Google’s Gary Illyes answered the question in an Office Hours hangout about whether a double forward slash in a URL has an impact on the SEO for a website.
A double forward slash happens for a number of reasons that are often related to a coding issue on the CMS or in the .htaccess file which can result in duplicate webpages that only differ in the URL.
It’s a troublesome problem that generally cannot be solved by creating an .htaccess rule to rewrite the URL to remove the extra forward slash because that doesn’t really solve the actual problem.
The only way to really solve the double slash in the URL problem is to track down what exactly is causing the web server to generate double forward slashes in the URLs.
This is the question that was asked:
“What is the SEO impact of using double slashes in a URL, such as in https://www.example.us//us/shop?”
Gary Illyes answered:
From a puritan perspective, that’s not an issue. If you look at RFC 3986, section 3, the forward slash is a separator and is OK to appear in the URL path as many times as you like, even repeatedly.
From a usability perspective it’s probably not the greatest idea, and it may also confuse some crawlers.”
Usability And Crawler Confusion
Usability of a website is important because that can lead to user dissatisfaction and frustration, which can have a negative long term effect on website popularity, which in turn could have an indirect impact on visibility if nobody recommends the site, people stop visiting the site and websites are hesitant to link to the site because of poor usability.
Crawler confusion can be considered to contribute direct impact on SEO. It’s a best practice to make a site easy to crawl and understand so anything that causes crawler confusion should be dealt with immediately.
Google can probably figure it out but hoping Google figures out how to crawl a site is not a best practice.
Have an expert on htaccess take a look at your rules to see if that’s the cause of the problem. Or else have a developer look at the code to see if there’s something there that’s generating the double forward slashes. Crawling with Screaming Frog can help pinpoint where the double forward slash is starting which in turn can provide a clue for what is causing that technical issue.
Watch the Google Office Hours hangout at the 5:46 minute mark of the video:
Featured Image by Shutterstock/Sklo Studio