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I was recently working on a site that had been upgraded to DNN 7 (7.0.4 to be exact). The web administrators had implemented a URL redirect rule using the IIS URL Rewrite Module which forced all urls to lowercase.
For those of you that may not be aware why one would want to implement something like this – it is often implemented to help combat duplicate content issues that may arise due to case differences in urls. For example, the following urls all resolve to the same page with the same content.
To a search engine, these are three distinct urls that could be indexed independently. Since they all point to the same page, you end up with duplicate content. You may be wondering how a search engine would even know these urls with different casing exist. Believe it or not, it could be occurring on your own site without you even being aware. For example, you may have a hyperlink on a page that points to /ThisIsMyPage.aspx. But you may have accidentally typed /THisIsMYPage.aspx. The search engine spider finds this link and follows it. It loads fine in your browser with a 200 (Success) code. It is very likely that this mixed case url is indexed in addition to /ThisIsMyPage.aspx. Now the search engine has 2 versions in their index - /ThisIsMyPage.aspx and THisIsMYPage.aspx.
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If you are using ASP.NET 3.5 SP1 or later, there is functionality available to properly handle 404 errors. I want to point out that this isn’t specific to DotNetNuke, but rather a feature provided in ASP.Net that provides an efficient way to handle 404 errors. Since I work quite a bit with DNN, I thought I would target this post to the DNN audience.
First, let’s look at a common configuration to handle errors and why it isn’t the best way to handle 404s. The below image shows a typical customErrors configuration in web.config.
Using this configuration all errors are handled by ‘TheErrorPage.aspx’. The problem with this is that ideally you want to return a 404 status code so the search engine can properly identify this as a 404 error and act accordingly. Using a tool such as Fiddler, you can log http(s) traffic and see the status codes returned. If you look at the image below, you see what happens when a non-existent page is requested using the customErrors configuration above.
I recently upgraded a staging site to DotNetNuke 6.0 from DotNetNuke 5.6.3. All in all things went very well but there were a few issues I encountered specific to the configuration of this particular site. I suspect these scenarios are not all that uncommon so I wanted to share them in this post in case anyone else encountered something similar.
At IMI Software we work intensively with DotNetNuke®. For those who may not be familiar with DNN®, DotNetNuke® is an open source project and the most widely adopted Web Content Management Platform for building web sites and web applications on Microsoft .NET. DotNetNuke® provides a number of features that make many basic yet essential SEO tasks a breeze. In this post I will highlight a few of those features, show where they are, how to use them and provide a basic understanding of the SEO importance of each.
IMI Software has launched the new website for DORCs
DORCs is a newly formed organization to change behavior through educating the public, advocating for enforcement and fighting for legislation. Keep the DORCs off the road.
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