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Re: Does changing index file extension hit search engine results?

  • Subject: Re: Does changing index file extension hit search engine results?
  • From: Roy Schestowitz <newsgroups@schestowitz.com>
  • Date: Fri, 05 Aug 2005 14:08:11 +0100
  • Followup-to: alt.www.webmaster,alt.internet.search-engines
  • Newsgroups: alt.www.webmaster, alt.internet.search-engines
  • Organization: schestowitz.com / Manchester University
  • References: <ckGIe.16675$Aw4.6049@newsfe5-win.ntli.net> <op.su084wdqm9g4qz-wnt@tbdata.com>
  • Reply-to: newsgroups@schestowitz.com
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William Tasso wrote:

> Writing in news:alt.www.webmaster
>  From the safety of the ntl Cablemodem News Service cafeteria
> James A <me@privacy.net> said:
>> Hi,
> How do you do?
>> I want to include some PHP in my index page, so am going to change it
>> from
>> index.htm to index.php. I'm wondering, since it took quite a few months
>> to
>> get decent positioning within Google, would that change cause a
>> downgrade of
>> the site's search engine position, since the original file was no longer
>> locatable?

The request for your index will be something along the lines of 'GET /'
meaning that there will be no notion of which file gets delivered. The
server will deliver whatever it is programmed to deliver. I think that
Apache gives precedence to PHP, then attempts index.html and then
index.htm. However, if the file itself changes (at the level of output, not
PHP source), its interpretation will probably vary.

> Or maybe it is only the domain that is indexed by Google for
>> the
>> index page rather than the file itself (in the search results, the link
>> is
>> to http://www.xyz.com/)? I wonder about the impact on searches by MSN
>> too.
> Several thoughts spring to mind ...
> o Cool URIs don't change: http://www.w3.org/Provider/Style/URI.html
> o Our friends over at ais-e are probably better placed to give more
> qualified response - group added
> o PHP probably indicates linux/apache.  I believe there is a control
> setting you can make that tells the server to parse .htm files for PHP
> o Google et al don't really understand anything more than a URI so if they
> spider your page as http://example.com and also as
> http://example.com/index.htm then one of these will (eventually) be
> dropped from the index because of duplicate content.

Have you got anything in your site which points to /index.html or
/index.htm? If so, change it, but keep the old index files alive (I think
PHP supersedes HTML). Remember that caching might cause crawlers to have a
notion of the index file that you wish to get rid of. Maybe use a
re-direction like index.html>index.php and/or index.htm>index.php? I don't
think it will be frowned upon by SE's.

> o The correct way to advise UAs of a changed URI is by sending a "301 -
> Moved Permanently" Header

Yes, but I heard (and seen) bad things about its impact in practice.


Roy S. Schestowitz

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