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Is %20 a Problem in URLs

Mod_rewrite question. Took webmasterworld's advice...



7:04 pm on Mar 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hello all..

I paid to have a mod_rewrite done on my site, and I'm about to tell my programmer it looks excellent, but before that I just have one question.

When I add a product, it looks like this:


For some reason it puts the "%" in when I add a product. I know "?" are a problem, but do I need to worry about "%"?

Any help would be appreciated as always! You guys have made my site so much better with your input.

[edited by: ciml at 2:42 pm (utc) on Mar. 8, 2005]
[edit reason] Examplified [/edit]


5:00 pm on Mar 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Just from my experience/opinion...

you should code your URL's to use %20 in any url with a space in it.

Google will still index them if they don't have the
%20 but yahoo will throw a wobbly and get a 404 as it only sends half the url, leading to it thinking your site is half missing and this might lead to problems not just for the pages with spaces.

So the %20 is good it means space.
Just be sure it's not the browser putting the %20 in the URL. You want them coded in.


5:11 pm on Mar 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Spaces are not allowed in URLs, as a result any good programmer will make sure that spaces are escaped (the escape sequence for a space is %20). Without it your site could break with some userAgents (including search engine spiders and certain web browsers).

Yes, the %20 is a good thing.


8:14 pm on Mar 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Thanks guys... hopefully Google eats up my URL's for breakfast now ;-)


8:31 pm on Mar 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jdmorgan is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

For the best combination of readability and indexability, I'd recommend using hyphens for *all* non-alphanumerics: http://www.example.com/big-widgets/blue-widget-with-green-accents-559.htm

That %20 looks bad, and is harder to type. Words separated by underscores are indexed and matched on searches *as a single word with an undescore in it* which is not a good thing. Dump as many of the extra characters (such as the parentheses) as possible.

Just my 2 cents,


4:53 pm on Mar 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


thanks for your advice... I read your posts on other mod_rewite threads and they helped.

Question for you or anyone:

How long does it take to eat up the URL's? I've seen nothing happen good yet, in fact, when I do the site:www.mysite.com command, it even shows less URL's indexed than before.

Also, when you see the SERPS, does it show the new .html or the old?.asp for the pages? Still has the?.asp for my URL's.

I want to tell my programmer good job, but I'm not seeing anything productive after about 5 days. Should I be patient?

I read something one time about someone that rewrote and it did nothing because they only redid it internally or something? Does that make any sense? I'm just paranoid that it's not done right, but unfortunatly, I'm too dumb to figure most of this out.


6:46 pm on Mar 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jomaxx is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

I notice that if you do a search for "20art" (for example) in Google, you get lots of results from sites with %20 followed by "art" in the URL.

In other words, Google appears to not parse the %20 as a space, and therefore you get none of the (slight) benefit from having the keyword in the URL. Thus jdMorgan's suggestion to use dashes is probably better.


9:25 pm on Mar 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I'm using dashes as much as possible. I still have a feeling this isn't going to work.

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