HTML Catalog Page Names, File Names and SEO

I would like to suggest that in the agenda for the next release, the following is implemented. Provide a separate field in the Category, Product, Topic and Page templates for HTML Catalog file name. This would be in addition to the SEO URL mod_rewrite field, as some including myself prefer to avoid using mod_rewrite due to server loads and potential mistakes with duplicate content. This field would be sourced only by the “Generate HTML Catalog” function, which will hopefully be expanded to generate html pages for all other pages w/in a site.

The reason is pretty simple. SEO and web copywriting requires a lot of experimentation to determine what works best for your particular site, and for any individual site it may be different than for another. You may find a new page name works better than your old one to convert sales, or like the page title, one may affect your search engine placement better than another.

The current HTML Catalog uses the Page or Category “name” field for the file name. You can’t change one without changing the other.

Once you have set a file name, it is unwise to change it, or you have to do a 301 redirect to tell the search engines that the new file name is the same file, not a new one. This is important as the value gained from anyone who may have linked to your old file name will be lost when the file name changes, unless you redirect the old file name to the new one. This will avoid the need to 301, and keep these links from becoming broken, and allow link popularity to continue to be credited to the appropriate file.

This should probably be handled as a module so it doesn’t get in the way for people who aren’t interested in using a true static html site. In fact, if handled as a module, perhaps the option to generate an html catalog should only appear IF the webmaster has selected this module.