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Capital Letters (Pascal Casing) in URLs - Advantages and Disadvantages

     
5:24 pm on May 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



I noticed CNN uses some capital letters and sometimes whole words in capital in their URL. Here is what I thought of the advantages and disadvantages and please feel free to share some more ideas.

The advantages:

  • You make the word stand out
  • Some search engines might put more emphasis on those words

    The disadvantages:

  • It makes it more difficult for users to type in the URL or suggest the link via phone.
  • It may confuse users, making them think URL’s like domains are not case sensitive at all.
  • 5:05 pm on May 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

    WebmasterWorld Senior Member henry0 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



    Well, let see if I may demo a case where using Pascal Casing in a full URL
    Is OK.
    I am building as a section of a new site some form of “…pedia”
    application/main_dir/sub_dir/page_name
    Here I could not care less if I use Pascal Casing and if the whole url is case sensible.
    Why: at three levels deep, even four when adding the whole www.DN/
    No one will type it, in order to get a page coming from four levels deep
    The page will only be accessed via site nav or indexed by SE
    In both case no one will hard type its full URL
    So I believe that in this case case-sensibility is not an issue
    Your thoughts?
    6:25 am on May 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

    10+ Year Member



    Actually, does anybody try to memorize a full URL?
    www.domain.com/dir1/dir2/some_CAPITAL_htmlfile.html
    Did you every try to memorize this or just www.domain.com?

    If I find an interesting page / story, I simply bookmark it.

    8:12 am on May 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

    WebmasterWorld Administrator incredibill is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



    The upside to example.com/PascalCasing.html is that some stupid bots convert the URLs they scrape to lower case and then all they get is 404s.

    It's a blessing ;)

    7:08 pm on May 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

    5+ Year Member



    Can Google have different mixed case of the same URL in its SERPS? Might not be good for PR, and might not be good for any adsense either - as Google could be thinking the ad is being displayed on a different page that gets very low impressions.

    Should I be redirecting incorrectly cased URLs to a lowercase URL?

    7:10 pm on May 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

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



    Should I be redirecting incorrectly cased URLs to a lowercase URL?

    Yes. Or, in this instance, to their "ProperCase" if applicable. ;)

    7:21 pm on May 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

    5+ Year Member



    This type of casing causes duplicate content issues. What happens is that some Web masters only use lower case letters in links. Therefore when they link to you, it creates two unique pages in Google for the same content: www.domain.com/file.htm and www.domain.com/File.htm . These are seen as separate pages by the engines and their Page Rank is not consolidated unless Google figures out they are the same page (which is A LOT better since Big Daddy but still not perfect). And since there is no proven benefit to having letters in a URL string capitalized, it makes no sense to do it.
    7:44 pm on May 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

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



    Remember, we are dealing with two distinct areas here; the domain itself and then the file naming conventions afterwards.

    If you have the proper facilities in place for redirection, whether you're using PascalCasing in the domain itself and/or in the file naming conventions, everything should be just fine.

    Let's drop the "file naming" aspect as that is where all of the technical issues come into play. Doing www.webmasterworld.com or www.WebmasterWorld.com doesn't matter. Domain names are not case sensitive. File naming is.

    2:37 pm on Jun 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

    5+ Year Member



    Sorry to join this discussion so late..

    Not mentioning any names but 'someone' in our office recently made some changes in our back end CMS and, as a result, around 30% or the URLs to our site have changed with regards to the casing. For example; www.domain.com/page.htm has changed to www.domain.com/Page.htm.

    Both of these URLs work but I'm wondering what the best way to handle the situation is as most of the URLs in the Google index are the old versions and Google could possibly see all of these pages now as being duplicates.

    3:04 pm on Jun 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

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



    Both of these URLs work but I'm wondering what the best way to handle the situation is as most of the URLs in the Google index are the old versions and Google could possibly see all of these pages now as being duplicates.

    You are correct. Depending on your platform, and whether or not you have the capabilities to do so, you'll need to make sure that one or the other is "forced". The recommended would be lower case for file names as they are case sensitive. You can force the Pascal Casing for "file naming conventions" but I do believe you'll add a "challenging layer" in your indexing process.

    Not mentioning any names but 'someone' in our office recently made some changes in our back end CMS and, as a result, around 30% or the URLs to our site have changed with regards to the casing.

    If those are getting indexed right now, you'll need to make sure that a 301 is being returned once you force the case.

    4:02 pm on Jun 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

    5+ Year Member



    Take it from someone who made the choice to mix case in URL's a long time ago -- DON'T !

    Due to my legacy webserver, I wasn't able to do a Mod ReWrite to fix the problem, and the only way I can address it is via ROBOTS.TXT Disallow control. That is, I specifically disallow all lowercase URL entries for effected sites.

    Failure to control it, caused me duplicate content headaches, which I now have under control.

    But, if I had to do it all over again - I would have stuck with an all lowercase URL naming convention.

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