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View Full Version : [Web Design for Search Engines] a question about ? and &'s (dynamic sites)


dcdalton
05-14-2003, 09:15 PM
OK, you folks have helped me out a ton in my other post & the links and articles here have REALLY opened my eyes about my site rakings & what to do for my customers rankings. In the google forum I asked about Java servlet generated pages & the general conclusion was I am good. But now after reading quite a bit I see that the SEs dont like ? and & in the URLS...here's where I am truely stuck & could use some "intelligent advice". 99% of the pages on my site and my customers are generated via one program & in the links to all of these pages are the variables I am sending so I know what page to serv up.

Is what Ive been reading correct...are the SEs going to ignore all the links with ? and & ???? This would explain the horrible rankings for my site (along with a bunch of other goodies I have discovered in my reading) and the fact that none of my content has ever been indexed....just my main page & its gibberish.

Im started a total overhaul this weekend...soup to nuts & want to start off on the right foot. Ive alo looked at XQASP Java Servlet 2.2, 2.3 (http://xde.net/xq/sku.JavaXQaspV1/qx/index.htm) as a possible solution to my problem but before I shell out the cash I really need to get some definate answers on this problem & welcome all comments from you folks.

Once again thanks for all the great info..

DC Dalton
SCJP
www.dcddesigns.com

Steve_S
05-15-2003, 03:19 PM
Howdy :)

A few thoughts:

1. Run this string/search in Google and save it:


allinurl:+www.dcddesigns.com+site:www.dcddesigns.c om


You can see that this answers your question and your urls are fine as per your question. THis result is all the pages G has indexed. Natch, they could be on page 1 million for a given term search.

2. Your back links:

Google 42, AllTheWeb 48, AltaVista 6, AOL 0, MSN 8, HotBot 11 and Lycos 52 links.

However we have only scratched the surface on a very complex issue. My thoughts for you (some of which you obviously already know) and other thoughts for the benifit of others.

RE: http://www.dcddesigns.com/

Goal: Improve your rankings while maintiaining a clean UI and a nice design.

Optimizing a site for G and other SE is a delicate balance between usability and design + what works best with SE which today starts with G. Saying it another way, you can get tons of unqiues from G but if they don't convert because your UI and design are not good then your going to have problems. YOUR design a great :)

- Have a long term outlook
- ALL your title tags must start with your keywords. Get those puppies on the left hand side like this:

Keyword - Keyword at FunkyDuck. c o m

- Choose about 5 or 10 keywords for your space and build your pages/site around these keywords. Any SEO pro and even me (gasp) use http://www.wordtracker.com

- Submit to dmoz.org (The open directory project)

- Trade links with similar sites. Creat a seperate page for this which branches from your home and includes descriptions.

- Remove those links in the upper right corner of your home page unless they are linking back to you and stick them on your links/resources page

- I thought I saw a .swf splash page but in any case a spash page in Flash should be an interior page where you demonstrate your talents and not the first page they see.

-Keyword density. Others may do this differently and they can beat me up later :)

Assumption: target keywords: orange widgets

Use in the title tag on the left
Use once at the top of the page inside the copy, again in the middle, and finally at the bottom with 300 words of copy. Make one of them at the top a <h1> bold

-Try and make your site links keyword rich

- Use the title="Return To Our Home Page" inside your href links to improve usability and a slight boost

- Study your competition in Google. Continue to study them.

- Get yourself a stats program that can tell you which SE they used and the exact term which was used for this unique.

- G loves content. The more the better. This is hard to do for many sites. A page a day or at least a few new pages every week.

- Keep planing before your start the redesign. Iv'e got a similar issue on the other part of GV (not the forums) and I'm still planning.

<wew>

HTH

Other geeks thoughts please ?

Timo
05-16-2003, 06:55 AM
Hi,

Nice looking site. urls with ?'s are definitely ok in google :)

you need a robots txt
add a site map

While I am no SEO I do seem to have a knack for getting top listings in google so you can take the following how you wish :)

I took a look at one of your pages (logo design) for keyword density etc., and it needs a bit of work. Your Page title, url and copy isn't using the same phrase, and the copy on the page is a bit tenative making you wordy.

