This site is for sale,
Make Your Dynamic Web Site Search Engine Friendly Part 1
Dynamic Site Problems In The Search Engines
By Brad S. Konia
Originally Published: July, 2003
Do you have a dynamic Web site or are thinking of building one? If so, failing to make your dynamic site search engine friendly can dramatically reduce your visibility in the search engines. Even though some engines spider dynamic URLs, others still do not. Those that do spider them may still place artificial limits on how deep they will travel within such links.
A dynamic site is one in which the pages are generated on the fly, usually from a database. You can often recognize one by seeing symbols such as a question mark, ampersand or other special symbols in the URL.
Let's say that you're a web designer and a client asks you to build a Web site for him to sell his products online. If the client has one or two products, then a static HTML site would be all that's needed. But what if the client has a database containing hundreds or thousands of products? To build a Web site like that using static HTML pages would involve creating a separate page for each product, meaning that you might have to create thousands of pages.
A dynamic Web site can solve this problem. Unfortunately, many Web sites make use of this technique without fully realizing the dangers relating to search engine visibility.
There are programs available that will automatically generate static template-based HTML pages from a database, but for a variety of reasons, this is usually not the best approach. Most designers prefer to work with active server technologies such as PHP or ASP to create truly dynamic Web sites. This saves time and simplifies maintenance.
Dynamic Sites Are Not Search Engine Friendly
The only problem with dynamic Web sites is that they're not nearly as search engine friendly as static sites. Some engines will not index them or will index only a limited number of pages. If you've already spent a lot of money to have a dynamic site designed and built, you're not going to want to scrap all that work and start over with a static HTML site.
So how can you retain the functionality of your dynamic Web site, but make it search engine friendly? First, let me give you an example of how a typical dynamic Web site functions.
Suppose that you had a real estate Web site in which customers could view all of your available properties online. Instead of creating a separate HTML page for each property, you could put all the information for your properties into a database. The database might contain fields like:
Your Web site would most likely include some type of search form so that your users could search for a list of properties that fulfill various criteria. For instance, someone might search for a list of properties in Miami, Florida with asking prices below $300,000.
After conducting this search, the results page would contain a list of properties that meet the criteria and perhaps a thumbnail picture of each property. Then the user could click on the property name or picture to view more detailed information.
On a typical dynamic Web site, the hyperlinks to the property detail pages would contain URLs similar to the following:
The property-detail.php page is a dynamic page that the server builds on the fly. The information after the question mark in the URL is passed to the server so it knows which property to display on the detail page. In this case, it will display detail information for property #57. Therefore, this single page can actually display detailed information for an unlimited number of properties. This is an extremely efficient way to manage your Web site, but unfortunately, some search engines will not index dynamic pages.
There are two basic problems in indexing a dynamic Web site:
1.) Search engines will not utilize your search box.
If the only way to access your dynamic content is by first conducting a query on your site, a search engine will miss this content entirely! You must provide access to all your Web pages by doing nothing more than navigating links. This means that you'll need to have one or more pages organized by product or category that eventually drills down to every page in your database that you may want indexed by a search engine. Without this, an engine will never "see" the vast content that your site has to offer.
Offering both methods of locating information on your site will also help improve your site's navigation. Notice how Yahoo.com gives visitors an option to conduct a site search or to browse its catalog by traveling a series of links.
Make Your Dynamic Web Site Search Engine Friendly Part 2. >>>
This article is copyrighted and has been reprinted with permission from FirstPlace Software.
Site Promotion Articles Indexes: