Removing .htm & .html file extensions?

Stupid question of the day. We have an SEO consultant that wants us to kill all page extensions (.htm and .html). Is this as simple as deselecting the page extension box? (or removing the “.html” that is in there)

I also understanding that selecting tidying links does this as well.

Are there any downsides? (I know I have to delete everything off the server and reload everything again) thanks!

That’s your real problem. Seriously, if he or she was any good they would know you have to have a File extension. They would also tell you how and why eliminating the display of the extension would help your SEO. The web server and browser need to know what to do with the files.

NO that will break the page. You see if you go to a page by just the folder name without .html or .php the extension the web server will be default look for an a file named index with a .html then .php and then maybe a .cgi file extension. If you don’t have any it will give you a 404 not found.

Now tidy links option will eliminate the extensions, and just produce internal page links with just the folder name. Every page name would be index and have an extension of .html or .php.

Now you didn’t give a URL to the site so I don’t know how you have things now. I have no idea of well the site is doing for target keyword phrases now. But changing page URL’s can have a negative impact on SERP rankings.

Of course, I’m sure the SEO Consultant knows all this and has advised you about doing 301 redirects and all that stuff.

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THANKS for the speedy reply. What made me a little leery is when I asked about the downsides of eliminating the extensions, he said he did not know as he was not a developer (yikes). Which is why I am posting the query here.

I will select the “tidy links” option though. Although, another gripe was the pages called “index”.

I am going through the site anyway and doing an overhaul and expansion for 2019. But, if there are some best practices, or general advice he has, I am open to it (just not at the extent of breaking the site).

A few other details to note. I granted him access to our Google account (read/write reports), but he was looking for full admin access for whatever reason (and could not exactly tell me why he needed it). No issue giving access, but wary of letting him muck about and causing issues down the line.

He also grumbled about RapidWeaver, and wanted to know why it was not done one WordPress. While WP is always a possibility, I don’t see an immediate or pressing reason to rebuild it for a one-time SEO effort (or annual one). WP lets him alter SEO stuff remotely with just a login. Basically the down-side hits me, he supplies a spreadsheet with the changes, and I have to then make them on the site page by page. Not a big deal.

He also wanted to create a lot of extra new domains that just went to specific pages. I am open to suggestions, but they just have to make sense.

The site is currently not set up with Tidy Links, and all pages end in .html. I do know that once we make the changes all of our referring links will be broken, which sucks.

I hope you’re not paying this “SEO Consultant” much.


You’ll need to have file extensions for the actual files on your server. It’s tough to get the average web server to do much of anything without them. But that doesn’t mean that you need to have those files or their extensions visible in the links. I imagine what you’re consultant means is that…

instead of a links like this:

users should see nice tidy links like this:

RapidWeaver has an option to exactly that. Make sure it’s enabled, and you should be good to go. All the internal links that it generates will be the tidy form.

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Simple, easy to understand, and exactly why I continue to stick with RW. Thanks Isiah and all!

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The tidy link is the way to go. Just when you change them over, do a 301 redirect from the old URL to the new one.

He doesn’t sound like he knows much more than you could learn by searching the Web.
Domain-specific pages used to be a trick that could work. You sell Widgets and you have an Acme Red Widget. Creating a Domain and a URL that is could help you if someone typed that specific search phrase in, but one help you at all with other search phrases.

Here’s what I do if someone is trying to sell me SEO services. Just right in front of them search for SEO? Ask them why they aren’t at the top? If they’re good enough to sell SEO services, then they should be right on page one of a search for SEO.


BTW…if you are going to listen to anyone…isaiah is “The Man”!!!


Totally aware, and grateful! My experience with RW and the developers, is they are all pretty exceptional and readily answer and address questions and problems. To a fault.

Also, thanks for the 301 redirect tip, Teefers.
He may well be knowledgeable within his bailiwick, but it was a red flag about killing off the extensions. He could have been just describing it badly (as Isiah surmised).

My experience with a lot of SEO companies is that they are usually using it as a gateway for providing other services (like web development). Also, the SEO budgets they propose are usually larger than actual development dollars. That being said, I know there are things to be fixed. It isn’t on my dime, other than the time spent making the changes. Which is only a few hours.

The multiple domain thing I am wary of, as another piece of advice was combining multiple websites into one (and they were for two separate organizations that are funded separately). The only thing the sites are selling is information, and it is free. I have no issues with someone visiting, getting what they need, or viewing an online version of a print publication, and then leaving. Some folks think all sites have to be roach motels (visitors check in, and never check out), and I am not one of them (at least for these clients).

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