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  1. #1
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    SEO and querystrings?
    I'm working on some new flypaper for a site. It's going to be my first foray into AJAX (Asynchronous Javascript and XML).

    I have plans to let people link to the page they create with the AJAX app through the querystring.

    Is "ajaxapp.asp" the same as "ajaxapp.asp?parameter=value&parameter2=value2" in the eyes of the search engines?

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador PatrickAllmond's Avatar
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    You will probably be told the same thing I keep being told; It is the exact same page. The querystring does not change the name of the page.

    I was going to say that mod_rewrite for apache is your option but then I see you are using asp which probably means you are using IIS (probable, but not 100%). I don't know what the mod_rewrite equivalent is for IIS.
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  3. #3
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    ISAPI Rewrite for IIS

  4. #4
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    Well, Google's cached 3 different versions of the page with different content and querystrings as 3 different pages.

    No need to rewrite.

  5. #5
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    I'm telling Cutts on you!
    I have unlimited access...

  6. #6
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    huh?

  7. #7
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Matt Cutts, the guy from G who posts in forums and is the G face most online pro's know and can contact. Adam was kidding about telling (but not about the access he has).

    Careful what value pairs you use, for instance G doesn't index &id=123. And it's usually better to avoid the "what if's" and go with dynamic mod_rewrite type page naming schemes. This can also allow you to change your database numbering schema later (maintaining your noun naming conventions that are indexed) without seo penalty. There are other advantages as well, mostly having to do with url keyword stuffing and human mood effects of seeing / remembering / writing / sharing your page names.

  8. #8
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by patrick24601
    You will probably be told the same thing I keep being told; It is the exact same page. The querystring does not change the name of the page.
    I'm not sure what you're getting at here. The querystring can and usually does change the name of the page. I have one php script that represents hundreds of thousands of pages. Each has completely different titles and content.

    Quote Originally Posted by Donuts
    Careful what value pairs you use, for instance G doesn't index &id=123. And it's usually better to avoid the "what if's" and go with dynamic mod_rewrite type page naming schemes. This can also allow you to change your database numbering schema later (maintaining your noun naming conventions that are indexed) without seo penalty. There are other advantages as well, mostly having to do with url keyword stuffing and human mood effects of seeing / remembering / writing / sharing your page names.
    Of course Google indexes &id=123.

    In my experience it really doesn't matter if you use a query string or keyword stuffed URL. Most of my URL's are something like prod.php?id=1234 and I've had no problem at all indexing these pages. In an ideal world Google should accept a url with quite a few querystring variables, but I think they will stop indexing after about 4 or 5 query string variables. They have improved this at least. I remember a couple years ago Google would only index pages with 2-3 query string variables. So the way things are going it's becomming less and less necessary to worry about your query strings. Both Yahoo and MSN seem to work the same way. I've never had a problem getting these URL's indexed.

    - Scott
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  9. #9
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snib
    Of course Google indexes &id=123.

    http://www.google.com/support/webmas...y?answer=35769

    Webmaster Guidelines
    Technical guidelines

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Don't use "&id=" as a parameter in your URLs, as we don't include these pages in our index.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

  10. #10
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    My pages in question have long, multi-parameter querystrings.

    I don't use "ID=" on my content pages, those pages use a more descriptive parameter and each seems to be recognized by Google as unique content. But of the dozen and a half content pages on this site, there's only four of them in G's cache.

  11. #11
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Checked both site:www.mydomain.com and site:mydomain.com
    Checked other G datacenters?
    How long have they been published?
    Reviewed your robots.txt file lately?
    Got backlinks to them somewhere (nav scheme likely does this)?

    Might still not be indexed from other issues, but I wondered about these standard items.

  12. #12
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donuts
    http://www.google.com/support/webmas...y?answer=35769

    Webmaster Guidelines
    Technical guidelines

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Don't use "&id=" as a parameter in your URLs, as we don't include these pages in our index.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    That's very strange that they would say this. Especially when you do a search for inurl:id= and you see a couple billion results. Maybe they're talking about session id URLs? I know they don't like to index pages that include a session variable.

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  13. #13
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    It's likely outdated then, this is why I was referring to it as avoiding "what ifs"... what if it's not outdated... anyhow, it's a simple thing to avoid anything but "id" and so I made it a practice and since it says so in their guidelines still, I've stuck with it over time (even though like you, I can see results apparently to the contrary)

  14. #14
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donuts
    It's likely outdated then, this is why I was referring to it as avoiding "what ifs"... what if it's not outdated... anyhow, it's a simple thing to avoid anything but "id" and so I made it a practice and since it says so in their guidelines still, I've stuck with it over time (even though like you, I can see results apparently to the contrary)
    I don't specifically use the variable "id", but there are quite a few sites that do. What Google may be referring to is the & before the id. Maybe they're saying they won't index any pages that have more than a single query string variable. Because in most cases its ?id= rather than &id=. I do have fewer pages indexed that include & in the URL, but that's mostly because those pages have fewer internal links. So maybe it is outdated.

    - Scott
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