Does Adding a Suffix to My URLs Affect My SEO?

A popular topic on the Joomla forum is whether adding a suffix to a URL will affect the rankings in the search engines. My guess would be that the influence of this will be marginal to nonexistent. On the web several arguments are given on the issue of whether to use a suffix or not. Considering the ones listed below I would advise to: not use suffixes in URLs.

Do NOT use “Add suffix to URLs”

  • In a post on his blog Matt Cutts has stated Google can crawl files with pretty much any suffix as long as is not for example .exe or .dll.
  • In the article “cool URIs don’t change” the W3C committee argued that the file extension should be removed from a URL. The reason for removing this file extension is that it could be possible that in 20 years nobody will use .html or .php anymore. They mentioned that by using for example mod_rewrite you can have full control over your (nonexistent) extensions, and therefore you should leave them out. Since Joomla handles the rewriting for you, this is one less matter you have to worry about.
  • Considering the ease with which suffixes can be changed, it is very unlikely that Google will give improved rankings to files containing a suffix such as .html. The days in which .html pages were guaranteed to be static are over.
  • If you do decide to use a suffix on your files and you mistakenly choose one that cannot be read by the search engines, you’ve got yourself a bug that’s very difficult to find.

Do use “Add suffix to URLs”

  • Some argue that search engines might mistake a file without a suffix for an empty directory. In my opinion there are so many great websites who use URLs without an extension that it would be foolish for search engines to do so.
  • Another argument is that URLs containing a suffix look more conventional compared to URLs that don’t. Considering that I personally think that most Internet users don’t even know where the .html, .php or .whatever stands for, this shouldn’t be much of a problem.

What suffix to use?

Another interesting point is the suffix to use when you decide to use one at all. Some people are even wondering whether a .htm page will do better than a .html page. In a comment taken from the blog post referenced above, Matt Cutts confirmed that there is no difference:

Matt Cutts @

“But there should be some differences between .html and .php, right?”

Bernd, I’d contend that there shouldn’t. Whether a page is dynamic or not isn’t really indicated by the extension. Plenty of “.html” pages are actually dynamic or generated on-the-fly by the server, for example.”

If, however, you are still interested in changing the suffix of your Joomla, a tutorial to do this can be found in the docs about SEO on joomla.org.

I would love to hear if anyone has done research to whether using a suffix or not it influences search engine rankings.

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