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Google: URLs are uppercase and lowercase

Google: URLs are uppercase and lowercase

Google’s John Mueller clarifies that URLs are uppercase and lowercase, so it’s important whether the characters are uppercase or lowercase.

Variations in cases can make one URL different from another, similar to how a URL with a slash is different from a URL without a slash.

This topic is covered in the latest installment of Ask Googlebot on the Google Search Central YouTube channel.

A question is asked that asks if a site’s rankings can be affected by the letters in the URL.

Mueller answers the question, while also explaining how Google chooses which version of a URL to display in search results.

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Do the letters in a URL affect SEO?

The case of letters in a URL definitely means something to Google.

Two URLs can look alike and even lead to the same content, but they can be treated as different URLs if one has a capital letter and the other does not.

Mueller says:

“By definition, URLs are uppercase and lowercase, and things like slashes at the end matter. So technically, yes – these things matter. They make URLs different. ”

When Google recognizes that there are multiple versions of the same URL, it will try to crawl them all and find out which one should appear in the search results.

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While this is handled automatically, Mueller says it is not always ideal because it may take longer for Google to detect and index content.

“If a site still displays the same content in these cases, search engines will try to figure it out on their own, and it usually works well. But it is not always ideal.

For example, search engines will try to crawl every variation of the URL they find. This can make it a little slower for them to find other useful content on your site. ”

Google starts a process called canonization when it encounters several different versions of a URL.

It decides which URL to store in the SERPs and consolidates all signals from the other versions into one URL.

The URL that ends up appearing in search results is called the canonical URL.

“When search engines find several different URLs that display the same content, they must also decide which of those URLs to keep. We call this canonization.

It does not change the ranking, but our systems may choose a URL that you would not have chosen. ”

Cases with letters in a URL can also play a role in robots.txt, Mueller explains.

“Another place where the exact URL plays a role is robots.txt. In the robots.txt file, you can signal which parts of a site should not be crawled.

The Robotten.txt file also uses exact URLs, so if you have entries there that reference a version of a URL, they would not apply to other versions of that URL. It is rare that we see this cause problems. ”

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You can signal to Google which version of a URL you want to appear in the search results by linking to the same version consistently.

Using the rel = “canonical” tag also sends Google tips on which version of a URL you prefer to display in SERPs.

“Using internal linking to link to a consistent version makes your preference clear. Adding a link rel =” canonical “element also helps confirm it and encourages search engines to focus on that version.

In short, uppercase or lowercase letters mean something to URLs. It is good practice to be consistent in how you use them, but it is usually not that critical for a site. ”

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Watch the full video below:

Featured Image: Screenshot from YouTube.com/GoogleSearchCentral, September 2021.

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