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Session IDs and various other tracking IDs are two very common culprits. In the worst case, a search
engine may not index such URLs at all. Therefore, the use of such parameters should be avoided as
much as possible.
Dynamic URLs — especially those with more than two parameters — may pose problems for search
engines, due to the increased difficulty in ascertaining how to spider the site. Matt Cutts of Google
affirms all of this on his blog at
http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/seo-answers-on-google-
video/
. Lastly, a dynamic URL may look less appealing or relevant than a well-constructed static
URL to a human user.
In some cases, search engines may attempt to eliminate an extra parameter, such as a session-related
parameter, and index site URLs without it. Depending on this functionality is neither realistic nor
wise, however.
Fortunately, there are many ways to improve URLs with regard to indexability as well as aesthetics. This
typically involves eliminating any unnecessary parameters, and/or obscuring the dynamic parameters
using keyword-rich static URLs.
The solution to the latter is to employ Apache’s mod_rewrite module to present URLs that are static —
or at least appear to be static — but are, in actuality, mapped to dynamic URLs. This is a process called
URL-rewriting, and is detailed later in this chapter.
Note that URL rewriting is done differently depending on the server-side technology employed for a
web site. This book focuses on mod_rewrite, because this is the de facto standard in the PHP commu-
nity. You are introduced to working with mod_rewrite later in this chapter. For an ASP.NET implemen-
tation, check out the ASP.NET edition of this book,
Professional Search Engine Optimization with
ASP.NET: A Developer ’s Guide to SEO.
Dynamic URLs may also benefit from some of the concepts in this chapter, such as using functions
to generate URLs to enhance URL consistency, and strategies to reduce the number of parameters —
rewritten or not — required for site navigation.
URLs and CTR
It is clear that users are more likely to click a search result that
looks
more relevant. One way to do this
is to include relevant keywords — such as the product name in the URL. Although the effect on rankings
due to keywords in URLs may be small in current search engine algorithms, the effect of a better CTR
may be noticed.
Static-looking keyword-rich URLs are more aesthetically pleasing, and may enhance
your CTR. Query keywords are also highlighted in the results pages if their URLs
contain those keywords.
40
Chapter 3: Provocative SE-Friendly URLs
c03.qxd:c03 10:39 40


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