Is your website is dynamic? You need to be careful, or you might not do well in the search engines. Some spider handle dynamic URLs quite well, but others have trouble – and even those that do spider them might not look very deep within your site. The problem lies in the fact that you cannot really predict what will be delivered in these URLs at all times. If you have an inkling of what is going to happen to URLs most often plan ahead; try to insure that you do not run into problems regarding these URLs.
Dynamic web pages are usually database driven and displayed on-the-fly. You can recognize by looking for symbols like question marks and ampersands in the URL. These on-the-fly web pages are hard to deal with because they very every time that they are delivered. The best way to conquer this problem is to run everything that you can through the URL rather than through post method or through sessions/cookies.
If you want to sell one or two products, then you only need a static website with one or two pages. If you have a database with hundreds of products, however, then it would be very time-consuming to make each page manually – that’s when most people build a dynamic website.
These dynamic web sites should be organized in such a way that every page that has the potential to become dynamic can be delivered in a static form as well. I.E. your product listings pages may display certain categories dynamically, but they should have static links that will simply display every product. You should also have distinct links to each category as most search engines can handle a dynamic URL as long as it doesn’t change each time that the site is viewed.
There are programs that will automatically produce static pages from a database, but it’s not usually the best move. Most designers to work with true dynamic technologies such as PHP, because of the amount of time it saves. Because search engine technology is increasing, the problems associated with dynamic URLs are decreasing day by day. It is still important to have constants, but you don’t necessarily have to have a huge list of static links throughout your site.
It can be much easier to put www.domain.com/article.php?num=1 than www.domain.com/articles/article1.html. A search engine can easily locate the prior so there is no real need for the latter. The only time that you will see trouble is if you have things like www.domain.com/article?num=1&userid=2424 where “userid” changes for each user. If this sort of thing happens you may run into trouble and should arrange so that the “userid” isn’t completely necessary (unless, of course, you want the page password protected).
Dynamic websites aren’t usually engine friendly, though, unless you deliberately make them that way. If you’ve spent money and time to build a dynamic website then you won’t want to throw it out – you need to learn how to optimize it for the search engines.
So how can you keep the functionality of your dynamic website, and make it search engine friendly at the same time? Well, suppose you have a website with products, and instead of having each product on one page you’re using a dynamic, searchable database. Searching returns a list of products that meet the search criteria, and maybe a small picture – clicking the picture shows the user more information about the product.
You have to realize that search engines can’t use your search box, so the only way for them to access your dynamic information is if they follow a link to it some other way. The lesson to learn is that you need to give access to all your pages with plain, text links, somehow – you can’t just rely on searches to drive your whole site.
What this means is that somewhere on your website you need to have a list of your products that has been organized by category – from here, you should be able to follow links to every page in your database. Once you’ve done this, the search engines can see your content.
Offering both search and category views improves your site’s navigation, as well as making it crawlable – your work will be useful to your visitors as well as the search engines, which is what SEO is all about.
To Your Success