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Monday, April 10, 2006

FAQ: Does PHP Hurt Search Engine Ranking?

Posted by @ 9:19 pm
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PHP stands for “PHP Hypertext Preprocessor”, and is an open source scripting language used to create database-driven, dynamic Web content. PHP is an HTML-embedded scripting language, and therefore can be inserted into the HTML of a Web page. In functionality, PHP is similar to ASP (active server page technology).

As such, the search engine optimization techniques regarding optimization of dynamic pages apply to PHP pages. While most search engines have become quite good at finding and indexing dynamic pages, not all search engines support dynamic pages to the extent you would wish for – they might have trouble reading multiple query strings within the URL. So while it generally should make no difference to your search engine ranking whether your page is in HTML or PHP, you might want to use HTML if you want to be on the safe side. Alternatively, try and ensure that your dynamic pages use as few dynamic parameters as possible and try and keep them as short as possible.

For example, instead of

http://www.yoursite.com/products/overview.php?color=123345&?size=XL?&style=345?&fabric=suede556

the URL

http://www.yoursite.com/products/overview.php?item=brown-suede-jacket&size=XL

should be easier to crawl for search engine spiders. A detailed HTML sitemap should also help prevent any crawling problems.

Another option is to use a “mod_rewrite” to convert a dynamically generated URL into a search engine friendly static HTML version. Consult your favorite PHP site on how to do this.

Many webmasters use an include file to propagate meta data (i.e. the meta tags for title, keywords and description) throughout all pages generated from a database. This is not ideal as meta data should be unique and relevant to an individual page. While it does require additional effort and code to store the meta tags within the database, in most cases it is worth the effort.









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