Dynamic URL

Dynamic URLs or dynamic sites are generated at the moment a user submits a search query. Unlike static websites, they are not stored as a whole on the relevant server, but are generated with the stored data on the server and an application. A program or application accesses a database and a website is created based on the request of the user. Dynamic URLs are mainly used in web forms, product lists, sessions or interactive websites.

General information

URL parameters differentiate a dynamic URL from a static URL. These are value parameter pairs which are passed through the URL directly to the server and serve to dynamically retrieve content from a database. The individual query determines the parameters to be used. Whether it is a static or a dynamic URL can be recognized by the typical dynamic URLs HTML special characters? =&. Typical programs or platforms for creating dynamic content are JavaScript, PHP, Java EE (formerly Java Server Pages) or Microsoft’s platform NET (Active Server Pages).

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Practical relevance

An example of a dynamic URL:

 http://www.domain.com/category/article.php?language=de&inhalt=dynamic-url

In the above example, a dynamic website is generated, which shows the content of a page item in a specific category. It is a product list, which is created at the moment of a user search query. One reason that dynamic URLs are used here could be that whether products are currently available or not is an important factor. Users ideally do not want to see products that are not available.

Importance for search engine optimization

Dynamic websites are quite common and in many cases are known as best practice. However, search engine crawlers cannot always assign dynamic URLs or interpret them correctly. To be SEO compliant, different aspects of search engine optimization must be observed, so that crawl ability, in other words accessibility for the crawler, is ensured.[1]

1.) Using dynamic URLs can quickly lead to duplicate content, because the same content is accessible under different URLs. This can be remedied with canonical tags or blocking of parameters in the Google Search Console. Redirects or the mod-rewrite module are recommendable.

2.) Dynamic URLs are said to have the disadvantage of poorer click-through rates in search result pages. The search engines continuously learn and improve, however, and in many cases can cope with a dynamic URL quite well. But that depends on what parameters are being used and how useful they are.

3.) Semantic aspects should be observed when using dynamic URLs, because while static URL content is described with keywords, this is often not the case with dynamic URLs. It is recommended to generate dynamic page titles, keywords and descriptions of content for a dynamic website in the meta section of the site.

4.) In the production of dynamic content, search engine friendly distinction of content must be strictly observed. The code should be kept lean. Unnecessary parameters should be removed. The URLs should be as short as possible, even if there is no limit to the number of parameters. Moreover, no important parameters should be hidden, for example, by rewriting them into static URLs with information loss.

5.) It is important to avoid dynamic URLs for certain applications. Menus, navigation or footer links should be implemented statically, so that a search engine can interpret these links correctly, otherwise link juice may be lost. The same goes for text boxes, of which the content is only accessible via scripts. In individual cases, the guidelines of the search engine operators may be helpful.

References

  1. Dynamic URLs vs. Static URLs - The Best Practice for SEO is Still Clear. moz.com. Accessed on 03/19/2014

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