HTML extension vs PHP, ASP, SHTML, PHTML, etc

I have been curious, whether a HTML extension (or HTM extension for that matter) would do as well in a search engine as compared with extension that ended up in PHP, ASP, SHTML, PHTML, etc, etc. Of course each extension has its own usefulness.

HTML was started pretty long ago for use with web browsing. HTML meaning Hyper Text Markup Language or HTML in short as a standard means of encoding a file to display text and graphic on your browser. It has since come a long way with many changes to its standards, though those old web pages should still work in the new modern browsers despite having HTML code that may be deprecated.

There was also forum thread discussing whether HTML will have a better standing than HTM extension. And there was more too discussing whether HTML extension would be superior in search engine than web pages that uses extension like PHP, ASP, SHTML, PHTML, JSP, CGI, etc, etc.

I was curious to know how the other extension would fare against pages ending with HTML extension. This came about because I was going to build a website using mostly PHP extension. Why didn’t I just go for the most commonly used HTML extension or its close cousin the HTM extension?

Basically if you are just making simple web pages, HTML extension would just be fine. But in a web page layout, there are common section where the same web elements will be shown again and again such as navigator bars, headers and footers which stretch across site wide when you make your website. If you need to make some changes to any of these common elements and if you got hundreds if not thousands of web pages, you wouldn’t be able to institute any changes because there would be way too many web pages to update. And even if you have say 30-50 web pages, that is still too many web pages to update one by one.

So that’s where ASP, SHTML, PHP, PHTML comes into the picture. You can actually break up your web page into sections and save them into separate files that get included into each of the web page when you build your website. That way when you tweak a section here or there or need to do some modification to a page layout, you could easily do so.

Of course the very best way is to use CMS software where you can actually change the template and that would easily just change the entire look and feel of your website. But that is not my purpose here to use SQL script based CMS software to run a web site. I wanted something simpler without all the overheads of running subroutines before a web page is spewed out to the user who wanted to browse a page. I didn’t want to contend with constant upgrade of the script installation to plug up some bugs that was discovered. I just wanted something simple.

Sure I could use JavaScript to make the menus and navigator bars, but that won’t go well with SE crawlers and robots. They can’t read JavaScript. So the best way is to use server side installs. And they do the job much better and the links and text could be seen by SE.

The question in point now is whether a file with say PHP, PHTML, SHTML, ASP extension would fare less in a search engine? I seem to find that those pages of mine that ended up with them seem to be less trafficked in the traffic analytics which seem to support the reasoning.

However, digging it in further, my HTML pages are not really HTML pages at all but part of a CMS program that can create that extension in the URL when a request is made for a particular file. In addition, the CMS has a pinging routine so that whenever a web page is posted, the pinging routine will alert the various search engines and blog sites about your new post, which would mean a robot would soon be coming around to sniff your page out for evaluation and inclusion into their directory.

Whereas, my PHP, PHTML, SHTML, ASP pages are not submitted to the pinging services at all. Of course I could submit in manually. There are many pinging services around that I could use to do that. However that’s an extra step to do when creating pages.

Another point is that CMS software has auto linking function by way of tags and categories. So there is more than one way for your web page to be found. If I were to build up a web page one-by-one manually, I need to make the incoming links manually. So that could also be contributing to the less prominence of such pages with these extensions.

One of the biggest advantages when using CMS software like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, etc, is that they have plugin routines that just do things for you automatically when you make a post. Things like sitemap, pinging, tags, etc all contribute in giving prominence to your post and thus you will find the web traffic comes along pretty fast. But why don’t I use such CMS software, well I do, but not for every website. Because of the constant need to maintain it, to update it to the latest version so that no crazy hacker, web spammers and script kiddies would come around and decides to deface your website and doing SQL injection thereby destroying your web site and your all your hard work. It would be very serious indeed if the web site is also where your livelihood comes from.

What about those web pages that have query strings? In fact those URL with all those squiggly things like question marks (?), equal signs (=) and amper signs (&) are pretty much frown upon by search engines. That’s why the newer CMS has clean URLs that remove such query strings for better standing with the search engines.

So in the end after going through the various forums and discussion, it seems the consensus was that HTML extension (or HTM for that matter) is not any more better than web pages that uses PHP, PHTML, SHTML, ASP, etc extension. Since there are people in the forum who has web pages that do well using the PHP, PHTML, SHTML, ASP extension.

I guess in the end what counts is whether the content or information that is posted is useful for the general masses, and if it is really, really useful, you would definitely get good web traffic regardless of the web extension being used when you make your web site.

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