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Parameters Vs Anchors
Posted 02 May 2011 - 01:11 PM
I'm debating different ways of doing this:
example.com/ (No variable passed, default)
example.com/?variable=value (Using parameters)
example.com/#value (Using anchor text that doesn't correspond to anything)
Regardless of what I use, I plan on using a canonical link to specify that the url is just example.com/.
I'm wondering how the search engines treat parameters vs anchor text, and how browser caching works for anchor text. I know that using the parameter would be considered a separate page, and the browser would have to re-download the page (even though the html will be the exact same).
I'm leaning towards anchors, but I'm very interested in some feedback.
Posted 02 May 2011 - 03:00 PM
As you noted, as long as you use link rel="canonical" properly, this isn't going to be an issue, but for whatever it's worth, I've found that URLs containing parameters are often treated as documents themselves, so you have to explicitly tell Google to ignore the parameter, whereas named anchors (which I've tried to get treated as separate pages on a couple of occasions) are ignored by search engines.
Posted 02 May 2011 - 08:35 PM
Posted 02 May 2011 - 09:09 PM
Parameters create a new distinct page, this requiring reload and causing search engines to index them separately.
Google does not index anchors unless they are using the proposed Ajax solution which follows the #! format. That is I've never seen a # show up in search results yet, without the #!. I may be wrong.
The canonical tag would not be required if you use anchors, but no harm in it anyhow.
Posted 05 May 2011 - 01:54 PM
Posted 06 May 2011 - 10:06 AM
Actually Google started displaying "Jump To" links in the SERP listing in late 2009
These are derived from the named anchors on that particular page.
Posted 07 May 2011 - 02:42 PM
It will be interesting to see those results working in the average site beyond places like Wikipedia and large authority sites. Since that is something we tend to do in our coding anyway, it will be interesting to watch how it pans out.
Usually those SE results take you to the top of a new page in the website, so that is a refreshing change. Looks like perhaps if there is a page about a search term, they will take you to it, otherwise, if there is a section about it, they will take you there.
Much better than having to scroll through long pages to find a particular section you are searching for. Another Google time saver, created especially for us.
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