If I was targeting the phrase logo designs:

Page Title: DCDDesigns: Logo Designs
URL http://www.dcddesigns.com/servlet/PageServer?pageName=logodesigns
Article Title: Logo Designs

Get rid of phrases like "we feel" and "we try". It's great for increasing keyword/phrase density, and makes you sound more confident in your abilities.

We try to keep our logo designs simple yet powerful enough to convey the company's image

Get rid of the "we try to keep". 4 less keywords on the page and sounds more positive. If someone is paying you, I am sure they are expecting you to do more than try :)

Change to: Our logo designs are simple yet powerful....

As you will probably notice we like color, we feel it grabs the customer's attention.

get rid of "as you will probably notice" (wordy)
try and work in the phrase "logo designs", (keyword phrase)
get rid of "feel" and replace it with a more positive objective term like "our experience" or "research"

By the way these are great example of pop up windows

Get rid of that. Nothing to do with logos :) and it is diluting keywords/phrases.

Hope this helped

Tim

Steve_S
05-16-2003, 11:51 AM
WOW :) Great stuff Tim.

A few other issues. Some of which are a bit of a nit pick kinda things but given the time involved we should throw them into the pot. Natch, you can pass this stuff onto your clients and hopefully raise your rates at the same time :)

RE: http://www.dcddesigns.com

- Your "mark/logo" in the top left corner should link back to your home page and the alt tag should tell the visitor what it does and include a few keywords. Note: all images should have decriptive alt tags. I see most of yours do but wanted to make sure.

- Create a custom error page (not the default) and include your site map on this error page.

- Change to this at the bottom: Copyright 2001-2003. All rights reserved.

- Create a "Privacy" policy page and link. Since you are US based this should also include a COPPA statement. See mine for a rough idea :)

Good luck :)

dcdalton
05-16-2003, 04:17 PM
Wow you folks have REALLY opened my eyes & helped me see things that I never even gave a second glance to before. Im spending the next 2 days just re-doing this site RIGHT & then am going to start the new design. This site is WAY old & was thrown together in bits & pieces when I had time, now that I want it to be more of a primary business thing its going to be right OR ELSE.

Thanks for the compliment Tim, I liked the design when I first did it but to be honest Im SO bored with it....I really want to spiff up the graphics & really push it over the top (without messing up the marketability)....its just a touch drab looking. I do a lot of entertainment sites & those people want clitz & glamour so my "plain jane" approach tends to turn them off..

Ill be around, thats for sure..... I REALLY appreciate the input & like the open mindedness of this BB & the willingness to help....always glad to "return the favor" when possible..

Timo
05-17-2003, 01:41 PM
I was wondering about the role the /servlet/ played in your search engine rankings in google:

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&q=servlet+logos&btnG=Google+Search

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&q=servlet+logo+designs&btnG=Google+Search

look where you rank :D

Just wondering if you have to use servlets for your main entry pages? I would think that domain.com/logodesigns.jsp would rank higher than domain.com/servlet/PageServer?pageName=logodesigns.

Tim

dcdalton
05-17-2003, 01:46 PM
Im actually redoing it now so that the main entry page is html (yuck!) but if it helps Im willing to try it...

Wow that is an amazing ranking....how the heck did that happen?!?!?

I really am suprized at the indexing I have gotten considering how bad the layout & code really was. I get very little traffic (something I intend to fix) but when I do get traffic 90% of the time it comes from search engines.

Steve_S
05-17-2003, 02:25 PM
Interesting. Let's get really GEEKY :)

Please note: I'm in the middle of an article on this subject so some of the data in this post is a one time only exception to illustrate how wordtracker works. :) I respectfully hope folks understand as this stuff costs money and I will probably get a nasty email from a SEO Pro for giving away secrets :) I can understande this as choosing and building a site for the most popular keywords is the "holy grail" of SEO.



Both of those terms show zero hits in wordtracker:

To appear here, your keyword needs at least three
appearances in the last 347 million searches.

