Designed to be Found – Part 5 – Design Roadblocks
Design Roadblocks to Spiders cont.
Avoid client-side session ID dependence
Session IDs in URLs are the absolute kiss-of-death to search engine accessibility. From the crawler’s perspective, these URLs represent a bottomless pit of infinite URLs all leading to the exact same content.
Spiders don’t support cookies either; but you really don’t need to be keeping tabs on the session of a spider anyway. It isn’t going to use your shopping cart, remember. Ensure your designs are not dependant on serving Session ID variables through cookies or URLs, or you’ll be keeping spiders out, and preventing the search index including your content.
Complex dynamic URLs are unsafe
Just as with forms, complex dynamic URLs with lots of data in the query string represent dangerous territory for the search spider. In fact, from the SEO perspective, it is best to avoid query strings altogether.
Use Apache’s mod_rewrite, or for windows machines, patch IIS with ISAPI-rewrite, so that you can dynamically rewrite URLs into a structure which seems more static, logical and meaningful. Not only will you get better coverage in search, you’ll also have massively improved site usability for people; with a URL structure that is easier to email, post in forums, and understand.
Look out for part 6 next week…