Is it ok to have an index.html link?

Someone suggested to me that having links to rather than is essentially duplicated content and could seriously affect search rankings. Is this true? Is it really that bad?

Best regards, George

Sorry, I phrased that badly. What I should have said is "do the links to your home page resolve to or In other words, ignore whether it’s there as a relative or absolute link, just concentrate on what comes after the dot-com (because relative/absolute won’t make any difference to SEs), and consider both internal and inbound links (because they will both affect SEs).

The file has to be called something, and “index.html” is a pretty standard one. The issue is over how you link to it. Do your home page links say “” or “”?

If it’s the first one, you’re OK - no-one ever needs to know that the page is called “index.html”, they’ll just get the default page for that folder, which is exactly what you want to happen. If you’ve got the second option some or all of the time, that could be having a negative impact, because search engines might have them indexed as separate pages.

Not knowing much about PHP, that looks to me as though it will only apply to the home page, and not to eg, which you should be doing as well if the CMS always uses index.html at every level.

In terms of SEO, it will have a positive impact - without that redirect, Google could end up thinking and are two different pages, with the link juice split between them, so neither of them would rank as well as they could do - whereas concentrating all the link juice into a single URL will help push you up the rankings.

Not knowing much about PHP, that looks to me as though it will only apply to the home page, and not to eg, which you should be doing as well if the CMS always uses index.html at every level.
The pages are conceptual, they don’t physically exist. Each page has one name, therefore one access point, except for the page. I only need to do the redirect on this page.

I assume then that search engine understand the 301 redirect? It won’t cause any issues?

Best regards, George

EDIT: Missed felgall’s post, that answers my question. Thanks a lot for all the help!

Yes, Google can consider it as different page, so better way you can use canonical tag for duplication issue.

wow! this is new to me. href=“index.html” is what i know. but it will lead to a url with /index.html. thanks felgall! this info is really great for me.

how do you know if the domain treats them as seperate filenames? My Homepage (domain name page) is saved as index.html… is that bad?

A 301 should affect the search engines because as a result of the 301 they know that any links to the redirected page should be counted as links to the destination page.

Also if you have the redirect then any people attempting to visit index.html will have the address bar updated to show the address without it.

Thanks for the response felgall, I should have been clearer though. I developed a basic CMS for the site in question. The URI’s are generated by the router and wrapped into a HTML anchor viewhelper. The index page links are generated with index.html. Rather than reworking this I’m tempted to add the following to the application entry point.

//fix for index.html
$uri = trim($_SERVER['REQUEST_URI'], '/');
if (empty($uri)) {
    header("HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently");
    header("location: http://".$_SERVER['SERVER_NAME']."/index.html");

So my question is, will the 301 have any impact on SEO?

Best regards, George

using href=“index.html” is much shorter and easier to type than href=“

href=“/” is shorter still and will go to the page without having the index.html on the end so you will not need the redirect

If you allow and to be treated as separate filenames, that will harm your search engine rankings and potentially your usability as well. There is absolutely no need to include the “index.html” in the URL, all it does is increase the risk of people mis-typing, increase the complexity and reduce the concentration of googlejuice in the pages where you need it.

Both of those alternatives for the home page link are inefficient since both require a domain lookup to access a domain that has already been found. Using “/” or “index,html” without the domain on the front can go directly there without the domain lookup.

Thanks guys. Is a permanent redirect ok? Or should I just remove index.html entirely?