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Does Google search beyond the ? or # characters in a URL, example:

http://mysite.com/support/general-questions/what-are-the-standard-features-and-functionality?node=node3_50346

Would I be better off with just the SEF URL. Trouble is my CMS adds the item IDs. Would I get greater rankings if it appeared like this:

http://mysite.com/support/general-questions/what-are-the-standard-features-and-functionality

Many thanks

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2 Answers

As stated in the specification Google adopted here:

Traditionally, hash fragments (that is, everything after # in the URL) have been used to indicate one portion of a static HTML document. ...hash fragments are not part of HTTP requests (and as a result they are not sent to the server)

Since hash fragments are used to identify a portion of HTML documents for client-side applications (e.g., browsers), the Googlebot ignores them by default, as covered here. Search engines normalize URLs with fragments (i.e., remove fragments) to reduce indexing duplicate content, since the entire page is returned for each URL containing them.

Although Google recommends to reduce URL parameters after the ?, you can certainly use URLs with them.

Using clean URLs (aka., "SEO-friendly URLs") like your last URL without the query string, is often done for SEO-purposes and to improve a URL's human-readability; that is when displayed as a link in your search engine results or elsewhere, users will be more clear as to where they'll be sent to. Consequently, it's advisable to use them when possible.

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Google will read and can index URLs with these characters in, although not all web crawlers can.

However Google do recommend against using parameters in URLs for usability issues.

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