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Both links "http ://www.example.com/widget.html" and "widget.html" point at the page "widget.html", within the same folder. (NB. This is not the www and non-www problem, which is a known and real issue in external linking.)
As an example, the URL
when clicked from an external link, is reloaded in it's frameset by calling the URL:
(note the? in the URL)
I have found both links indexed on Google, the normal one with proper description (and much higher rank) and the? one with just the overall site's meta description (only found after I "repeat search with omitted results included").
So my question is, does Google see these as 2 duplicate pages, 2 separate pages, or can it even index the? page at all? Would one link hurt the other?
I have just helped re-code a dynamic site and have changed all of the links to inlude the trailing / as well as setting up a 301 redirect from non-www to www. The whole site has been reindexed within just a few days. All of the pages without www have been dropped. Additionally, any pages without the trailing / are being dropped, whether or not the URL includes the www. Only pages that begin www and include the / are now listed.