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Weekly SEO news: 7 November 2006
Welcome to the latest issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter.

This week, we're taking a look at dynamically created pages and how Google deals with them since November 2006.

In the news: A new service offers information about other web sites, the Windows file mshmlt.dll causes problems, is a new AdWords alternative and more.

Table of contents:

We hope that you enjoy this newsletter and that it helps you to get more out of your website. Please pass this newsletter on to your friends.

Best regards,
Andre Voget, Johannes Selbach, Axandra CEO

1. Dynamically created pages and Google's new way to deal with them

Dynamically created web pages often cause problems with search engines. If your web pages are dynamically created, it's likely that many search engines have difficulty to index them.

Why have search engines problems with dynamically created pages?

Many search engines don't like dynamically created pages because they might get in an infinite loop if they follow some dynamically created pages.

Google has an official statement about this in its webmaster guidelines:

"If you decide to use dynamic pages (i.e., the URL contains a "?" character), be aware that not every search engine spider crawls dynamic pages as well as static pages. It helps to keep the parameters short and the number of them few."

What did Google change?

Until November, Google had the following statement in its webmaster guidelines:

"Don't use "&id=" as a parameter in your URLs, as we don't include these pages in our index."

This entry has been removed from Google's guidelines. Here's the official statement from Google's blog:

"[Google now indexes] URLs that contain that parameter. So if your site uses a dynamic structure that generates it, don't worry about rewriting it -- we'll accept it just fine as is.

Keep in mind, however, that dynamic URLs with a large number of parameters may be problematic for search engine crawlers in general, so rewriting dynamic URLs into user-friendly versions is always a good practice when that option is available to you.

If you can, keeping the number of URL parameters to one or two may make it more likely that search engines will crawl your dynamic urls."

What does this mean to your web site?

If you have a dynamically created web site that uses only one or two parameters to create web pages then it's likely that Google can index your web pages without problems.

If you use more parameters then you should rewrite your URLs. Rewriting your URLs makes sure that most search engines will be able to index your site.

If you cannot rewrite your URLs then it helps if at least one stable link points to a dynamically created page. If a web page can be found through a direct link then it is more likely that search engines index that page.

If you want to find out how Google's search engine spider sees your web pages, take a look at IBP's search engine spider simulator. The spider simulator is available in IBP's free demo version and it allows you to check your web pages with any search engine spider.

2. Search engine news of the week
A new service offers information about other web sites

SnapShot is a new service that publishes information about websites. It is similar to Alexa's service but it uses another database. You can use SnapShop to get information about the number of visitors of a web site and other information.

Problems with mshtml.dll

Some users have reported problems with the file mshtml.dll. It seems that the Windows auto update feature updates the mshtml.dll file and that Internet Explorer 6 requires a special version of that file.

If you get an mshtml.dll error message while using the IBP ranking checker or other applications then either reinstall Internet Explorer 6 or install the new Internet Explorer 7 version. That will solve the problem.

Yahoo's search crawler now upports wildcards in robots.txt

"You can now use '*' in robots directives for Yahoo! Slurp to wildcard match a sequence of characters in your URL. You can use this symbol in any part of the URL string you provide in the robots directive."

Search engine newslets

3. Articles of the week

Barnett takes 2nd turn vs. Google

    "Unlike Google, which charges advertisers on a per-click basis, Turn relies on a cost-per-action scheme. It charges advertisers only if users take desired actions, such as filling out registration forms or closing on sales."

New data on search marketing click fraud: Three action items

"We asked marketers if they were monitoring their fraud levels or not and if they were terribly concerned about it. Only 9% were worried that 'click fraud will only get worse.' On the other hand, only 20% said click fraud was a non-issue or on its way to becoming a non-issue." becoming the search engine that could
    "The butler is dead, the name has been tweaked, but executives at would like to remind the world that they are still very much in business."

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4. Recommended resources

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Scott Bigler, Visual Online Data

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