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This is my first post so apologies in advance if my words come across as the ramblings of a complete newbie...that's because they are.
I have spent the last couple of days reading posts on this forum and I have learnt a lot but at the same time probably have more questions now than before I started reading...
Also my questions relate to php, urls and seo but all in the context of a directory I am having built - which is why I am posting here - sorry if this is the wrong place.
OK - so I am having a directory built by developers using PHP. My directory has a 3 level taxonomy - category, subcategory and classification. I want my directory to be primarily human friendly whilst being as SE friendly as possible.
it does not matter which option in the select menu that the user picks, the above url does not change (although the results obviously do)
I thought it would be better if the category was reflected in the URL and my developer told me that I could have
www.example.co.uk/index.php?categoryname or www.example.co.uk/?categoryname
What I would really like is to be able to have www.example.co.uk/categoryname and my research on here so far suggests that you do this by using Mod Rewrite so
Q2 - Is this correct? Is Mod rewrite the way to do it and can someone please point me to the best thread about how to go about doing this? and If I have a lot of categories/classifications does each one need to be rewritten individually or can it be done automatically? Also would I be rewriting to example.co.uk/categoryname.html or .php? or no ending at all
Now the above example is what happens when a user chooses a category (Level 1), but I also need to know the best way to deal with drilling down further. so...
Q3 - is it better to have:
what are the pros and cons I should be considering here?
As all my directory pages are dynamically generated, I am also confused about how google and other search engines deal with this. The data on the page www.example.com/categoryname is dynamically generated and therefore the page is basically empty until the point that data is called so
Q4 - Does googlebot etc call dynamic data in the same way that a user would and therefore will the data in the database be accessible to google? What factors should I be considering bearing in mind I want to be as SE friendly as possible and I would like my categories and classifications and directory listings listed in google etc
Finally, I have some concerns about how I sync the values in my 3 select menus with their respective text links. so..
Q5 - if a user types in www.example.co.uk/categoryname how do I get this to have the same effect as choosing the categoryname from the select menu and when the page loads, can I get the select menu to display that category name in the menu automaticaly.
Phew. Sorry for the rant and if you have read this far you already have my gratitude.
[edited by: Webwork at 7:34 pm (utc) on July 30, 2008]
[edit reason] We use "Example.com" since no one can "own" Example.com [/edit]
My directory has 'types of widgets' split into 'subregion' then 'city or town.
The underlying queries are something like this:
However we do use modrewrite to rewrite the urls. Our actual links work like this:
Which modrewrite rewrites to be the full url above. It does that transparently and internally.
I'm not a directory expert, but I would suggest either using a modrewrite like that primarily for ease of use by users, not Google. My guess is dynamically generated URL's aren't a huge deal.
I think your focus should be on two things:
- custom built program, not an off the shelf script
- be very careful about who you link out to. LInk out only to top quality sites.