Google’s Stance on Double Slashes and SEO Impact

1 min read

In an Office Hours hangout, Gary Illyes from Google answered whether a double forward slash in a URL affects a website’s search engine optimization.

There are several causes of a double forward slash, most commonly relating to a coding error in the CMS or the.htaccess file, which can lead to duplicate webpages with different URLs.

Addressing the challenge often doesn’t find a resolution by creating a .htaccess rule to rewrite the URL and eliminate the surplus forward slash. This approach needs to tackle the root problem effectively.
Effectively resolving the issue of double slashes in URLs involves identifying the cause behind the web server generating these duplicates.
The initial question was about the SEO impact of utilizing double slashes in a URL, exemplified by a link like https://www.example.us//us/shop.
Gary Illyes highlighted that, based on RFC 3986, section 3, the presence of forward slashes as separators within the URL path is deemed manageable. Technically, they are permissible to appear multiple times.
However, from a usability standpoint, repeated forward slashes might not be optimal and could lead to confusion for specific web crawlers.


Usability’s Role and Its Influence on Crawlers


The usability of a website plays a role as it directly influences user satisfaction and engagement. Poor usability can lead to frustration, impacting the site’s popularity and potentially causing a decline in recommendations, visitors, and inbound links. This, in turn, can indirectly affect visibility.
Moreover, crawler confusion can have a significant impact when it comes to SEO. Ensuring a website is easy to use and comprehend is a best practice for successful crawling. Any elements confusing crawlers should be promptly addressed to maintain a clear and accessible site structure.

There are better approaches than relying on Google to navigate through the issue.
Consider engaging an expert in .htaccess to review the rules and ascertain if they might trigger the problem. Alternatively, having a developer inspect the code could reveal any underlying factors generating the double forward slashes.
Utilizing tools like Screaming Frog for crawling can pinpoint the origin of the double forward slashes, offering valuable insights into the technical issue’s source. This, in turn, provides a clue for troubleshooting and resolving the problem effectively.

If navigating this still feels overwhelming, explore our monthly SEO packages. Our team is here to assist and guide you through the process.

Shilpi Mathur
[email protected]