have to get a majority of links to your "TRUE" root as not to lead a blind dog to the wrong root.

Am I missing something?
What Can't I get some love?
When will I get the traffic I am looking for at over 20,000 imressions a day. Or will I always be stuck in this under 10,000 impressions a day while scrapper sites like nnseek.com seems to get all the love. Who is the Clown that owns this crap domain anyway?

AjiNIMC




msg:3336514
 1:39 am on May 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

Once the Root is established of a site arn't all these issues trivial? Doesn't google always assume the root of a site is ./ or /. and then once the absolute path to root is established by the most authority links to it.

As said before google does everything possible. I liked what Marcia said "Rule #1: Never confuse the bot or make her wonder, think or second-guess. She is not a mind reader, able to second-guess what the webmaster's intentions are."

I bet this can be frustrating when you use " Add On " domains with CPANEL and then google just picks / as a root and index all the domains/folders from their on?

True, I have been careful about this. Add .htaccess redirection. Let me know if you need help.

underglass




msg:3336533
 2:19 am on May 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

How could a novice (me) phrase this homepage fix (index.html to /)to his hosting company?

"Can you write a 301 redirect for all homepage (fill in the blank) to /?"

I don't want to confuse my hosting company and would appreciate some help....even a complete question I can lift from here. Thanks!

AjiNIMC




msg:3336685
 6:53 am on May 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

How could a novice (me) phrase this homepage fix (index.html to /)to his hosting company?

"Can you write a 301 redirect for all homepage (fill in the blank) to /?"

Are you aware of htaccess? Please go through htaccess and related articles for rewrite rule,
[httpd.apache.org...]

It is very important that a person understands it to some extent before applying a little advance tools like htaccess rewrites and redirections. You can use the apache forum of WebmasterWorld for help (JDM [webmasterworld.com] is best at it, he helped me with very difficult issues).

Aji

underglass




msg:3337057
 3:03 pm on May 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

Thanks Aji!

I vaguely understand htaccess. My hosting company uses apache mod rewrite. They fixed the www and non www issue for me last year. I would rather not do the work since I could really mess my site up.

Since they charge by the hour, I wanted to reduce potential charges by asking them for the appropriate work. I was hoping to get a properly phrased request their programmer would understand. As you can see from my previous post, I might send them something that causes them to say, 'What in the world is he talking about?"

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