When I develop a dynamic website I usually use ASP and XML/XSL using a query string or cookie to pass parameters. I now need to create a very search engine friendly dynamic site which involves passing parameters without using a '?' :( . Does anyone know of any software I can use to help build a dynamic website and will not use ? marks.
I am using a SQL with VB but I don't quite understand how I stop the ? mark. I need to do this because no search engine crawls pages after the ? parameter in the URL (except Google, however, I've still not seen evidence of this).
Your choices are to try a mod_rewrite on Apache servers (you'd need to check with your hosting company regarding availability of that option) or you could try either XQ ASP at [xde.net...] or ASP Spider Bait (a bit cheaper) at [webanalyst.com.au...]
Hope that helps, you'll end up with ugly URL's but an entire site that can be spidered.
We faced this very problem when we redesigned our site last year. The outside designers were all gung-ho about having only 2 .asp pages and have all the graphics, html templates and content picked out by the query string. From the design and maintenance perspective, that's super, but if you want to show up in search engines other than Google it's a problem.
We ended up compromising and creating about 70 basic template pages (for different sections of the site) that were identifiable for search engines. The server side asp in each of these pages calls the content from the db just as the query string would. Every important section's "intro" page is indexable this way, but we still use query strings for pages deeper in the site and esp. for content that appears in multiple places on the site. With the query strings, the site has about 800 distinct urls reachable through those 70 template pages.
It seems to have worked, and browsers can still find us via a great variety of queries in most of the good SEs.
txbakers: Wouldn't you want spiders to go deep into your site so there will be more kinds of queries people can type into an SE and find you? More indexable content means more words to match. Since SEs pretty much ignore keywords and use the text and <TITLE>, I think the more the merrier -- especially if you have a site that is aimed at different audiences who would find you even though they are searching for very different things. Oh, it's time for me to clock out...