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How to switch from html to .asp?

and impact in Google SERPs....



11:48 pm on Nov 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

We are considering changing our site to .asp (from html) in order to more easily manage the content. Of course, I am concerned how this will impact our Google search results.

One potential solution would be: put on the site a 404.asp script, we rename all HTM pages to ASP and any time a call is made to an HTM page, the 404 script will read the file, and if it ends in HTML try redirect to same with ASP extension.

Will this work for preserving search results? Or are than any other suggestions out there?

Thanks so much! Jane-O


12:27 am on Nov 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Just wondering if this made sense to anyone...


12:49 am on Nov 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member g1smd is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Does it have to be ASP?

You could use PHP scripting, and Apache allows you to set things up so that files that end in .html can contain PHP scripts. I don't know if ASP allows you to do that.

The actual filename and extension you use is irrelevant to search engines; but having already gotten your pages indexed I wouldn't go changing the names now.


I keep on recommending that people use folders for each of their pages, and have their content on the index page in each folder, and then link to them ending with a trailing / after the folder name, and omitting the actual index file filename itself: like www.domain.com/folder/folder/.

This method allows you to change your technology at any time without having to change any linking at all.


4:08 am on Nov 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

like www.domain.com/folder/folder/

One of the best advices I ever read. I wish I did it before start my site.



4:33 am on Nov 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

So if i have a page, [widgets.com...] and change it to
[widgets.com...] there won't be any effect on google serps?


4:48 am on Nov 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

pccasino, you aren't paying attention.

You do not change the names of pages known to the search engines.

If you do it will hurt your rankings.

Half of the world may have linked to one of your pages say superfantasticpageshere/index.shtml if you change it to superfantasticpageshere/index.taf then the links are no longer counted.

If you redirect index.shtml to index.taf you hope the S/E handles it correctly.

Lately I wouldn't bet 2 cents on the outcome of any redirects being handled timely if done correctly and handled correctly.

You are on your own if you change the names and you redirect properly, however it is certain if you change the names and don't at least hide that fact from the S/E by doing rewrites (not redirects) you will lose positions.

You can get away with some renaming if the rename is to an equivalent index type that has remained hideen by not having been used.

superfanstaicpageshere/ for example could actually be




provided the proper default index file names are specified in the server setup.

However in both cases above the file is called by the name of



9:56 am on Nov 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

If you rely on natural ranking and have many deep links then you can re-write the URL in asp using a custom 404 error page.

Alternatively just do the switch and use 404's.


10:59 am on Nov 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

There is an easier way in asp/iis.

You need to add ".html" to run through the asp engine - differs slightly which Windows server (2000 or 2003) but in general choose properties of the web server > home directory tab > configuration > mappings. If you notice that you can see the ".asp" and ".aspx" extensions run the asp engine - just copy the entry and choose whatever extension you want (.html .htm) etc to add in to the mappings.

This is the quickest if you are going to keep the same page names. The 404 method is quite server intensive as there are always 2 calls to the server - one to the original page and then one to 404.


12:32 pm on Nov 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Good point the 404 re-write method is server intensive.


1:30 pm on Nov 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

i have to agree as well, that directory structure is a good way to go. I wanted to point out, based on directory structure, that last year, my website used to be the same way, fully directory structure with every page file being named default.asp. so blah/blah/specificinfo/default.asp. it worked well, the only issue i really had with it was, when i linked from page to page on the bottom nav, i linked then all using non absolute paths. so for example a link going from one internal to another would look like

<a href="nextpage/default.asp"> without the domain name, or one level up directory. This caused problems with google, dont ask me why. My site has been around almost 2 years now. and when i did this linking it worked for about 6 months, then google dropped most of my internal pages, due to the way the were linked to each other in a directory structure fashion. i then switched to absolute directory linking. and it picked them back up.

Moral of my looong .... post is, directory structure is awesome, i would do absolute linking if possible, it seems google had some issues with that before, dun know why...


2:35 pm on Nov 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I agree with Swanson. The best way is to set the .html extension to be processed as if it was a .asp extention. This preserves the URL's perfectly while added complete asp compatibility.

Nearly all of my sites are set to process .htm pages as .asp. About a million pages, and 0 problems.


10:19 am on Nov 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Whether you change to .php or .asp or any other extension/technology, when you have .htm or .html listed in the search engine, just continue using the same extensions and change the engine processing this extension to the appropriate one.

For new sites, consider using extensionless URI as W3 recommends.


5:51 am on Nov 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

double post

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