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Dynamic Web Page Optimization and Search Engine Inclusion
Dynamic Web Site


Dynamic Web Page Optimization and Search Engine Inclusion

Great! That's a cool website you have got! Nice design, layout and features, I must say! Wow, that's a nice database feature you have incorporated into your site! Lots of good products too. So you have your website all ready and ready to go! But one small question, have you thought of the Search Engines?

Well, what about it you may ask. You will most probably do the same thing that you do with other non-database sites. You will just submit the site to the search engines and expect that people start coming in looking for your products. Well, keep looking! Good luck!

Surprised not having any significant people coming in through search engines for specific products? Don't be! Don't say I had not warned you before! Let me try and explain the problem here.

As you know, Search engines send out their spiders to index the pages of a site. Most of these spiders index most of the content like static HTML pages, images and other content. But when indexing deep inside, when they encounter a question mark sign (?), which is the most obvious element in a database driven page, they just stop indexing there and then. Oops, too bad! So, is that end of the road for you? Is all the effort that you put into the page and the database, all of no use for you to attract the search engines?

Not really! There are some backdoors and tips to get your dynamic page into the search engines too. Did I hear a sigh of relief from you?! Well, let me explain to you the five most popular ways of getting dynamic database driven pages into the search engines:

Exception Digital Enterprise Solutions offers a fix called XQASP that will remove the "?" in the Query String and replace it with a "/". But this is a bit costly option. It is priced at around $250, but it is worth the last cent that you pay for it, as it is used successfully by many leading websites like ……… to let search engines index their dynamic content.

If you are using Coldfusion to develop your websites, you'll need to reconfigure ColdFusion on your server so that the "?" in a query string is replaced with a '/' and pass the value to the URL. So when the search engine spider comes to index the page, it will not encounter the "?", and go ahead and index the complete dynamic page.

Apache server has a rewrite module that enables you to turn URL's containing query strings into URL's that search engines can index. The module, which is known as "mod_rewrite", isn't installed with Apache software by default, so you should check with your web hosting company and see if it's available for your server.

If you are using CGI or Perl, there is a solution for you too: Path_Info or Script_Name is a variable in a dynamic application that contains the complete URL address (including the query string information). To fix this, you'll need to write a script that pulls all the information before the query string and set the rest of the information equal to a variable. You can then use that variable in your URL address.

Put links to your Dynamic pages on your static pages and submit these static pages to the search engines. The easiest way to do this is to have a Table of Contents with links to dynamic pages. The search engine spider of course cannot index the entire dynamic page, but will index most of the content from it, because of this link on a static page.

Wait, wait, wait! Don't just jump onto your machine and start incorporating these changes. A small word of caution before your try to implement these methods. The first four methods make your dynamic page appear to have its own sub-directory, so the browser will look for images and links there. You can completely avoid broken links and pages by using all absolute URL addresses on your page, but that will make maintenance more difficult later. Alternatively, use URL addresses that are relative to the root directory of your site, not the document. Use /homepage.htm instead of ../homepage.htm and you'll be just doing fine!

By the way, don't feel dejected about all search engines being the same. Some Search Engines have the courage to stand up and say, "We Accept Dynamic Pages into our directory!" Two of the most popular search engines which accept Dynamic pages are Infoseek and Hotbot. But still here, you cannot just submit your homepage and be happy. Here you have to submit individually each dynamic page's URL with all the parameters in it. But this is much better than not having your dynamic page indexed in search engines.

So what are you waiting for?? Charge up your brain, get geared with these tools and take off! Don't be a part of the almost worthless Invisible Web by having Dynamic Database driven web pages. Get noticed through the search engines before your competitor does! Act fast, the count down has begun… 10, 9, 8,…………

Suggested related articles:

Good Article on search engine optimization here:
More information about XQASP:
More information on the Rewrite module for Apache Server:
Instructions for Coldfusion from the official Allaire Website:

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