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As far as I understand, you should have a single URL to access a given page on a website to prevent duplicate issues. With this in mind I have setup IIS7 Rewrite to point my friendly URLs to my .aspx pages. e.g. /category/widgets/ has a rewrite to /category.aspx?id=widgets

Should I allow either of these URLs to resolve my web page, or should I also 301 redirect /category.aspx?id=widgets to /category/widgets/ so that there is only a single URL that resolves the page?

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Dec 22 '11 at 5:46

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

What is a 301 rewrite? If you're rewriting the URL, then it shouldn't be sending a 301 redirect response. The rewriting should happen internally with the client simply receiving a 200 OK response with the contents. – Lèse majesté Dec 22 '11 at 6:33
Yes, you're right. I've edited the question accordingly. – AlexCambridgeUK Dec 22 '11 at 6:59
Thanks for fixing that. I was just worried that you might create a redirect loop if you have two 301 redirects pointing to each other. – Lèse majesté Dec 22 '11 at 7:01
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Yes, you should 301 redirect /category.aspx?id=widgets to /category/widgets/ so that there is only a single URL that resolves the page.

Make sure that you don't accidentally create a redirect loop.

The alternate way is to use the rel="canonical" meta-tag in your code, but as you are using IIS7 the redirect should be simpler to implement.

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As an alternative to the 301 redirect, would I be better returning a 404 response to /category.aspx?id=widgets? – AlexCambridgeUK Jan 10 '12 at 11:48
No - your original pages may have links pointing to them. Returning a 404 will cause any reputation built up to be lost. Pass the reputation along by redirecting with a 301. – Ciaran Jan 11 '12 at 15:29

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