I was wondering which of this two possibilities may be better for SEO.

Let's take The Sitemap Paradox as an example.

What would you reccommend:


which actually is:


or would you recommend (SOMETHING LIKE):


I know the stack exchange sites have an excellent SEO, but could you point to some documentation about this topic in particular?

Thanks in advance.

  • I don't think it makes a difference anymore nowadays. Even if it does make a difference, it will be so small in comparison to other SEO aspects I doubt it's worth worrying about at all. Dec 6, 2010 at 19:09
  • @Litso any documentation pointing to that? I agree to you it will not be crucial now a days!
    – Trufa
    Dec 6, 2010 at 19:14
  • 1
  • @Farseeker, thanks! but its not the same thing though, right?
    – Trufa
    Dec 6, 2010 at 20:43
  • @Trufa - I think the point was that just as long as you're consistant it doesn't matter which version you choose. Dec 6, 2010 at 20:44

1 Answer 1


This is pretty much a duplicate question, but I think I should help clear some things up. The three URLs you mention are not equivalent; they are different URLs. There is no file index.asp located in the folder /questions/4803/the-sitemap-paradox/ - in fact there is no folder at all!

The thing you need to remember is that URLs do not necessarily correspond to absolute file/folder names on the server. On the most basic configuration they do, but most sites nowadays use rewrites to remove file extensions and improve SEO with keywords.

In the case of Pro Webmasters, the server sees a request for that URL, then looks up the ID in the database and displays the content. For example it could pass the variables questions and 6392 to a script, say /index.asp that does that processing. (On all the Stack Exchange sites, the part after the question ID is completely ignored, you can change it to anything and the same question will load.)

Finally, to answer your actual question: it doesn't really matter. Create URLs that are nice for users - this means short and descriptive URLs where possible. When you look at the URL for this page you can instantly see what to expect: a webmaster question about whether folders or filenames are better for SEO.


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