A forward slash (“/”) that appears at the end of a URL, such as domain.com/ or domain.com/page/, is known as a trailing slash.
It is typically used to distinguish a file that does not contain a trailing slash from a directory that contains one.
On the other hand, these are guidelines, not requirements.Previously, a file did not have a trailing slash while a folder did.
A folder would indicate that there were additional files, and an index file (index.html, index.php, etc.) would typically be present. where the page’s content would come from when it loads.
Therefore, although domain.com/page/index.html would be displayed to users, the content would originate from there.
You would have the file name without the trailing slash when dealing with individual files.Nowadays, most systems’ URLs do not point to files.
A record in a database is the URL. Your server’s files are not even hosted by serverless systems.It’s possible to treat different URL structures differently.
Whether or not to use a trailing slash is largely a matter of personal preference. Let’s examine some typical scenarios.It doesn’t matter if the domain name ends with a trailing slash: domain.com = domain.com/
These URLs are treated the same regardless of which version you use.In addition to the trailing slash immediately following the root domain, all other trailing slashes will be treated as distinct URLs, including domain.com/page and domain.com/page/.
Adding a trailing slash to a file, such as.html,.php,.js,.css,.pdf,.jpg, etc., usually results in the following: The file won’t load.
This is due to the fact that the majority of systems will assume the file is a folder, and since there is nothing after this path, a 404 page will typically be returned.
Let’s now examine the effect on SEO.
SEO and trailing slashes You might want to make different choices based on how your systems operate.
A few typical scenarios you might encounter are listed below.As previously stated, if your content can be seen on both the trailing slash version and the non-trailing slash version of pages, the pages can be treated as distinct URLs.
The same content is displayed on URLs with and without trailing slashes. The usual concern in this situation is that different versions’ content will result in duplicate content.
This shouldn’t be a problem in most cases because a canonical tag probably will specify a preferred version.
Even in the absence of that, Google will typically select a preferred version for you in which the signals will be consolidated.
You can compel the URLs to your favored adaptation in the event that you need.
Regardless of whether you use a trailing slash, you should check for redirects, sitemaps, internal links, canonical tags, and other canonicalization signals.
indicate the version that you want indexed.When two systems share the same folder structure or when using certain A/B testing software, you may end up with a situation in which the version of a URL with and without the trailing slash shows completely different content.
This can happen when the trailing slash is present. In these situations, the ideal strategy would be to select one version to index and display to users, then to redirect the other version to it.
Hreflang More complicated setups involving hreflang may present challenges. The indexed version of the pages should be the destination of hreflang links.
When Google indexes a page, a canonical tag may point to a version of the page with a trailing slash, but hreflang tags may not be respected if they point to a version of the page without a trailing slash.
When deciding whether or not to use a trailing slash, the impact on reporting should be taken into consideration. You can, for instance, set up a domain or URL prefix property in Google Search Console.
When setting up a URL prefix property (like domain/folder), Google will still add a trailing slash if you don’t include one. Because domain.com/folder/ (with the trailing slash) is a level higher, all visits to domain.com/folder (without the trailing trash) will not be reported.
If your main pages do not contain the slash, Google Analytics (GA) encounters the same issue when attempting to perform a content drilldown by folder. Both the slash- and non-slash-encoded versions of your URLs that work may be reported to GA.
You can add a channel as displayed beneath to drive following cuts on the URLs in your examination reports if you have any desire to combine the information.