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Converting From Static To Dynamic Site
Posted 24 September 2003 - 10:58 AM
I am new to this forum, have been doing a lot of reading and have learned a ton.
Here is my question.
We are in the process of deciding if we should redesign our current static URL. We have very good rankings for our best keyphrases but the look is old. It looks like their are many issues in converting to a database driven site. Are they outlined anywhere. I want to make sure our design team is aware of as much as possible before they begin.
Thanks in advance for any help.
Posted 24 September 2003 - 11:07 AM
If your site is establishes as you say this is something you may want to look into.
Otherwise you should use 301 redirects to point your old URLs to your new ones through mod_rewrite.
Posted 24 September 2003 - 11:10 AM
When you say "We are in the process of deciding if we should redesign our current static URL" are you referring to re-designing the site?
If so one thing to consider is your file structure. If you have several pages listed in a search engine and receive incoming traffic at those sub pages, you should try if possible to keep your file structure the same. I have seen many a time where a site is redesigned with all new pages, deleting old pages and creating new ones with new file names and then all of the old pages that were listed in a search engine were dropped eventually because they would return a 404 page not found error. It will be like starting over because now you have to get all the new pages indexed.
Also if you are already doing well for your key phrases, you may want to try to keep the same title and meta description tags as well as your content in the new site.
Finally DO NOT use session ids. These are basically tracking URLs that will change with each new visitor. They look something like this:
The id will change each time. In my experience, SEs will not index these.
You said you're already getting good rankings and in most cases the old adage holds true "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Web site designs need to be updated though but in doing so, you take the risk that your rankings could fall, stay the same or improve.
Just a few things to keep in mind.
Good luck at it.
Posted 24 September 2003 - 12:36 PM
Thanks for the quick reply's. I'll look into your suggestions.
Yes, looks like the decision to design a new site (more pleasant to look at and database driven) has been made. I need to make sure our high rankings remain intact and understand al the issues involved.
Posted 24 September 2003 - 02:15 PM
Two quick points, if I could?
First, there is nothing wrong in using Session ID's or, alternatively, cookies to track a visitor through your site. That's one of the really big advantages of a dynamically generated site, and in at least some instances (like a shopping cart), it's inevitable. The trick is not to avoid session tracking, but to NOT REQUIRE session tracking. A spider will never go anywhere on a site where tracking is vital (like that shopping cart), but should not be barred entrance to less vital areas. When a page is requested that is expecting a Session ID, it should still be displayable even if the Session ID isn't available.
Second, you're at a point in the redesign where the most important consideration is your database design. It will become the foundation for everything that follows. Make sure that the fields you know you'll need for effective SEO are built into the system. Obvious ones are Title, Keywords and Description, things that will eventually be employed in the generated page. Less obvious ones are fields that will only be used to help you manage an SEO campaign.
Posted 24 September 2003 - 02:49 PM
Good point Ron.
... there is nothing wrong in using Session ID's or, alternatively, cookies to track a visitor through your site. That's one of the really big advantages of a dynamically generated site, and in at least some instances (like a shopping cart), it's inevitable. The trick is not to avoid session tracking, but to NOT REQUIRE session tracking. A spider will never go anywhere on a site where tracking is vital (like that shopping cart), but should not be barred entrance to less vital areas. When a page is requested that is expecting a Session ID, it should still be displayable even if the Session ID isn't available.
The scenario I was referring to is when you visit a home page, and if you look through the source code, every "href" tag leading to a sub page already has a session id # coded in. We have a client like this in which we have been performing a SEM campaign for well over a year. None of their sub pages have been crawled to date with the exception of WISEnut. We have told them again and again to either get rid of the session ids or not require them but to no avail. Their rankings stink for that site. They have several other sites with different products and brands that do not use session ids and they do quite well.
We have another client who also uses session ids but does not require them so spiders are able to and have crawled hundreds of their pages.
So thanks Ron for pointing that out. :yay:
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