Google Confirms "Typically" Treating / & /index.html The Same

Mar 18, 2009 • 9:02 am | comments (4) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

In a Google Webmaster Help thread, Googler, JohnMu, might be stating the obvious, but it is always good hearing it from someone who is in the know.

JohnMu, answered a question about links, but in his answer, he confirmed that even with or without sever header responses (301s, 404s, etc.) Google will typically treat the home page of a site, i.e. /, the same if it were / or /index.html and likely index.php or any other extension.

John said:

Given that generally URLs like "/" and "/index.html" are the same, we tend to treat them the same (unless there's a good reason not to do so -- say when there is unique content on them).

Clearly, if the pages look different and have different content, Google will notice and likely treat them differently. It is still good practice to 301 redirect the canonical URLs to a single URL, but most webmasters have no clue about these issues and Google has to be smart enough to figure these issues out themselves. In most cases, they are.

Forum discussion at Google Webmaster Help.

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03/18/2009 01:41 pm

I suppose that is good he has clarified that. The question now is, If you have links going to / and /index.php, Will Google value them separately, or combined. I think i might just carry on linking to / just to be safe. It is much better practise anyway.

Matt McGee

03/19/2009 07:06 am

Coincidentally, I have a new client whose is PR4, but is PR3. Must be one of the un-typical cases, even though content is the same.

Ritika Chugh

03/19/2009 08:53 pm

I am pretty sure links going to / and /index are valued separately. My homepage had PR 6 and index page had 5. How do we explain that?


03/22/2009 10:04 am

I'd say google gives each page pagerank independently - but has a filter after that to create 'one' page out of two. That page should have the combined pagerank of the two and rank according to all other factors combined as well.

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