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  1. #1
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    Quick URL Structure question

    hello I'm developing a site and was wondering what is the best way to structure my URL?

    say www.xyz.com is the website im developing and I want to point it to a certain car

    http://www.xyz.com/dodge/grand-carav...d-caravan.html

    or

    www.xyz.com/dodge/grand-caravan/

    or is there a better way I'm not thinking of?

    I don't even know if this matters, but can some1 answer? also any other kinda basic quick tips you can give if possible..
    thanks

  2. #2
    He's No Good To Me Dead silver trophybronze trophy stymiee's Avatar
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    The second is better then the first. There's no real value in repeating the keyword in the URL.

  3. #3
    In memoriam gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Schulz's Avatar
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    Stymiee's right. Go with the second URL.

  4. #4
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    k thx u 2

  5. #5
    SitePoint Evangelist asprookie's Avatar
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    Second URL

    Because whatever the file extension you use over time, you won't have to use redirects, it'll always be good.

  6. #6
    SitePoint Enthusiast jhnrang's Avatar
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    I would rather go for a different URL like the following if possible.
    http://www.xyz.com/dodge/grand-caravan.html

    Have seen V7N forum getting strong SERPs benefit when it re-wrote the dynamic URLs with vBSeo. And .html at the end seems always doing better . Just my views, nothing serious.

  7. #7
    In memoriam gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Schulz's Avatar
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    I'd leave off the .html extension personally. What if you were to change to PHP, or ASP or even .NET, Python, Perl, or Java Server Pages? Having to write 301 redirects each time you move would be a real pain in the neck.

  8. #8
    He's No Good To Me Dead silver trophybronze trophy stymiee's Avatar
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    Plus .html offers no SEO benefits. That's just a myth.

  9. #9
    SitePoint Wizard samsm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Schulz View Post
    I'd leave off the .html extension personally. What if you were to change to PHP, or ASP or even .NET, Python, Perl, or Java Server Pages? Having to write 301 redirects each time you move would be a real pain in the neck.
    You can use html as the extension for all of those back-end technologies.

    It is a bad idea to use any indication of back-end technology in the url (.php, /cgi-bin/foo, etc): you may want to transparently change back-end technologies, plus it is irrelevant to the end user what the server may be running.

    However, .html is an indication of front-end technology that offers some utility to the user. When a user sees a link ending in html, it lets them know that they are looking at a web page url as opposed to, say, a PDF, Excel file, or rss feed.

    Anyway, just saying it's not a hard "no" the same way as putting "php" or "cgi-bin" in an address.
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  10. #10
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy C. Ankerstjerne's Avatar
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    How many users do you really think knows the difference between HTML, PHP, ASP, PDF and XLS?
    Christian Ankerstjerne
    <p<strong<abbr/HTML/ 4 teh win</>
    <>In Soviet Russia, website codes you!

  11. #11
    In memoriam gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Schulz's Avatar
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    You asking me or him, Christian?

  12. #12
    Non-Member Waraas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by samsm View Post
    You can use html as the extension for all of those back-end technologies.

    It is a bad idea to use any indication of back-end technology in the url (.php, /cgi-bin/foo, etc): you may want to transparently change back-end technologies, plus it is irrelevant to the end user what the server may be running.

    However, .html is an indication of front-end technology that offers some utility to the user. When a user sees a link ending in html, it lets them know that they are looking at a web page url as opposed to, say, a PDF, Excel file, or rss feed.

    Anyway, just saying it's not a hard "no" the same way as putting "php" or "cgi-bin" in an address.
    I was just going to say this, The user likes the .html for that reason. If it was my url structure I would have the second one but with a .html or .php or whatever you would like.

  13. #13
    SitePoint Wizard samsm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by C. Ankerstjerne View Post
    How many users do you really think knows the difference between HTML, PHP, ASP, PDF and XLS?
    Between (for example) html and pdf, many people get the difference, I'd assume the ballpark percentage would vary by audience, but a number of non technical people are at least aware enough to know that pdf is "that thing that launches the annoying other program". Something in the country of 10% would be my guess, but I have nothing to back that up.

    The extensions that reflect back-end technology (.php, .asp, etc) don't provide any utility to any user of any skill ... those confuse the matter a bit and I wouldn't anyone outside of web development to understand what those are about. That's one of the reasons the W3C and common sense tell us to shelter users from that information.

    I'm opinionated on the topic, I think when an OS hides extensions it does immense damage to the chances of a user understanding how their computer works. Impeding a user's mastery of mastery does great damage to every form of software development, which limits our communication ability which reduces our chances of world peace.

    Yes, people are dying because you aren't using appropriate extensions.
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  14. #14
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy C. Ankerstjerne's Avatar
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    Dan
    Him - I generally try to include the name of the person I'm addressing my post to, unless replying to the last post. Semantical, yet not verbose

    samsm
    From what I read out of your post, there are essentially two groups of users who will know the difference:
    1. High-tech users (who will know that the extension of a file is irrelevant to the actual file type)
    2. Normal users with some web experience (who will have a rudimentary understanding of how a website works, but who will generally also perceive an extensionless file name as a directory, and thus a normal web page)

    I don't think extensions matter for either.

    Furthermore, since all your links to PDF documents are identified as such to the user (right?), it should matter little anyway. I agree that hiding extensions on computers is bad, but the web isn't a local computer. It has different requirements and usages.

    I would suggest avoiding extensions, even if it killed kittens
    Christian Ankerstjerne
    <p<strong<abbr/HTML/ 4 teh win</>
    <>In Soviet Russia, website codes you!

  15. #15
    SitePoint Wizard samsm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by C. Ankerstjerne View Post
    Furthermore, since all your links to PDF documents are identified as such to the user (right?)
    I can't make people identify links as being for pdfs when they share or email urls.

