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I'm working with a site that uses slightly different URLs for the same content. The sitemap lists the pages as:

www.website.com/webpage.html

If you surf through the site the same page is found at:

www.website.com/webpage

Without the .html ending.

This could get fixed using canonical tags, but is it worth the effort when two URLs are that similar? Would a search engine consider them two different pages?

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2 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Those will absolutely be considered two different pages. Just one character is all it takes to make two URLs different. Canonical URLs are commonly used for different query strings that product the same content but file extension is no different. Definitely use canonical URLs for pages like that.

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@JMC indicated that he is using canonical tags, if that's the case, then Google should see it as one page, no? –  casperOne May 23 '11 at 18:38
    
@casperOne, the way I read it they were wondering if it was necessary to use canonical URLs for two URLs that are the same except for the file extension. –  John Conde May 23 '11 at 18:39
    
Yes, you are correct. Was wondering if it's worthwhile to use canonical when the file extension is the only difference. Thanks for the quick response. –  JMC May 23 '11 at 18:45
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If you have the proper canonical page link on the page, then search engines shouldn't treat the pages different.

However, from a SEO perspective, there's no definitive answer one way or another (Google "seo ranking file extension" to see what I mean)

What you should be concerned about, however, is that cool URIs don't change and that most people have an easier time with remembering pages without extensions than they do ones with extensions (do you really want people trying to remember if it's .asp/.aspx or .htm/.html based on your platform?).

Additionally, there's a point to be made about the extensions themselves, that they tie the link to the implementation of what's serving up the link (and that this is an implementation detail which is not specific to the content of the page itself).

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The second part of your answer is interesting. I'll vote +1 if you can provide a credible link to information about search engines giving more relevance to URLs without file extensions. Thanks –  JMC May 23 '11 at 18:48
    
@JMC & @John Conde: I seemed to remember it from a long time ago, but looking around, I am definitely not able to substantiate, so I've removed the claim. I've added some other considerations when using extensions which pertain more to subjective concerns rather than concrete SEO practices. –  casperOne May 23 '11 at 19:58
    
Thanks for updating your answer with useful information. +1 –  JMC May 23 '11 at 20:05
    
@JMC: NP, just trying to help =) –  casperOne May 23 '11 at 20:10
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