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Thursday, February 09, 2006

Brief WebDev Rant

In my professional life, I've come across Seach Engine Optimization (SEO) issues more than a few times of late. We even have an insanely high priced consultant for the task, of whom I have ... well, let's just say a sanguine relationship with ... and it's becoming more and more intrusive.

One recent issue isn't their fault though. It's Google's. See, Google will parse a URL that has an underscore by combining the word. So "/Star_Wars/" will be seen as "StarWars". Hyphens, though, are parsed as spaces. So "/Star-Wars/" is "Star Wars". The latter would get better search results if you googled for "Star Wars".

So what's my beef? My beef is than an underscore is a completely legit method for indicating a space in a URL. Absolutely legal, follows the standards, no problems with it. Many files get named using this convention and it's fairly common among UNIX based systems as well. Of all the random files on my Mac's desktop here at work ... about fifteen or so ... more than half are multi-word filenames. One uses hyphens.

How is it then that Google, who supposedly employs some of the brightest people in the world, can simply decide that they aren't used that way? When they so clearly are used that way. I can think of no rational reason for this distinction other than Google simply making a preference.

And what really sucks? Google is so big now that we can just suck it. Rationale? Not really important. It's not like you can debate this with them. Just do it.

And hope they don't change their arbitrary preference in the future.

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Thomas said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Thomas said...

Wow, that's really good to know. Especially since my entire website uses underscore between words.

Damn you twice, lack of editing function!