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A client of mine has a product ending with a plus-sign (e.g. Google+) and would like the webpage of this product to have an URL that is human-readable (i.e. an URL that doesn't contain %2B).

Since our projects use the following .htaccess RewriteRule RewriteRule ^(.*)$ index.php?$1 it is possible to use an urlencoded space in an URL like that.

However, while the url would read like /google+, the actual meaning of the URL would be /google[space]. (The markup won't let me place a real space there.)

Now my concern is that this would have disadvantages for SEO. Is this concern valid and/or are there other culprits to this approach?

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I think the fact that Google doesn't do that on their own site is evidence as to how well search engines will handle this. It is probably best to take their lead and just go with a simple plus.sitename.com sub domain. – krowe Sep 18 '13 at 4:48
@krowe well, Google has quite a unique stand, when it comes to SEO optimization, I'd say. – Boldewyn Dec 10 '13 at 9:03
up vote 3 down vote accepted

I found an example of a website which uses this principle. (And I found it through Google.)

When I searched for U+0060 the following link http://codepoints.net/U+0060 appeared on the first page (second result for me). I assume there aren't any huge disadvantage at least.

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I'm the author of codepoints.net. And as such I can tell, that + in URLs are beasts to handle correctly. That's because of the notoriously bad decision back in times to use + for quoting spaces. If you want a +, you should always try to escape it to %2B. In my case, I accept both but re-direct with 301 for the unescaped +/space case. Since it's unique for me, I have no negative SEO impact doing so. – Boldewyn Dec 10 '13 at 9:02

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