Google Answers If Double Slash In URL Has SEO Impact

by | Dec 19, 2023 | Digital Marketing, News, SEO

In a recent Google Office Hours hangout, Gary Illyes addressed the question of whether a double forward slash in a URL has an impact on a website’s SEO. It was noted that this issue often arises due to coding problems in the CMS or .htaccess file, resulting in duplicate webpages with only a difference in the URL. Creating an .htaccess rule to rewrite the URL and remove the extra forward slash is not a viable solution, as it does not address the root problem. The only effective way to resolve this issue is to identify and address what is causing the web server to generate double forward slashes in the URLs.

Illyes explained that from a technical perspective, the presence of double slashes in a URL is not an issue as per RFC 3986, section 3, as the forward slash serves as a separator and can appear in the URL path multiple times. However, he cautioned that from a usability perspective, this practice may not be ideal and could potentially confuse web crawlers.

The article also highlights the importance of usability and the potential impact of crawler confusion on SEO. Poor usability can lead to user dissatisfaction and reduced site popularity, indirectly affecting visibility. Additionally, crawler confusion can directly impact SEO, making it crucial to ensure that a site is easy to crawl and understand. While Google may be able to navigate these issues, it is not best practice to rely on search engines to figure out how to crawl a site.

The article recommends seeking assistance from an .htaccess expert or developer to address this technical issue. It also suggests using tools like Screaming Frog to pinpoint the source of the double forward slash, providing insight into the underlying cause of the problem.

Overall, the article provides valuable insights into the SEO implications of double forward slashes in URLs, emphasizing the importance of addressing technical issues and ensuring usability and clarity for web crawlers. The inclusion of Gary Illyes’ perspective and practical recommendations adds credibility and depth to the discussion.

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