As opposed to these results which are sorted:

Keyword Count Predict Dig
web design 5888 5421
web site design 1761 1621
web page design 1419 1306
web design software 604 556
free web design 561 516
design web page 521 480
free web page design 372 342
web design uk 312 287
web site design uk 312 287
free web design software 267 246
web designs 262 241
web design tips 260 239
web page design software 244 225
affordable web design 241 222
http design group - web page des 221 203
web design london 218 201
uk web design 211 194
web design company 202 186

Next: From what I understand their is a slight...repeate slight advantage in placing everything in the top level of your domain like domain. c om/keyword.htm

However, for most of us thats not feasable from an organization standpoint and their is no significant benifit, so we do this:

domain.c o m/keyword_keyword/keyword_keyword.htm or .php etc

HTH

dcdalton
05-17-2003, 02:35 PM
What I am trying to do in the new version is to make the page name reflect the keywords that page represents...now that I know servlets are OK (thank heaven) I have gone to this format (or should I say I am going) www.dcddesigns.com/servlet/PageServer?pageName=Web_Site_Design, then the title tags of the pages will be Web_Site_Design by DCD Designs 4(my titles are generated by using the name of the text file I am reading for content so in this case the text file will be called Web_Site_Design.txt.

My only concern is, of course the _ 's - Cant have spaces in the file names on a Linux box running Java. Any comments?

Boy I thought I had a nice quiet weekend coming until you guys got my brain buzzing!

Steve_S
05-17-2003, 03:06 PM
IMHO their is no difference between:

keyword-keyword.html and keyword_keyword.html

The same holds true for the directory name so if you can replace /servlets/ with /keyword_keyword/

Title tags should have spaces between keywords

Study your competition at:

http://www.htmlhelp.com/

Chuckle: I already got a nice email telling me that this SEO stuff isn't worth money and their is no way to quantify the value ----chuckle.

Response for the emailer: Run a search in overture for "web design"

The top spot is paying $2.89 per click and the number 10 spot is paying 90 cents per click. Do the math for your rankings and you can see that in 6 months all this work could be worth thousands of dollars in targeted free traffic :)

HTH

:angel:

dcdalton
05-17-2003, 03:12 PM
Some people just dont get it. I teach programming at a NY area IT school & I see these types every day....you know the "roll your eyes" "why would I ever want to do that" type people.... I just snicker becuase some day reality will slap them right in the face!

As far as the /servets/ ....cant do that, that triggers the servlet engine into knowing its a servlet request coming in, not a standard html page. I could remap all of the servlets to names but really dont have the time for that right now!

Steve_S
05-17-2003, 03:24 PM
hahahah..........so true :) The emailer thanked us :)

Iv'e never done a symbolic link but this might work for you and permit you to change /servlet/ to /keyword_keyword/

I found this page:

http://hotwired.lycos.com/webmonkey/97/13/index4a_page2.html?tw=backend

HTH

dcdalton
05-17-2003, 03:31 PM
Actually the ability to do that is built right into the servlet engine, called a "servlet alias" but on this particular engine (Jakarta Tomcat) it is such a pain in the butt to set up its not even funny. Im getting a dedicated box next month (gonna start doing hosting) then I can play with these goodies without having to bother the hosting company...... one little bit at a time, but there is definately a method to my madness!

dcdalton
05-19-2003, 09:48 PM
Well I got SOME of it done this weekend , including a new streamlined coding & links that all reflect the keywords....also go the bad links out & those ones on the right out, since they didnt link back to me..... See what you think www.dcddesigns.com (http://www.dcddesigns.com)

BTW, Im dying to know how you find the backlinks you posted above !
2. Your back links:
Google 42, AllTheWeb 48, AltaVista 6, AOL 0, MSN 8, HotBot 11 and Lycos 52 links.



I also did some submitting but dmoz was having some "techinical" issues... I could have showrn I submitted to them but there was nothing there so I "tried again" ... I do know how important they are!

Timo
05-20-2003, 06:17 AM
Hi, :)

I looked at the logo designs page again and I can see the changes you have made. Much better! I think you are going to have to fit in "logo designs" a few more times in the page to improve your keyword density. You won't know for sure until the next update though.

