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    Google is case-sensitive on URIs - a nasty bedtime story


    I've recently come across something I'm having hard time believing: Google and Googlebot seem to have become case-sensitive for URIs. Ok, they are unix-applications but this is not good for folks who run their sites on some other platform...

    Our mainpage is running on MS IIS, so different lettersizes don't have any effect. For example /wwwpub/myfolder equals to /WWWPUB/MYFOLDER.

    First I noticed the issue when Googlebot started crawling same files two times. The first request was for "myfolder", the second for "MYFOLDER" (or vice versa, depending on which link it found).

    Then it suddenly started showing this in SERPS. Different URI case, different cache date, different position (of course, because number of backlinks is different).

    I did some changes that fixed the situation. All is technicly 100% ok, but G still shows those old mixed names. Maybe it's getting them from backlinks, but whatever the reason may be, this is not good news.

    And now for the fun part: PR... It seems it''s lost for some of the pages that show mixed size URIs. Is it a duplicate page content penalty - maybe. Some other reason - possible also.

    Does anyone have experiences of this kind of situation...
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    Unhappy


    It made me sick when I found out.

    (I'm very sensitive)

    I had built around 50 new pages. All of the other pages in the site were all lower case. After a couple weeks I noticed all my new pages had started with a capitol. As soon as I changed them BAM! no PR. seems a little unfair.
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    Really? wow.. very interesting and thanks for that. Maybe I should be counting my lucky stars that I hate windows hosting environments... asp? ack.. no, I'd rather die.


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    always lowercase
    always a hyphen
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    Google has no choice but to be case sensitive


    While it is true on Windows 'URI' and 'uri' will map to the same file, in unix they will represent different files. Thus a request for 'URI' will probably not generate the same page as a request for 'uri'.

    So the choice Google has is to 1) be case insensitive and not be able to index Unix sites correctly, 2) Attempt to chose case sensitivity based upon hosting types, or 3) Assume that file names are case sensitive.

    Also I will not that as a web designer you should use consistant case senitivity in your URIs in any case. If you ever move your hosting to a different platform (or maybe your platform all of a sudden becaomes case sensitive because of an OS change) your site will suddenly stop functioning and you will have 404 pages.

    As far as what I recomend I use a case that aids the reader in viewing and rememering the URL where appropriate, lower case preferred when it does not matter, unless I am taking data from a database, then I don't play with the case.
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    I mentioned this awhile back when I noticed that Google doesn't bold any words that start with capital letters in the SERPs URL. (You know... a site's green URL thats below the site's description)

    What I find particulary strange is that Google doesnt even consider case when a user searches with capital letters.

    I dont understand how Google cant read the request header for the correct capitalization.

    Ohh well.

    EDIT: Most of Google's machines are UNIX based I believe so case is important.
    -PK
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    So the choice Google has is to 1) be case insensitive and not be able to index Unix sites correctly, 2) Attempt to chose case sensitivity based upon hosting types, or 3) Assume that file names are case sensitive.
    Option number two should be the most obious reason. The problem may be even that your linking is ok, but the UPPERCASE (or lowercase) links come from outside. And bang... you get nailed for duplicate content. That would be a serious desing flaw from Google's part. After all, IIS very popular (#2 after Apache I believe).
    Last edited by 2K; Jun 2nd, 2004 at 03:52 PM.
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    Yep, google is being as comprehensive as possible, it's a "feature" not a "bug". In unix you can have a Uri directory, a uri directory, a URI directory, etc.. and they'll all be different.
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    It's good practice to keep uniform anyway but no need to get mad at IIS!
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    Wouldn't it be simpler if google just assumed that pages with different CaSe but duplicate content are in fact the same pages? Wouldn't that be VERY easy to implement?
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    Wouldn't that be VERY easy to implement?
    Google still can't tell the difference between www.domain.com, domain.com, www.domain.com/index.html, domain.com/index.html, etc. So no I dont think that is at the top of their list.

    Also their index would shrink considerably and I dont think they want that right before an IPO.
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    Originally Posted by pk_synths
    Google still can't tell the difference between www.domain.com, domain.com, www.domain.com/index.html, domain.com/index.html, etc. So no I dont think that is at the top of their list.

    Also their index would shrink considerably and I dont think they want that right before an IPO.
    PK.. I have seen some pages not show any difference in PR and backlinks between domain.com and www.domain.com - and no.. it's not something to do with the host.. other websites on the same host don't exhibit the same results..

    Hexed
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    You can accomplish that with .htaccess.. Do you get redirected when typing http://domain.com to www.domain.com?
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    PK.. I have seen some pages not show any difference in PR and backlinks between domain.com and www.domain.com - and no.. it's not something to do with the host.. other websites on the same host don't exhibit the same results..
    In the past domain.com and www.domain.com would sometimes be the same and sometimes be different. Especially after an update. This wouldn't happen on a regular basis but more when Google just "felt like it" There still is a distinct between domain.com and www.domain.com.

    I, wanting to avoid the headaches and with DP's help, did what congi recommended about 2 months ago and have seen some benefits from doing so.
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    Originally Posted by pk_synths
    seen some benefits from doing so.
    hey PK ... what kind of benefits??
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