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SEO Website Audit

URLs With Hashtags

June 1, 2011
          
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Photo Credit: jeffisageekHi Jill,

I’m a bit of a nit-picker when it comes to tidy URLs and end up in endless debates with the development team of functionality over form!

We start with a URL like this:
www.example.com/hotels

But one of the new pieces of functionality on our site means that the URL now looks like this (hashtag content added after the page is launched):
www.example.com/hotels#ProductList

Do you think the hashtag content affects the site's SEO or link building in any way now, or is it ignored by search engines, hence no duplicate content or indexing issues? So, aside from looking ugly to the user and potential linker, are there any downsides to this?

Thanks in advance.

Charlotte

++Jill's Response++

Hi Charlotte,

Traditionally, the search engines ignore everything after the hashtag because it's usually content contained on the same page or URL. Therefore, those additional URLs should not get indexed (only the part before the hashtag should).

I'd do a site:command at Google to make sure of this, however.

Best,

Jill

 
Jill Whalen is the CEO of High Rankings and an SEO Consultant in the Boston, MA area since 1995. Follow her on Twitter @JillWhalenJill Whalen

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 Erin said:
My company has had this issue due to AJAX URLs. We are working on setting up indexable AJAX.

More info: http://www.seomoz.org/blog/how-to-allow-google-to-crawl-ajax-content

Problem is, what do you do with canonical links? What URLs are in your sitemaps? WHat about Yahoo and Bing.

Sigh.
 Marcos ALonso said:
I´m with Erin. I Think this is still a tag to mark content inside a page, so it could damage SEO´s efforts. BUT due to HTML5, which works also with this hashtag, I think in the future this won´t be a problem
 Jill Whalen said:
No, Marcos, it doesn't damage SEO efforts when you use it as an anchor to link to specific content within a page.
 Freddy said:
Other benefit of the Hashtag solution is to avoid google indexing Affiliate URLs and/or campaign parameters

By placing the Hashtag on your URL and a piece of JS on the client side you should be able to capture the information and avoid duplicate URLs in SE.
 Jaydon said:
My developer says that in order for certain pages within our site to load quickly (using AJAX), he needs to use hashtags (ex www.xyz.com/#aaa). When I mentioned to him that this would have an adverse SEO effect, he proposed the idea of manually submitting these pages to Google via Webmaster Tools. Is this a sufficient fix to the problem? Also, if I type in the URL into my web browser without the URL, it does direct me to the correct page on my site (above ex: www.xyz.com/aaa) but he says the hashtag is needed when clicking on a link within the site that directs me to that page. Is this creating a duplicate content error by having multiple URL's (one with hashtag and one without) that ultimately lead to same page and content? Any other ideas/recommendations? Thanks in advance!
 Jill Whalen said:
@Jaydon, no that's not sufficient. Google doesn't index URLs with the # so it doesn't matter how you submit them.

Since people go to the right URL anyway and Google will only index the right URL (without the hashtag) you're fine.
 Mark Scholten said:
Hi there,

This crawlable URL subject has changed, so therefore please find this update.

The Google crawler does pick up URL's with hashtags in it, as long as the format is according to the specifications as described in:
https://developers.google.com/webmasters/ajax-crawling/docs/getting-started

Regards,

Mark
 Krumpet said:
What about title tags that are updated based on the directive given by the parameters after the hashtag? In this situation, Googlebot could crawl the same page over and over and get different content each time - in particular, the title tag. How do you think this should be handled?

Is it that when Googlebot crawl a URL with parameters after a hashtag, the page reverts to the base condition with no parameters applied?
 Jill Whalen said:
@Krumpet, I'm not aware of the type of situation you're talking about. But as far as I know, Google basically ignores everything after the hash tag so it shouldn't be a problem.
 Host.co.in said:
I was trying to find the right method of using '# tags' in the content without linking them, will it provide any benefit for highlighting the specific content?
 Jill Whalen said:
No, it won't.
 Christian said:
Sorry but this post is wrong. Hashtag URLs will get indexed and even shown in SERPs. See Wikipedia for examples. Please delete this page to people wont believe it.
 Jill Whalen said:
@Christian please provide some examples of URLs with hashtags in them which are indexed in google.

Thanks!

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