Try and find your current rankings in Google and compare to your next update. Start a log to track changes in rankings.

Just looked at your meta tags and you need to slim them down to target the page. While many SE's do have problems with the ?'s, that can change any day so you might as well be ready for it.

<META NAME='Keywords' CONTENT='Web Site Design, Dynamic web pages, Logo Design, Custom Graphics, Web Site Management, Web Site Promotion Tools, Webmaster, HTML, D-HTML, XML, Java, JavaScripts, Visual Basic Applications, Sql, Oracle, CSS, HTML Tutorials, HTML Tips & Tricks, Photoshop Tutorials, Programming, Perl, Flash 5, Web Site Navigation, Web Site Load Time, Browser Wars'>

Consider removing nearly everything but logos, logo designs and related terms. No need for XML, Java, JavaScripts, Visual Basic Applications, Sql, Oracle etc...

DMOZ has had its problems of late. Don't worry, just keep trying to get in :) If you continue to have problems, e-mail the editor of your cat. Make sure to explain your problem, and include your site name, url, and desired description.

BTW you have a (sp) on http://www.dcddesigns.com/servlet/PageServer?pageName=Webmaster_Services

Content Changes-Updates Contact us with your requirements for a plan that is taylored to your needs.

hope this helps,

Tim

Steve_S
05-20-2003, 02:36 PM
Your back links may be obtained from:

http://www.marketleap.com/publinkpop/

Or, see my sig for another script which does this but on occassions gives funky results from Google. :)

Tip: When you get around to creating your links page and swapping/trading links, be very specific in what each partner gets if you can. The best way is to use a title link that is keyword rich and then a short description which is also keyword rich. This is sometimes refered to as your "anchor text"

Tip: I presume and hope you have chosen your keywords for your new design and SEO tweaks. Please be very very very :) carefull on how you use them and insure that it's an exact match. My other post in this thread listed some keywords by ranking so you might consider using:

web site design

Which is not the same as: Website Design

Google gives a lot of weight to your title tag and keyword density as the other geeks have mentioned.

If you are concerned about folks bookmarking your site and branding with your company name inlieu of this keyword rich title tags then consider a little JS sliver of bookmark me in JS for the real humans and not the bots.

Please don't get discouraged and take your time. :) If this stuff were easy and any Jane or Bob could do it then we wouldn't have a thriving SEO industry :)

I'm confident that once you complete this and see the improved results in a few months your clients will get a valuable service from you and your rates will increase :)

HTH

dcdalton
05-22-2003, 12:33 AM
Well I just spent the day redoing all of the keywords for the site to make sure of exact matches I pulled them right from the page copy. I have to tell you though Im really depressed with the results from that marketleap site's tools. I did key word checks on my major ones like web site design & have NO ranking anywhere on the freaking web....man talk about starting at the bottom of the barrel! OUCH!

I still have to get a site map & links page up, but did get a custom error page up...... Im really kind of curious about the links though. Everyone say links that relate to what you are doing, I take that as my competition so how the heck is that supposed to work. Or should I be linking to other sites that do tutorials & such?

I also see Googles pages are going nutzo with changes, my god one day I checked a clients site with the trick you showed me & it only had 1.5 pages of indexes....2 hours later there were 15 pages! Yikes.

I was also wondering something that might be a stupid question but Ill ask anyways...if Google is dancing once a month & it lasts for a week or so when the heck does it actually stabilize, for a week a month? If thats the case than it really is influx all the time to me & next to nothing is guaranteed.

Thanks again all.... learning a LOT here....I owe you all a big one

Timo
05-22-2003, 06:38 AM
Im really kind of curious about the links though. Everyone say links that relate to what you are doing, I take that as my competition so how the heck is that supposed to work. Or should I be linking to other sites that do tutorials & such?

Every web designer has his or her own personal style. So do potential clients. When a client goes to a webdesigners site, they either like what they see and add to their shortlist, or move on.

