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Web Site Design Mistakes – Database Parameters In URLs

Posted by On September - 11 - 2009 268 views

Creating a web site takes thought, planning and execution. Unfortunately, many designs are dead in the water before they are even published as far as search engine optimization is concerned. Whatever you do, avoid these critical mistakes.

Database Parameters in URL

Many web site designers don’t take into account the effect of database parameters in site URLs. A database parameter tells the server what should be loaded onto a particular page when a viewer tries to see it. In essence, the page is “dynamic” because it is being pulled together with each click. Robot programs that are used by search engines to index sites hate dynamic pages. Often, they will not even index the pages and the page of your site is not listed in the search engine.

Let’s look at an example using the Nomad Adventure Journals site. The home page URL is aptly, http://www.nomadjournals.com – a static page. In this URL, there are no parameters telling the server to load anything other than a static web page. All search engines will index this page without any problem.

Now, what if we changed the page to something dynamic. Let’s say we designed it to record the session identification [identify the viewer] and dynamically load the pictures on the page. We would have one parameter for the session identification and four parameters for the various pictures on the page. The URL for the home page might look something like:

http://www.nomadjournals.com/home/index.html?&DID=9&User_ID&CATID=15&ObjectGroup_ID=39

What a mess. A search engine robot is going to balk at indexing such pages. It simply can’t tell what is on the page. If you have parameters and session identifications in the URLs of your site pages, you are going to have a very difficult time getting into the search engine rankings. Obviously, that precludes you from getting any top rankings and free traffic.

Fixing The Problem

Fixing the problem often is lengthy and costly depending on the number of pages on your site. If you have over 100 products, a complete re-design may be the best answer. If you have a relatively small number of pages, there may be less brutish options.

Converting pages to static html is a definite solution for smaller sites. Essentially, one would take the page for each product and convert it into a static html page. The domain would then be converted to short sub-domain. If a user then clicked on the “buy” button for the product on the page, they would be sent to a dynamic database page. The viability of this solution is dependent upon the layout of the site. Some sites can be fixed, some simply cannot.

In Closing

The database parameter problem is surprisingly common with sites selling products. A majority of site designers do not understand search engine optimization and don’t realize the problem they are creating. If you intend to build a database driven site, make sure you bring in a search engine optimization specialist before it is created. Nobody wants to spend the money to design a site twice.

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