How Dynamic Web Pages Rank in Search Engines vs Static Web Pages

The internet used to consist solely of HTML or static web pages, i.e., web pages that are not changed before being displayed in a web browser. However, now dynamic web pages are the norm when a shopping cart is involved.

What are Dynamic pages?

In order to generate dynamic pages it requires a script program such as ASP, PHP or CMF to generate instructions to call up and construct the dynamic pages after the surfer inputs some data in a search engine. The cart software collects all the different bits of information for the product searched for (the description, images, size, color chart, price, etc.) and assembles everything as the browser loads the page. Those pages may change depending on the search terms.

The best type of shopping cart will have Software that is SEO Friendly that will make it easier to take care of these problems for you. Dynamic pages often use characters in their URL which prevent the search engines from reading and indexing the data on that page, i.e., "&id=". They also often utilize Session IDs in the URLs which, if not properly written, will prevent search engines from following links on that page (or cause an inflated page count).

If you are familiar with using HTACCESS you can rewrite the URLs. There are other ways of getting around this but it requires special software. You can find more info on session IDs on WebMasterWorld's forum: Can Google crawl ASPX pages?

What are Static Pages

Static pages are designed with html and are not drawn up from bits and pieces from a search query. Many years ago search engines could not surf dynamic pages and thus items on such sites were not listed in search engines but today most search engines, like Google and Bing, are able to do so. However it takes longer for them to index all the data.

If there are thousands of products you need to make sure you don't set up products with duplicate titles or descriptions, as it can cause duplicate content issues and affect ranking. You can use canonical tags to let the search engines know which version of the page is the one you want to rank well

Changing Dynamic Pages to HTML

Dynamic pages can be turned into static pages on simple shopping carts so the search engines will list the pages, but here again, you need to be concerned with duplicate content issues. See also: other technology blockers.

When I design a website with a small shopping cart I often set up the website separate from the cart, listing each product on a separate page, then link those items to the cart, so the products have a better chance of ranking. The descriptions on the website will need to be different than those in the cart, however. This won't work for a site with thousands of products however.

Lori Eldridge
© July 5, 2001 updated 1-12-19
All rights reserved.

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