The impact of web page files extensions

What should I use: .php, .asp, .html or .htm.
The answer is simple: it doesn’t matter at all !!!

I hear people talking about the preferred file extension to a website pages. Which extension has the most impact on the page ranking? If you are a newbie you will find it hard to believe, but this kind of talks are usually made by those who try to create a market. They try to convince you that there is a different and you should listen to their advice unless you don’t want your website to get a high ranking. And… to hear all about it you should purchase their e-book to get much deeper about the differences.

Let’s see how I can save you some time and money.

Before talking about your website ranking let’s see what each of those files represents:
html and htm are the extensions of an html file. Usually people consider this extension as a static html file. This assumption is not necessarily correct. I will explain this point later on. Php and Asp are extension of server-side HTML embedded scripting language. Each file extension is been handled by a different engine. It’s very important to underhand this point because it will affect on your website deployment. For example most of the Linux servers based hosting providers do not support Asp scripting.

Both engines (PHP and ASP) generate html format in spite of the differences with their file extension. Your browser was designed to deal with html format no matter how they were generated.

When a search engine crawl your website pages, Php, Asp or html file extension, he is “reading” html in the same way as your browser does.

In the old days, search engines gave a high score to pages with html file extension because back then you knew for sure that those are static web pages. A different score was given mainly because webmasters used server-side HTML embedded scripting language to generate pages dynamically. They wanted to fake a situation like their website contains lots of web pages. Back than it was a way to get a high ranking to your website.

As technology moves on, the apache web server mod_rewrite module was released. At that point the rules have been changed. With the mod_rewrite model you can rewrite each URL on your website to a different URL. For example, www.yourdomain.com/index.php?productid=4837 can be rewrite to www.yourdomain.com/sony-playstation.html . Meaning: if a visitor will visit both of the URLs he will see the same content. Using this technique you can generate static like web pages and expose only them.

Search engines like Google had to fight back. They did it very simple. The lower the score of what could be a static page.

What’s good about mod_rewrite module is that it gives you the ability to structure URLs with meaningful keywords. It looks better than a URL with variety of parameters and it might help with the page quality score. Based on my experience the added value of this technique is very small if any at all. Let’s say that the title tag of each web page has much more effective SEO contribution.

A tip: The most important SEO effort that you can do is a good content to your visitors. If they like what they see on your website they will come back and might even tell about to their friends. It’s the most reliable way to make your website grew. Those issues are on the far edge of the SEO efforts you should bother yourself with.

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