23rd September 2008

Dynamic Vs. Static URLs confusion

posted in Google |

Nice URL.

What they said:

Google’s help document, “Creating a Google-friendly URL structure” currently says:

Consider organizing your content so that URLs are constructed logically and in a manner that is most intelligible to humans (when possible, readable words rather than long ID numbers). For example, if you’re searching for information about aviation, a URL like http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aviation will help you decide whether to click that link. A URL like http://www.example.com/index.php?id_sezione=360&sid=3a5ebc944f41daa6f849f730f1, is much less appealing to users.

Overly complex URLs, especially those containing multiple parameters, can cause a problems for crawlers by creating unnecessarily high numbers of URLs that point to identical or similar content on your site. As a result, Googlebot may consume much more bandwidth than necessary, or may be unable to completely index all the content on your site

They also say on their “Dynamic Pages” help article:

If you’re concerned that your dynamically generated pages are being ignored, you may want to consider creating static copies of these pages for our crawler

What they do:

The articles above are found at the URLs:
http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=76329&t [screenshot]
http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=34431&ctx=sibling [screenshot]

I don’t know about you, as you’re probably smarter than me, but intuitively “76329″ does not mean Google friendly URLs, and “34431″ doesn’t scream click me for information on Dynamic URLs.

What they say now:

In their latest blog post “Dynamic URLs vs. static URLs” they have taken a different position.

Providing search engines with dynamic URLs should be favored over hiding parameters to make them look static.

One recommendation is to avoid reformatting a dynamic URL to make it look static

I don’t know what to think now. I don’t want to rip an author as my own blog tagline is “Terrible writing and mere conjecture” but this blog post looks like both. It appears that they are trying to help people who cannot figure out URL writing and saying not to worry about it, but it is written so obtusely that anyone that cannot rewrite URLs surely isn’t going to understand that article. The fact that they contradict all previous documentation only further confuses me.

I think I’ll wait for this shit storm to settle out but for now I am going to abide by the old axiom of designing your site for users and not search engines and as a user I am much more likely to understand what:
Is about than:

Since Google cannot figure out that a page which lists every article on the site is indeed a sitemap I cannot believe that they can figure out how to handle session IDs and numeric references to pages either.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008 at 11:34 am and is filed under Google. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. All comments are subject to my NoFollow policy. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

There are currently 2 responses to “Dynamic Vs. Static URLs confusion”

Why not let me know what you think by adding your own comment! All the cool kids are doing it.

  1. 1 MyAvatars 0.2 On September 23rd, 2008, John Honeck "JLH" said:


    Matt Cutts said things a bit clearer with:

    “Yup, monchito. WayneSmallman, in my opinion what this post says is “We do a solid job on sites with dynamic parameters, and lots of people make mistakes when they try to rewrite their urls to look static, so you might want to try the dynamic parameter route because that can work quite well.”
    In essence, it’s Google saying “We’ll come to webmasters and the natural way to write dynamic parameters rather than asking you to rewrite everything as static if you don’t want to.” So we’re trying to come closer to webmasters, not wanting webmasters to necessarily move toward us. If you already have a site and it’s doing well the way that it currently is–great. In that case, you probably don’t need to change anything. But if you’re starting a new site, it’s worth considering staying with dynamic parameters instead of doing large amounts of rewrites (which some webmasters do in unusual ways that don’t always work well in search engines). That’s my take, at least.
    It’s not like either choice would get you penalized in Google; all of this is just advice to give more information to webmasters when they’re making their choice of site architecture.”


    Maybe the writing is more to blame than the content.

  2. 2 MyAvatars 0.2 On September 24th, 2008, Data Entry said:

    I think that is a good idea John. When in doubt, do without! By the way, site looks good.

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