Link building, how to evaluate the effectiveness of your strategy. Have wondered why given phrases…
Sometimes it turns out that inappropriate use of the trailing slash is the problem. We are talking about a slash placed at the end of a URL, the reason behind the problem.
Duplicate content is one of the greatest challenges faced by SEO specialists.
It can be compared to plagiarism checkers used when writing diploma papers. In both cases, it’s recommended to create unique content without any plagiaristic elements.
The plagiarism ratio usually refers to the duplication of scientific sources. However, the use of descriptions prepared by product manufacturers is the greatest issue. For example, in the case of duplicate website content.
Duplicate content doesn’t refer solely to the use of texts taken from other websites. It’s also possible to duplicate your own page content. In this case we are talking about internal duplicate content.
Trailing slash: definition
So what is a trailing slash and how does it affect SEO? When looking at various websites, you may see that some of them end with a slash. And some of them don’t.
In the past, this slash meant that the page was categorized as directory. On the other hand, URLs without this special character indicated that the website was a file. Nowadays, this division is considered arbitrary.
Even Google doesn’t analyze websites this way.
The changes over the years were caused by the development of file structures. Now, modern network systems aren’t limited to simple designs.
Directory pages with folders and files marked by the trailing slash have been replaced. For example, with templates storing the file structure. Meanwhile, dynamic files are used to form a page.
These modifications still confuse many users. Especially those who aren’t sure whether to use a slash at the end of the URL or not. However, this element doesn’t have any impact on the way search engines display the website.
Moreover, these characteristic slashes don’t influence the presentation of website content.
How does the trailing slash affect SEO?
However, if we’re talking about SEO, the trailing slash affects it slightly differently. This unnoticeable element may have a significant impact on your website position in the results.
For example, 2 subpages with the same content are found within one page. The slash is the only element that makes them different.
In this case, we’re dealing with internal duplicate content. In such a situation, Google finds it hard to determine the original source. Everything gets chaotic! Therefore, choosing one URL that will represent given online content is the only solution.
Determining a safe search result position with different URLs on different domain versions is a big challenge. Google may find it difficult to identify the right source. This situation may mean that none of the pages will be ranked high in the website search results.
Unique URLs as a recipe for duplicate content
What is the best method to get rid of problems caused by the trailing slash? Simple! Avoid those situations when the website has an equivalent to compete with.
Setting appropriate redirects may be a key to success.
You decide to use the slash? In this case, check whether the URL without it is directed to the appropriate subpage with a 301 redirect.
The creation of a new website or a 404 error may be equally important. Your URL doesn’t end with the slash? You should check the redirects of the version with the slash to the original page.
How to delete the trailing slash?
WordPress perceives the discussed trailing slash very favorably because of the directory structure. Consequently, it’s fully reasonable to use slashes at the end of URLs on this platform.
This is a default software setting that can be changed by direct linking. If you choose a custom setting structure, you can add or remove the slash anytime you wish. Settings in WordPress:
- /%randomname%/ – has the slash at the end of the URL;
- /%randomname% – doesn’t have the slash.
If the above settings are changed, WordPress will automatically analyze the user’s version. It will add 301 redirects, change internal links and canonical tags.
The site map will also be updated. Do you want to make changes or your redirects don’t work properly? Contact the hosting company.
Duplicate content is an issue of almost every unconventional CMS. In most cases, systems can create even 8 versions of each subpage. For example, if the website doesn’t have appropriately adjusted settings.
This can be fixed with the use of the .htaccess file. You don’t know exactly how to do it? Commission the task to qualified specialists.
Trailing slash from the Google’s point of view
Trailing slashes are elements that have an important impact on local SEO. Even John Mueller himself spoke on Twitter about this phenomenon.
He referred to allegations frequently raised by webmasters that concerned misleading use of slashes. Mueller doesn’t fully agree with the remarks targeted at Google.
He notes that servers automatically categorize slashes placed at the end of URLs this way. According to his opinion, it doesn’t really matter whether you put slashes after host or domain names.
On the other hand, a slash placed somewhere else is perceived completely differently. In this way, it may affect the whole URL.
Google doesn’t impose the use of slashes or deleting them. On the other hand, it expects users to be consistent in their activities.
The application of slashes at the end of URLs is the most standard solution.
As you can see, the use of slashes at the end of URLs isn’t problematic. Google pays greater attention to the way we apply the trailing slash.
Each case is analyzed and counted as a separate URL. To avoid internal duplicate content, use 301 redirects. Also, you can get rid of 404 errors to ensure that identical subpages don’t fight for the same positions. For more info about this topic don’t hesitate to contact us!