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Q: Engines ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: Engines
Category: Computers
Asked by: clown-ga
List Price: $15.00
Posted: 13 Mar 2003 10:54 PST
Expires: 12 Apr 2003 11:54 PDT
Question ID: 175710
Does it make a difference when submitting my site to the search engines if the pages are
not HTML (The site is on a database).  Does HTML bring a higher
Subject: Re: Engines
Answered By: juggler-ga on 13 Mar 2003 12:24 PST
Rated:4 out of 5 stars

Yes, unfortunately, it does makes a difference.

Having your web pages dynamically generated from a database (instead
of using plain-vanilla "static" HTML) will cause some search engines
to ignore much of your content.

Google explains in its Webmaster Guidelines:

"If you decide to use dynamic pages (i.e., the URL contains a '?'
character), be aware that not every search engine spider crawls
dynamic pages as well as static pages. It helps to keep the parameters
short and the number of them small."

"Dynamic pages are created on the fly with technology such as ASP,
Cold Fusion, Perl and the like. These pages function well for users
visiting the site, but they don't work well for search engine
That's because dynamically generated pages don't actually exist until
a user selects the variable(s) that generate them. A search engine
spider can't select such variables, so the pages don't get generated
or indexed...

"Basically, search engine spiders aren't smart enough to figure out
how to interact with a database to create those pages, so someimtes
they never make it past the first page of the site. While indexing
your site and trying to follow the links from your main page, if a
search engine spider finds a question mark in the URL that you are
linking to, the spider will disregard that link and move on. If your
whole site is built this way, the busy spider leaves your site without
being able to index anything."
"How to Optimize a Database-Driven Website for the Search Engines,"

How can you improve your search engine results?

As Google explains:
"Make a site with a clear hierarchy and text links. Every page should
be reachable from at least one static text link."

Since your site uses the .cfm extension, I have located some advice
specific to that system:

"Cold Fusion/Dynamic Page Generation - Many sites are dynamically
generated using Cold Fusion, as indicated by '.cfm' extensions in the
site paths. This software application creates unique URLs that include
symbols considered by several search engines as "spider traps." To
avoid spider traps, some search engines avoid indexing URLs that that
include the following problematic symbols for fear of getting caught
in a crawling loop: ?, $, &, ="

ColdFusion. This might be an easy fix. Reconfigure ColdFusion on your
server so that the "?" in a query string is replaced with a "/,"
passing the value to the URL. You will still have to deal with
optimization of your pages and making your site respond quickly when a
crawler does come by for a visit."
"Optimization of Dynamic Sites Requires Precision"

Further reading:

"Optimizing Dynamic Web Pages"

"Getting Dynamically Generated Websites Indexed"

"Robin Nobles helps unBan WebPro Reader in Google"

"SEO 101 - Coding the Page Part 5: Optimizing Dynamic Content"

Discussion: "Google - google and dynamic urls"
hosted by

Discusion: "Dynamic vs static"
hosted by

search strategy: dynamic, static, html, "cold fusion", "search
engine", google

I hope that you find this information helpful. Best of luck with your
clown-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $5.00

Subject: Re: Engines
From: juggler-ga on 14 Mar 2003 13:48 PST
Thank you for the tip.

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