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I own a Job Search site named www.conservationjobboard.com and have a concern about how the domain is viewed by search engines. The issue is that when the site was first designed, the default page was left as default.php, but the homepage was actually JobBoard.php. To handle this, the default.php page performed a redirect to the JobBoard.php file when www.conservationjobboard.com/ was requested.

The main problem resulted because the redirect was a temporary redirect causing search engines to index conservationjobboard.com/ and conservationjobboard.com/JobBoard.php as 2 separate pages. This has since been corrected to use the .htaccess file so that JobBoard.php is now the default file for the root directory eliminating the need for the redirect. Problem is that search engines still show both URL's in search results (one including JobBoard.php and one that ends with /).

Another potential problem is that some of my early backlinks are to conservationjobboard.com/JobBoard.php while the rest are to conservationjobboard.com

The 2 outstanding questions are as follows: 1. Is my domain still being penalized by search engines like Google for having duplicate homepage URL's? 2. Are all of the back links to my homepage being considered as the same now or is the total number of back links being split between the 2 different URL's?

If you think there are still issues with how we have this set-up, I was wondering if you could give me advice on what we should do differently.

Thanks.

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2 Answers

1) Make sure you use a 301 redirect when redirecting from default.php to JobBoard.php. This will tell the search engines your page has moved and to de-index the old page, associate it with the new one, and associate links to the old page with the new one.

2) Use the canonical URL <link> tag to let Google know that the JobBoard.php page is the main page and other other URLs that load it should be consider duplicates and not indexed

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it looks like he has / loading properly, so shouldn't he add tag as follows: <link rel="canonical" href="conservationjobboard.com/"; /> on his /JobBoard.php page, not the other way around? Same issue applies to the redirect. /JobBoard.php should 301 redirect to /, not the other way. So to answer his outstanding questions- 1) yes, you still have 2 urls for your homepage, which is bad. 2) your backlinks are split –  JeremyB Jan 13 '11 at 2:36
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Ideally search engines should not know about default.php or JobBoard.php but only conservationjobboard.com/ as the homepage. So what you ought to do is redirect both to the root domain, but that is more difficult technically (since you are displaying JobBoard anyway).

The next best thing is to use the canonical meta tag. On JobBoard.php add:

<link rel="canonical" href="http://www.conservationjobboard.com/">
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