Are you a Google Analytics enthusiast?
More SEO Content
Duplicate Content For Geographic Listings?
Posted 11 February 2004 - 10:09 AM
Our company provides listings (in the manner of a directory) for companies by geographic location (Country, State, City, etc...)
I've been monitoring our error logs and get 404 error reports and have found that some visitors are using UPPER/lower case in the URL to try to visit pages and generating 404 errors. This can & does happen when people modify the target URL in the address bar. Pages are housed in directories per country, state, city, etc...
After further investigation of some of our competitors, I've found that they create duplicate pages in several versions of state/city case spellings. Example:
If you go to the address bar and manually change the UPPERCASE "T" in Texas, you get an identical page, duplicate content.
In some cases searches return results from both upper/lower case pages in the search engines. The problem is that I cannot consistently duplicate the UPPER/lower search results to show to anybody, but you can clearly go to their sites, modify the address bar and see the duplicate content/pages.
Questions are this:
1. Does it truly mean that if I change the URL in the address bar to UPPER/LOWER case versions and it returns a page, then those directories and pages of duplicate content exist. If I perform the same check on our site, you will get our custom 404 page.
2. Is this considered spam to the search engines. If so... these sites are not being penalized. It is easy enough to generate these alternate UPPER/lower directories and pages, but if it is spam to the engines, I won't even consider it.
3. Our rankings are right up there with our competitors, so I could change nothing and our sites would still be ok, but then I run the risk of a consumer browsing the site and changing the URL and not finding the results they want??
How about generating these alternate directories/pages with 301's back to the original version of the page that they should be seeing??
Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
Posted 12 February 2004 - 09:35 AM
but these two are different
However, certain servers (e.g. ASP servers) treat the path component as case insensitive. And, of course, you could program your own 404 handler to do likewise.
A search engine does not want to index the same content at two different URLs on the same site. They use duplicate detection algorithms to prevent this. They also try to resolve duplicates to the single best URL. You are unlikely to improve your traffic from search engines by implementing a case-insensitive path component.
Posted 12 February 2004 - 10:24 AM
Your site is very likely on a Unix or Linux server. Unix/Linux file names are case sensitive. A directory is treated just like another file, so the same rule applies.
I suspect your competitors are using an IIS server where case doesn't matter. You could resolve your concerns with a move to a Microsoft IIS server. That's one possible solution.
You might want to also ask yourself why customers are manually typing in long URLs.
Posted 12 February 2004 - 10:38 AM
Posted 12 February 2004 - 12:29 PM
- Alan -
I was not considering the route of generating duplicate content, more so generating the alternate directories/filenames to catch any manual URL changes by the user (possibly generate an index file with a 301 to the proper page in the alternate directories, not dupe content), so they still get the information they are looking for regardless of incorrect changes to the URL.
- TopDog -
Sorry if this sounds too 'anti-Microsoft'... but change opsys TO Microsoft? :doh: Not an option You are correct about opsys... BSD and soon on to Linux. After working with Unix/Linux for 6+ years(and knowing the case sensitive nature of dirs & filenames), you would think that the case sensitive thing would have slapped me in the face. I've got a lot on my plate and sometimes can't see the forest for the trees!
Don't get me wrong, the number of 404's generated because of this type of manual change/behaviour are minimal, but were enough to get my attention. And that naturally led me to check out the competition.
- zestor -
Given the nature of our custom 404 handler I may be able to parse through the referring page URL and redirect them in that nature??? Didn't think of that, but I'll look into it further.
Again, thanks for the replies. I try to hang around here as long as I can, but I often have little time to browse around on the forum. I promise to start 'giving back' and posting more useful info on the board.
0 user(s) are reading this topic
0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users