Domain ? QueryString

by Mike Levin SEO & Datamaster, 07/12/2005

After more than a year, I have finally begun to update www.mike-levin.com, proper. I started by just blogging into the /blog subdirectory. I had to choose between Blogger and TypePad. I actually signed up for both (SEO and the City). But TypePad requires you to host your site at their location. I could have done this, and used a 3rd level domain or cname entry (an alias) to set it up on blog.mike-levin.com. But the blogging info is so similar to the information I have on the whole rest of my site, that I really want to focus as much PR as possible onto the single www domain. I may even match the look between the two areas, and make it indistinguishable whether you’re in the Blogger-created area or my custom content management system area. I ended up choosing Blogger because, even though it lacks TrackBack (which I am confident they will eventually natively ad), I wanted to plug it all into a subdirectory of an existing site without changing hosts.

OK, so once I revisited my site, I decided to deprecate AltaVista and AllTheWeb to horary mention on my popular keyword bookmarking homepage. I sometimes think about replacing that homepage with my blog, but many people use it to bookmark and re-search their benchmark terms. It’s much easier than visiting each site separately. And you see things by examining the results page that you just can’t pick up from reporting tools.

But I noticed a problem that’s worth mentioning. New bookmarks that were being created were broken. The question mark was being replaced by the encoded equivalent %3F. So, instead of visiting http://www.mike-levin.com?multimedia%20software (I optimized Scala), you were hitting http://www.mike-levin.com%3Fmultimedia%20software, which is of course broken. The JavaScript that was producing this bookmark looked like this…

window.external.AddFavorite(‘http://www.mike-levin.com?’ + escape(document.copier.Data.value), ‘Keyword Check (‘ + document.copier.Data.value + ‘)’);

There’s no encoding of the question mark! It had worked for many, many years. Now, it was broken. I surmised that it must be a result of a change in the way the browser is creating the bookmark, and with my the benefit of my querystring + bookmark experience recently in my mind, I decided to remove ambiguity about where the domain ended and the querystring began. I simply added a forwardslash, so it looked like this…

window.external.AddFavorite(‘http://www.mike-levin.com/?’ + escape(document.copier.Data.value), ‘Keyword Check (‘ + document.copier.Data.value + ‘)’);

Now, the bookmarks were being created correctly, with no encoding. The bookmarks are too…

http://www.mike-levin.com/?multimedia%20software

…instead of to…

http://www.mike-levin.com?multimedia%20software

Arguably, this still leaves some ambiguity, and I should really do…

http://www.mike-levin.com/index.html?q=multimedia%20software …but I’m going for the shortest possible URLs.