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Absolute Vs. Relative Links

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Question for our SEO Guru: :unsure:

 

Do search engines care whether an internal link is relative or absolute?

 

e.g. If you have link back to your home page does it matter whether you have

href="/" or href="http://www.mysite.com"?

 

I know browsers don't care, but I was wondering about spiders and the like.

 

My site has a jumble of both types. It is wortwhile to be consistent in this regard?

 

...Dave

 

Rock Sign

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My best advice is to be consistent in whichever way you go. I generally recommend the full address though. Spiders look at URLs not actual 'pages'. Therefore, you can dilute the PageRank of one specific page by referencing it with different addresses... not good.

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Thanks for the fast answer!

 

I had a feeling you were going to say what you did. :unsure:

 

I just wanted to see it for myself! Most of my site is php-generated, so switching to a consistent format shouldn't be too hard.

 

Thanks again, Scott.

 

...dave

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I'm pretty sure Google is smart enough... because when it goes through and spiders all of the pages, regardless of the address used in the HREF part of the link, it still records the absolute URL of the page... Assuming the page has alreayd been spidered in Google's system, it'll just "add one" to the "number of linked pages" to that page.

 

I'm pretty sure it doesn't matter what the HREF contents are, as long as Google recognizes it as the same page (Which with how advanced Google is, I'm sure it's smart enough).

 

That being said, consistency is definitely a good idea. I've got all relative links on my websites (Save for some header("Location: http:..."); lines for folder protection), and a dynamic ../ generator for foldered pages.

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Thanks, DF.

 

Having all relative links would make a site more portable (I think) and would cut down on page sizes by a few bytes to boot.

 

But I have opted for absoute links as the norm on my site. It's easy to add a variable based on $_SERVER['HOST_NAME'] in PHP to the front of my links. (And easy to take it out if I change my mind!) :)

 

...dave

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Another thing I wonder is whether it makes a difference to use relative to this page versus relative to home. For instance

><a href="../../abc.htm"

versus

><a href="/abc.htm

 

Either way I'd think a complete URL would be best so it's just a matter of curiousity.

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Sorry for the delay in response... just got back in town.

 

I'm pretty sure it doesn't matter what the HREF contents are, as long as Google recognizes it as the same page (Which with how advanced Google is, I'm sure it's smart enough).

 

One example:

 

1. http://forums.invisionpower.com/

PageRank = 7

Backlinks = 335

 

2. http://forums.invisionpower.com/index.php?act=idx

PageRank = 6

Backlinks = 523

 

3. http://forums.invisionpower.com/index.php?

PageRank = 6

Backlinks = 609

 

All three URLs point to the 'same' page.

 

 

I use this example to demonstrate an additional point that we have addressed in other threads: note that the URL with the highest PR is not the URL with the highest number of backlinks.

 

i.e. Quality of Backlinks > Quantity of Backlinks

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Hmm... Good examples. I stand corrected.

 

Anyway, I haven't delved too much into ../ versus / in the link names... A competitor website to OMGN uses that, but I'm used to seeing ../ because with my dynamic generation, when I load a page on my site, I can see how many subfolders it is in, relative to the page (Although I know my sites well enough, that's useless anyway). Maybe / is easier.

 

I do believe Google should get smarter then. Simply adding a ? to the end of a URL doesn't change the content, but on OMGN, for example, adding ?Item_ID=1000 to the news.php address will change the content.

 

Perhaps if Google ignored a single ? on addresses...

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