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Search Engine Friendly Web Development – Part 1

When it comes to designing a website many developers don’t put any thought into how the search engines work. This really is poor in this day and age. There is little point to a nice flashy looking website if it won’t get indexed or found when searching in Google. You could liken it to buying a nice shinny car without an engine; it looks the part but doesn’t go.

Doing the design is pretty much common sense, don’t use too many contrasting colours, and don’t have too much moving or flashy text. Make sure all the content is easily found linking off the home page or each section anyway. Ensure that you don’t have to click more than 3 times to find something as this could put people off. The best bet is to look for good sites and get ideas off them. There is little point redesigning the wheel that works perfectly well. Obviously you can’ outright copy other websites but you can certainly use their template design but your own design logo on this.

Many web developers use flash which is fine and dandy for a banner on your site but if the whole site is built in flash then it will never work properly in search engines. Search engines like Google analyse text which is fine for a site built out of XHMTL, php or asp, but for flash build websites all the text is hidden within the flash code which cannot be read by search engines.

E-commerce stores, forums, blogs or any content management system will be database driven. Web developers don’t seem to realise is that database driven sites can be search engine friendly, but many developers don’t even think about this in the development stage. There are two types of URLs dynamic and static. A dynamic URL is a page address that is the result from the search of a database driven website or a web page that runs a script to display the data. Static URLs are from web pages that stay the same and have been hard-coded using HTML. The difference between them is obvious when you look at them visually. See below to see the difference

Dynamic URL: http: //www.website-domain/07vacancydetails.php?vacancyid=AB11416

Static URL: http: //www.website-domain/Event-Excecutive-Vacancy-London.php

You can see the difference immediately. The static URL actually describes what the page is about whereas the dynamic URL is just a number and tells us little except it is a vacancy detail. If this is telling you what a page is about, imagine what it’s telling the search engine… the same. Simple really.

The trouble with dynamic URLs apart from the obvious is that search programs like Google, Yahoo and Bing don’t like them as much as static URLs or search engine friendly URLs. Now search engines are getting better at indexing dynamic URLs but in search engine terms you can’t beat a search engine friendly URL. So what is the solution?

Now because database driven sites are generally large it would be quite a task to go in and change them all manually but you don’t have too. As long as your site is hosted on a Linux server you can make use of the Apache ModRewrite Rule which gives you the ability to redirect one URL to another. There is plenty of help on the internet about implementing this rule and every web developer should be learning it.

See Search Engine Friendly Web Development Part 2.

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