Jul 9 2007

Html vs Php – An seo benefit?

You’ve probably heard people say “Google can crawl any language” and they are right, well basically. Nearly any programming language can now be crawled by Google. Google can crawl flash and even javascript now. Thats pretty cool!
But the question is not whether or not they can crawl it but do they treat it the same? Are there pros and cons to using certain programming languages?

In this post I hope to show that just because Google can crawl a language does not mean they treat it the same. Thats right, using a certain programming language may have positive or negative effects. And not necessarily the programming language but how the language is used can also greatly effect your sites indexing and ranking.

There are many seo that still claim that the file extension doesn’t matter, now that Google can crawl even more languages than ever before webmasters are even less worried.

Most of us have heard of the phrase “search engine friendly” – It is used in a variety of ways and has many meanings from optimizing your meta tags(Google can crawl my meta tags now haha :P ) but generally when speaking of SEF(search engine friendly) we are thinking of making our pages easier for Google to crawl and index, correct?

Again many people have this idea that their pages must be SEF if they make it into the index. Afterall SEF means Google can crawl my pages… right? Not quite. Your pages may be indexed but not taking advantage of their full potential.

A little while back we decided to start an seo forums for our members to participate, learn more about seo, give their knowledge and help users out with their sites. Well anyways the forum was setup with dynamic php urls such as: /showthread.php?t=204881

We know from experience in helping other webmasters with their sites that these are not the best form of urls to use so we installed a mod which turned them into html urls something like this: google-discussion-f8.html – After installing the mod we bagan to see an increase in both indexed pages and searches which ended in a forum page result. This was no surprise to me as I have seen it many times before however I was thinking it would take alot longer to move over to the new urls in the index. It is still in the process but most of the urls are now indexed and are ranking for phrases they didn’t previously.

If you have a forum, content management system, blog or other forum of software that allows for modding it is a must that you change your linking structure to html links. You will see a great benefit from it. Google can and does index the php files but they are not treated the same as html for some reason.

I recommend mod rewriting all your dynamic files to html, if you need help with this try digitalpoint forums or post in our forums and we will see if we can help you.

We run and manage some e-commerce sites and some of these have been running for 8-9 years… we have since changed all the urls to static html instead of that long dynamic jibberish. We have seen a much higher increase in indexing and ranking of these pages since mod rewriting them.

If you do not want your e-commerce pages indexed the way to do that is NOT by using dynamic urls. Use the robots.txt file to tell Google to stay out.

It is very important you make your sites SEF by mod rewriting dynamic urls, creating sitemaps(html sitemaps linked to from every page on your site) and 301ing old pages to new. But make sure if you are changing your url structure that your old files are 301ed to your new files. For further help with this please see the forums.

Copyright © 2007, 1st-rankings Co.
This article may NOT be redistributed in any way, shape or form. If you would like to link to the article we would appreciate it.

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9 Comments on this post


  1. Brian Harris said:

    In your example above, have you compared writing url’s from showthread.php?t=204881 to google-discussion-f8.html vs google-discussion-f8.php

    I think its a no brainer that google gives hiring ranking to static looking urls vs dyanmic query string. What would be interesting would be to see the difference between .php and .html file extensions. It’s my assumption that there isn’t any.

    July 9th, 2007 at 4:39 pm
  2. visio said:

    I have heard rumors but never had evidence that there would be a difference. My guess would be that they would be treated basically the same.
    I think the problem lies in the ? and = parameters of the php url.

    But I will put that on my experiment list and work on testing that to see if there is a difference. Not quite sure how to do it though….

    July 9th, 2007 at 5:01 pm
  3. Best_optimized said:

    I don’t think extension has anything to do with rankings but query strings do.

    July 9th, 2007 at 5:21 pm
  4. Kok internet marketing said:

    As brian correctly states you have not stated or investigated html vs php (like you suggest in the title of your post), but simply compared dynamic vs permanent links. it is well known that permanent links are rated better, however any differences in the threatment of php and html are unlikely as both can be easily altered by just minor settings on your webserver.

    July 9th, 2007 at 9:05 pm
  5. Sourav said:

    in this industry, you will find many people with varied vision……

    I am not agreeing with your example…I can give you hundreds of example – where sites with difficult ulrs are doing exceptionally well on all SE’s…….the urls is all about making things easier for the users….

    And just one more question…..why you have configured your comments section – like this…..its coming everying thing in caps….

    I think you should change it…that a suggestion….

    July 11th, 2007 at 8:02 am
  6. visio said:

    Somehow I find simple static html the easiest for my users especially when they want to remember them. And there is solid proof that dynamic urls do not perform as well as static, they get crawled, indexed and even perform very well but not as well as they could. Believe me I have seen it.

    July 11th, 2007 at 11:56 am
  7. Best_optimized said:

    SOURAV, here is an example. seomoz traffic from search engines went way up since they changed their urls. before they changed their urls they rarely came up in the search engines.

    July 11th, 2007 at 6:24 pm
  8. eric said:

    .html and .php are treated the same by Google according to Google, and supposedly even dynamic URL’s. But….

    Users DO look at the URL before they click and an HTML extension is usually the most inviting. Possibly a /directory/ is just as good, especially if the URL sting contains anything that makes them say “yeah, that’s what I want!” or “Oooh, I wonder what that’s all about?”

    (Tons of marketing research has been done on headlines, but someday I’d love to see an extension of that; an experiment or study of leaving headlines and descriptions alone, and experimenting just with URL strings that pull, especially anything that pulls universally and does not need to match a search query to work)

    Not only do static URL’s translate to user clicks, but there’s more than Google out there, and other engines may not be as good at dynamic URL indexing as Google brags to be. Eventually traffic can convert to natural links, and people tend to be more willing to link to a static looking URL. They want to know it will still be there tomorrow if they are going to bother to link to it.

    So even if Google treated them exactly the same, static is still better IMO.

    June 10th, 2009 at 7:04 pm
  9. drywall stilts said:

    I think its a no brainer that google gives hiring ranking to static looking urls vs dyanmic query string. What would be interesting would be to see the difference between .php and .html file extensions.

    January 4th, 2012 at 4:49 am


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