So look at exchanging links a different way. There are hundreds if not thousands of sites you could exchange links with, so concentrate on traffic that is more likey to convert into sales. I would think that someone visiting you via a link from a webdesign company is more likely interested in purchasing services than someone from a tutorial site. If you want to get into a tutorial site to increase your exposure, offer some articles with the provision they provide a link back to your site.

if Google is dancing once a month & it lasts for a week or so when the heck does it actually stabilize, for a week a month? If thats the case than it really is influx all the time to me & next to nothing is guaranteed.

Welcome to google :D

I believe google is testing a new algo with an older database, so there have been some dramatic shifts.

Google listings stabilize for about 3 to 4 weeks, then they go through the dance again. Yes it is in flux and nothing is guaranteed which is both a blessing and curse. It allows you to see the effects of your SEO much faster, get new pages listed faster etc. and great for the surfer who gets to see more up to date information.

The bummer is we all end up crossing our fingers every month as we watch google do her "jig", praying nothing bad happens to our listings.

dcdalton
05-31-2003, 12:08 AM
WELL folks I gotta tell you ALL how great this has been & for those unbelievers out there I say HOEY.

My traffic has doubled this week (which isnt saying much but it doubled) On several of the combos of keywords I have hit top 20
(try google website + designs + navigation) Im first page OH MY GOD ... I got my first ever "from a search engine" client in today (havent snagged it but a quote at least) ... all of my business to this point has always been word of mouth.

So it's started & YES folks I give credit where it is due... this BBS & the great folks who have helped out I am truly impressed & I still have a lot of your ideas to add to the site (no time this second) .... once again I tip my hat & say thanks a million....Im forever at your service

Timo
05-31-2003, 08:21 AM
My traffic has doubled this week

That's great news! Glad we could be of help. ;)

Steve_S
05-31-2003, 05:02 PM
Outstanding and congrats :) Please let us know when you have tweaked more of the site so we can all help.

<begin_tiisue>

Congrats to all in this thread. It's exactly what I was striving for and I could not be any happier. We have had a few others in the G forum which also reinforce our collective mission of quality and never quantity. :)

This thread is above and beyond many other Communities of which most are my competitors. :) I'm sorry to pound my chest a little, but the collective knowledge of a Community is such a powerfull force.

All Communities have pluses and minuses but anyone reading this thread will certainly be able to learn and monitor a site as we all continue to tweak for better SERPs.

<end_tissue>

:angel:

Nintendo
11-01-2003, 01:18 AM
if you have trouble geting any URLs indexed that have the ? and & in them, do mod_rewrite. Google will think there static URLs and crawl them as if they are static URLs.

jclarkkent2003
11-18-2003, 10:31 PM
IMHO their is no difference between:

keyword-keyword.html and keyword_keyword.html

The same holds true for the directory name so if you can replace /servlets/ with /keyword_keyword/

Title tags should have spaces between keywords



Question: Do the folder path and file name matter in search engine rankings? How much? Is there a formula out there on how google weighs all of the indiv. characteristics?

Say there's a link to index.php?keyword=anotherkeyword&lastkeyword

keyword = php variable
anotherkeyword = folder name
lastkeyword = file name

Will this be ranked higher than something like, index.php?notakeyword=filename

filename NOT being a keyword this time

Another Excellent question I keep forgetting to ask, does the url string length matter at all? Does google prefer shorter as opposed to longer strings (folder paths and file names)?

What about domains? I know domains play a major role in one's rankings, and games.c o m is worth a whole lot, but what about something like 0games.c o m, will google look as closely on it? what about zgames. c o m or anything like 007games. co m ?

if you have trouble geting any URLs indexed that have the ? and & in them, do mod_rewrite. Google will think there static URLs and crawl them as if they are static URLs.

How does one' do a mod rewrite?

Thanks.

Jack
11-19-2003, 05:53 PM
Question: Do the folder path and file name matter in search engine rankings? How much? Is there a formula out there on how google weighs all of the indiv. characteristics?

There is no publically known formula as Google and other engines do not want everyone to know exactly how they rate sites. We do have general knowledge of how much each part counts though.

