Posted: April 5th, 2008
It’s taken awhile, but Google has finally merged the index page with the root page of a domain as long as the content was the same. That is, Google now interprets www.abc.com and its counterpart www.abc.com/index.html to be one page, rather than two separate pages. For you PageRank fanatics, this does implicitly mean that PageRank won’t be split amongst the two pages.
The merging could be the result of the duplicate content filter going to work, but for now there hasn’t been any official comment on the matter.
Inadvertently creating duplicate content through the naming structure of a website has always been an issue, and SEOs have had to carefully handle these situations with whatever they might have in their toolkit. Apache mod_rewrites come into play here, alongside careful inspections of how you link to your internal pages.
So, I don’t have to worry about all of this anymore, right? Wrong.
Don’t delete that .htaccess file just yet! Keep in mind that Google has once merged www.randomdomain.com and randomdomain.com but then later decided to separate them, and that this index/root grouping could be only temporary as well.
*If you aren’t redirecting your domain’s www <-> non-www versions through an .htaccess file, you can still nudge Google to see them as the same through Webmaster Tools.*