SEO

URL Capitalization and SEO: How Much Does It Matter?

Many people are really surprised to learn that URLs are actually case sensitive (unlike the actual domain name). Simply put, while it doesn’t really matter how you spell your domain name (domainname.com or DomainName.com or DOMAINNAME.com), it DOES make a huge difference how you spell your URLs (domainname.com/page1 or domainname.com/Page1).

Let’s say, you have started promoting capitalized version (domainname.com/Page1) because you think it looks prettier and is better to remember. Let me explain what may happen (I guess a table is better to explain this because you can always use it as a cheatsheet):

  domainname.com/page1 domainname.com/Page1
Your site is hosted on a Windows-based server
Header response when requested either of the two 200 200
Google’s reaction Both URLs will be indexed and ranked. Obviously, this will cause some duplicate content issues but Google will most obviously be able to figure that out (by choosing one of them). What’s more important is that you are wasting plenty of link juice spreading it between the two versions.
Your site is hosted on a Linux / Unix-based server
Header response when requested either of the two 200 404
Google’s reaction Google will try to index both but will drop the 404-one. Again, you are wasting your link juice in this situation. What’s also important, you confuse your visitors by sending them to the non-existent page.

So what’s the best way to handle the problem?

  • While most SEOs will recommend sticking to only one version, I recommend to always choose lowercase pattern (just because there will always be people who will link to a more traditional, plain-text version);
  • If for some reason you start seeing URLs with capital letters get into index (someone linked to it or you changed your content management system and it capitalized some URLs), use 301-redirect to let people, search crawlers and links go to non-capitalized URLs to avoid any problems.
 URL Capitalization and SEO: How Much Does It Matter?
Ann Smarty is the blogger and community manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas. Ann's expertise in blogging and tools serve as a base for her writing, tutorials and her guest blogging project, MyBlogGuest.com.
 URL Capitalization and SEO: How Much Does It Matter?

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16 thoughts on “URL Capitalization and SEO: How Much Does It Matter?

  1. Ann,
    Thank you so much for this post. I didn’t know it mattered. Just yesterday I was on a forum where someone mentioned to use lower case but I didn’t understand why. The way you put it makes so much since. I have done exactly what you talk about. My site at moneyminingmoves.com is the perfect example because I thought it looked better this way MoneyMiningMoves.com with the ms capatilized so they would stand out. I learn something new everyday. Thank you so much.
    Sincerely Gail J Richardson

  2. Ann – this is an excellent piece for majority who do not have technical background and don’t know the difference between Windows and Linux Hosting.

    I am sure after reading this post they would get the fundamental knowledge and help them to choose effective names for thier site and web pages!

  3. Ann – thanks as I was unaware that urls are case sensitive. I use lower case and always have but this is a great post for me to link to!

    Thanks again!

  4. As a convention it is better to stick to lowercase. people who work with windows platform are more prone to the error. Those working on Linux platform know from birth (exaggerating) the simple difference between an ‘a’ and an ‘A’. But not many people know about the SEO limitations of case changes while linking. Thanks for Sharing

  5. Another good post Ann.

    For me, lower cases are also good than the capital ones.

    A good insight and effort of writing about this.You’re such a genius.

    Thanks Ann.

  6. Hey Ann ,I was sock after read your very use full articles about URL Capitalization and SEO and i start work for my seo meerut blog URL and now i have done.
    I want to Thank you for post use full info here.

  7. Confusion, confusion!!

    Ann told us: “URLs are actually case sensitive (unlike the actual domain name)”

    Gail your site moneyminingmoves.com is the perfect example that needs to look better like: MoneyMiningMoves.com with the ms capitalized so they would stand out and very easy to read and remember!

    You are ADVICED to keep your folder names and file names lower case.
    e.g. http://www.MoneyMiningMoves.com/category/email-marketing/
    (in the Web browser it all will be displayed lower case)

    I hope this clear it up a bit.

    Greeting Joop

  8. Hey Ann ,I have read your post about URL Capitalization and SEO and i start work for my seo meerut blog URL and now i have done.Thanks again.
    I want to Thank you for post use full info here.I hope this clear it up a bit.

  9. URL casing is largely irrelevant with the introduction of the canonicalization tags. In a Windows/IIS-based system, it’s not a matter of using lower-case or pascal case: whichever you chose, people can still link to your posts using different casing creating different URLs that resolve to the same page. The simplest remedy, Windows or Unix, is to use whatever case you like but employ canonicalization tags correctly.

  10. A minor clarification…

    “…URLs are actually case sensitive (unlike the actual domain name).”

    This is a little like saying that “human bodies are actually not invulnerable (unlike the actual head).” (Well, okay, perhaps not as dramatic.)

    The domain name is part of the URL. (E.g., “/page1″ is not itself a URL; “http://domainname.com/page1″ is a URL.) the domain name portion of the URL is not case-sensitive; the path portion of the URL is.

    Minor quibble, perhaps, but one that seems to be a source of frequent misunderstandings, specifically concerning case-sensitivity of the a URL string.

    Aside from that, nice summary. :-)

  11. A minor clarification…

    “…URLs are actually case sensitive (unlike the actual domain name).”

    This is a little like saying that “human bodies are actually not invulnerable (unlike the actual head).” (Well, okay, perhaps not as dramatic.)

    The domain name is part of the URL. (E.g., “/page1″ is not itself a URL; “http://domainname.com/page1″ is a URL.) the domain name portion of the URL is not case-sensitive; the path portion of the URL is.

    Minor quibble, perhaps, but one that seems to be a source of frequent misunderstandings, specifically concerning case-sensitivity of the a URL string.

    Aside from that, nice summary. :-)