In terms of everything 'in the address bar' including file names, paths, and domain name keywords, yes it does help some. However, it is not incredibly important. I expect it to actually be of less importance in the future as anyone can design a site that spams keywords in the domain/file names.

Say there's a link to index.php?keyword=anotherkeyword&lastkeyword

keyword = php variable
anotherkeyword = folder name
lastkeyword = file name

Will this be ranked higher than something like, index.php?notakeyword=filename

filename NOT being a keyword this time

Anything past the ? in a URL does not count as a keyword to Google. You can tell this by looking at results Google shows. It will not bold anything after the ?.

Another Excellent question I keep forgetting to ask, does the url string length matter at all? Does google prefer shorter as opposed to longer strings (folder paths and file names)?

I've never read any good article on this so I can't tell you for sure. However, I always design my sites to have as short URL strings as possible as I worry about this being a factor.

What about domains? I know domains play a major role in one's rankings, and games.c o m is worth a whole lot, but what about something like 0games.c o m, will google look as closely on it? what about zgames. c o m or anything like 007games. co m ?

No, domains do not play a major role IMO. They provide a small boost, but they are in no way necessary. Also, to receive any benefit from keywords in domains, there must be a dash between them. For example, 007games.com will receive no boost for the keyword games. 007-games.com would though. However, once again, the domain's value in my opinion has been overstated in the community.

The thing not as many people realize about domains though is that if you name your site after your primary keywords, it is much more likely to get someone to link to you with the keywords within the link text. Keywords in the link text are huge in determining your Google ranking.

jclarkkent2003
11-19-2003, 06:29 PM
Originally posted by Jack
There is no publically known formula as Google and other engines do not want everyone to know exactly how they rate sites. We do have general knowledge of how much each part counts though.

In terms of everything 'in the address bar' including file names, paths, and domain name keywords, yes it does help some. However, it is not incredibly important. I expect it to actually be of less importance in the future as anyone can design a site that spams keywords in the domain/file names.



Anything past the ? in a URL does not count as a keyword to Google. You can tell this by looking at results Google shows. It will not bold anything after the ?.



I've never read any good article on this so I can't tell you for sure. However, I always design my sites to have as short URL strings as possible as I worry about this being a factor.



No, domains do not play a major role IMO. They provide a small boost, but they are in no way necessary. Also, to receive any benefit from keywords in domains, there must be a dash between them. For example, 007games.com will receive no boost for the keyword games. 007-games.com would though. However, once again, the domain's value in my opinion has been overstated in the community.

The thing not as many people realize about domains though is that if you name your site after your primary keywords, it is much more likely to get someone to link to you with the keywords within the link text. Keywords in the link text are huge in determining your Google ranking.

So keywords in link text on other sites is the MAIN determinate?

What else plays MAJOR, and what are the MINOR roles? I need to benifit from ALL the major and even ALL the minor if i'm ever going to get a top ranking for the keywords "arcade games"

so if i put a - in between my words in the domain name it will rank higher? so 007arcadegames won't pick up when arcade games is searched? ever?

Jack
11-20-2003, 02:36 AM
So keywords in link text on other sites is the MAIN determinate?

One of the biggest. It also takes into account keyword text links pointing to pages on your site too though.

What else plays MAJOR, and what are the MINOR roles? I need to benifit from ALL the major and even ALL the minor if i'm ever going to get a top ranking for the keywords "arcade games"

Major Roles:

Text within links pointing to your pages
Text within your title tag
Text within H tags (as in H1, etc)
Text within bold tags
The major keywords used on pages that linked to your site
Text within no tags on your site (body of the site)

Minor Roles (stuff you can ignore):

Text within your domain name
Text within the file path or file name
Text within your meta keywords or meta description (of no importance for some engines)

so if i put a - in between my words in the domain name it will rank higher? so 007arcadegames won't pick up when arcade games is searched? ever?

I stated in the my other post that I believe keywords within the domain name are highly overrated. I definitely do not think it is needed nor a reason to change your domain name. You are correct, 007arcadegames does not count for arcade games. It would have to be 007-arcade-games.com to count for arcade games.