    Except, if I include the extension, I kind of can.

    A lot of urls shared are done so without real anchor text, where the body of the url is all that relates to the user what is on the linked page.

    With few exceptions, the only reason that url content past the domain name is at all relevant (extensions, keywords, etc) is that users may end up reading the url and deriving some context on what the resource is about.
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  16. #16
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy C. Ankerstjerne's Avatar
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    Fair enough, but why would it be a problem is you have a URL structure such as:
    http://www.example.com/contact
    http://www.example.com/brochure.pdf

    Just because you skip the extension on web pages, doesn't mean you have to do so for downloadable files (and I would tend to argue that there would be little reason for doing so anyway - it would be rare that you'd need to change the format of downloadable files, and for most file types, the URL length is less important in terms of SEO than it is for web pages).
    Christian Ankerstjerne
    <p<strong<abbr/HTML/ 4 teh win</>
    <>In Soviet Russia, website codes you!

  17. #17
    SitePoint Wizard samsm's Avatar
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    example.com/contact ... is that an html web page, or a vcard?

    The only reason that reasoning seems silly is that html is dominant.

    But despite the status quo, there's nothing that glues http or hyperlinking to html. We could easily migrate from html leading to a place where another format of document is more popular. That seems ridiculously far off, but being specific now is the only way not to be ambiguous later without moving a url.

    My concept of the whole thing is admittedly weird, but I think the overall point is reasonable: it isn't a firm "no".

    It is it really a huge practical thing? I'd think it's way way way down there on the SEO checklist.
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  18. #18
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy C. Ankerstjerne's Avatar
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    Do you really expect that anyone who doesn't know about URL structured, knows what a vCard is?

    As for ambiguity, since the document identifies itself in the HTTP header, it doesn't matter if the Internet suddenly moves to a different file format.
    Christian Ankerstjerne
    <p<strong<abbr/HTML/ 4 teh win</>
    <>In Soviet Russia, website codes you!

  19. #19
    SitePoint Wizard samsm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by C. Ankerstjerne View Post
    As for ambiguity, since the document identifies itself in the HTTP header, it doesn't matter if the Internet suddenly moves to a different file format.
    The document represented by a link doesn't identify itself in an http header until you click. Once you click on a link, it really doesn't matter what was in it. The whole idea is to give the user an idea of what kind of document they'll be getting before clicking.

    Pushing extensions seems ridiculous because html is so dominant, everyone just assumes html. But flash forward, let's say something like smil takes hold.

    So you have:
    /videos/boats
    ... which is an html page. But smil has become dominant, so what do you do?

    Add /videos/boats.smil , leave /videos/boats as html?
    People are going to expect /videos/boats to be smil since it is (in this hypothetical universe) dominant.
    Change /videos/boats to smil? You've just made links and bookmarks the depend upon an html resource obsolete.

    This kind of hypothetical is way too abstract to use as a call to action, but I haven't heard a compelling reason not to use these sorts of meaningfully descriptive extensions. Is there one? I would hate to think that Google et al considers it a keyword, creating potential dilution, that seems silly.
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  20. #20
    In memoriam gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Schulz's Avatar
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    You want a reason not to use an extension for Web pages? You just gave one yourself.

    Changing the extensions - if a user has example.com/sample/web-page/ bookmarked, it won't matter if you use .html .php .aspx .mdl (My Dog Larry) or any other extension later in the future. Your user can still get to the page.

    As for educating the user what type of file the link is, that's why you add (PDF) or (WMV) or whatever indicator of the extension being used to the link text.

  21. #21
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy C. Ankerstjerne's Avatar
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    Assuming the URL structure is set up to support the contents, rather than the file format, it wouldn't be a problem. In your example, http://www.example.com/videos/boats is a web page which shows a video of a boat in-browser (I'll ignore the possibility of the nature of browsing changing so fundamentally that people will suddenly stop using browsers - that notion is so utterly absurd, that it would be rediculous to take it into consideration).

    Any link pointing to that page would be pointing to a web page with that expectation, and the audience would really not care if they got it through a file with the extension HTML, SMIL, XHTML, WML, MISSHOOVERTHERESADOGINTHEVENT or any other extension.
    Christian Ankerstjerne
    <p<strong<abbr/HTML/ 4 teh win</>
    <>In Soviet Russia, website codes you!

  22. #22
    SitePoint Wizard samsm's Avatar
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    Let me see if I understand that content rather than format stance. If you serve multiple representations of the same data, that is done under the same path, and differentiated by accept headers.

    /boats [text/html] (html page)
    /boats [application/rss+xml] (feed)
    /boats [application/pdf] (pdf document)

    You have one url representing a given set of content, your client requests its preference. You never use an extension to reflect different formats because that doesn't belong in the url.

    Do I have it right?
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  23. #23
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy C. Ankerstjerne's Avatar
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    Do I have it right?
    No.

    Refer to the subject of the original post: Web pages.
    Christian Ankerstjerne
    <p<strong<abbr/HTML/ 4 teh win</>
    <>In Soviet Russia, website codes you!

  24. #24
    SitePoint Wizard samsm's Avatar
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    The subject of the original post was urls.

    In fairness, I suppose the context of SEO suggests web pages.

    Also in fairness, I hope it is pretty clear that I'm thinking about the distant future and handling varieties of formats with varieties of clients that may expand our concept of "web page". I'm using current formats as examples because that's what we have.
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  25. #25
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy C. Ankerstjerne's Avatar
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    I still don't think your reservations applies, since it assumes so much, that you could just as easily argue for anything else.
    Christian Ankerstjerne
    <p<strong<abbr/HTML/ 4 teh win</>
    <>In Soviet Russia, website codes you!


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