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I have a profile page with a URL like so:

localhost/profile.php/?username=Bob

I was wondering, if I had a separate <title> which changed according to the username, would they produce separate pages in the google search results? How do I tell Google to only use the username string or does it search within the title?

On a similar note, how would I create a separate page with the username like so:

localhost/bob

instead of a query string like facebook does. Do that make a new file for each user?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

When you have a unique query string you have a new page as far as Google is concerned. So localhost/profile.php/?username=Bob and localhost/profile.php/?username=John are two different page and will be treated as such. The same applies to localhost/bob and localhost/john as the format of the URL (subdirectories vs query strings) does not mater. Each will be evaluated as a normal page.

This means if the only content that is going to vary is the username displayed on the page, you will need to use canonical URLs to tell Google the content is the same but there is a minor variation to each page and which URL/page is to be considered the "master" page. This also applies if the query string is not going to make any changes to the content on the page.

There are lots of ways to achieve a URL without having a querystring. This article is old and still 100% relevant as it explains four ways to do this.

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Thanks, this answer was very concise and easy to understand! –  John Smith Oct 18 '13 at 20:07
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