Few things matter to your rankings as much as links, and the vast majority of those who link to your site do so by copying the URL from the address bar when they’re on your page. Because of that, and for other reasons as well, it’s crucial to make sure that your URLs are as well-formed as possible.
Thankfully, randfish did the hard work for me by posting his 11 Best Practices for URLs. He hits so many of the most common errors and things to watch out for. Definitely worth a read and a bookmark to refer back to later if you’re interested in your site ranking better in search engines.
One practice that he forgot, though, is one that I see most often and one that has as much impact as anything he listed.
Don’t link to your homepage with index.htm or index.asp in the URL.
It’s redundant and, most importantly, it confused the search engines. As noted in The Three Basics for Achieving Great Search Engine Rankings, search engines see
www.yourdomain.com/index.htm as two completely different URLs. When some pages link to one URL and others link to the other, you end up splitting your link weight between two URLs that are actually the same page.
There’s no reason to include the default document (e.g. index.htm) in the URL and plenty of reasons not to. Take a spin through your site today and make sure you’re not using index.htm in your “home” links. (Don’t forget the links in your main navigation.)