Do topic links need to redirect to the canonical URL?

There were two recent discussions around issues related to topic links redirecting when the topic title in the URL didn’t completely match the expected value ([1], [2]). Then when I was on Amazon I realized that they also allow for fuzzy titles, but they don’t redirect. For example, the following pages all display the same content, without doing a redirect.

This got me wondering why Discourse does redirects at all, since based on the two issues mentioned above it seems like not doing redirects could avoid some headaches. Is there a reason (technical or otherwise) that the non-matching URLs are handled via redirects instead of serving the same content regardless of the title in the URL?

Note that each page has

<link rel="canonical" href="" />

This is the correct URL. I can’t speak for Amazon, but it is vastly more correct to get everyone on the same URL, and Google heavily penalizes sites for duplicate content as it is confusing to users. It’s possible Amazon gets a pass here because they are so large.

Beyond that you would need to direct your question to Amazon, not us.

Ah, search engine indexing does seem like a big deal. That never even crossed my mind. I was just doing some reading on rel="canonical" since I’d never seen that before, and it certainly is interesting. It seems like this is a valid “workaround” of sorts if you can’t / don’t want to redirect, so maybe that’s why Amazon doesn’t get penalized much (besides their size).

For Discourse, I imagine it could be difficult to use effectively (assuming you even wanted to) since each post has its own URL and theoretically should be separately indexed.

Anyway, thanks for the explanation. :slight_smile:

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