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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:
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.