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by Lucy Griffiths on 23rd April 2010
Limiting the amount of duplicate content on Google can be as simple as adding a slash to URLs, the search engine advises.
The importance of serving unique content on a website is a common aspect of SEO expert services, as Google typically filters out duplicate pages in its search results.
But the way a website handles URLs which do and don’t end in a slash – typically used to differentiate between folders and pages – can contribute to this effect.
Maile Ohye, developer programs tech lead, writes on the Official Google Webmaster Central Blog that a URL which lacks a closing slash, but which should include one, should redirect using a 301 or 302 error – for permanent and temporary redirections respectively.
"If only one version can be returned – ie the other redirects to it – that’s great!" the Google team leader adds.
The article also notes that the two URLs, with and without a closing slash, can technically be used to serve different content.
However, the confusion that this can cause for users of the website leads the article author to advise against it as common practice.