Do we really need an SEO Quiz? And if we had one, could anyone defend the correct “answers”?
#67 If they have the same content, the Search Engines will consider example.com/avocado and example.com/avocado/ to be the same page.
Your Answer: FALSE
Correct Answer: TRUE
Hmmmm…. so a search that shows Google did some canonicalizing is proof that trailing slash URL is same as no-trailing slash URL?
Take a look at Google’s Sitemap tool. Look at the inbound links. They are aggregated. But, lo and behold, Google counts links to site.com/whatever separately from links to site.com/whatever/.
What does that mean? I would trust evidence like that over what gets displayed in the SERP any day. The SERP is polished. It’s managed. The sitemaps tool is based on Google’s data. Who’s right?
Does it matter who’s right? Sure it does.
A general solution is a solution which always works, under various conditions. Conditions change; still works. To have the trailing slash and no-trailing slash resolve to the same content via a 301 redirect is the general solution. A specific solution is a solution which may work now, but may not work under all conditions. Last year when Google fiddled with canonicalization, it stated thatit was doing clever things to figure out when to recognize issues like this one used as an example in the SEOmoz SEO Quiz. Visual observation of the Google SERPs today does not prove anything, because no one knows how Google processes it’s own internal page data to generate that view, or whether or not Google does those same “machinations” when working with other parts of TheAlgorithm, like ranking factors.
But what if Google told us they are the same? Then does it not matter? No. Because if it were true that the trailing slash doesn’t matter, why did the webmaster console tool show them separately? That is a clue. The general solution is the safer bet.
I failed that question on the SEOMoz SEO Quiz. So I suppose I am not as good an SEO as those SEOmoz people who were familiar with the claims offered to justfy the “correct” answer. Pity me, ok?