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Are you working on fixing the issues with session ids?

     
11:10 am on Jul 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I have a client site that uses session Idís for every page after the home page, even pages that are not database driven.

Checking search engine indexing in Google most pages other than the home page have been indexed with session idís and moved to Supplemental results

Iíve pointed this out and suggested they stop the use of session idís. However the site is developed by a large template based web developer and it doesnít look like theyíll be able to change the way things work for a long time.

Short of moving the site, which is an option Iíve told them to consider, what else could they do? Iíve suggested a couple of things to think about Ė

Duplicate page content on static pages that do not use session idís. If they are able to do this should we use a robot.txt file (or robot meta tags if the structure of the file canít be changed easily) to keep the engines from trying to index the other page copies that use session ids?

Detect engine bots and serve a page version with no session id? If they can do this is this something that might make the search engines think they are spamming?

Wait for the situation to change. Are the search engines like Google working on fixing the issues with session ids?

12:32 pm on Jul 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Google and other SEs have no issues with session IDs. They just don't crawl them a lot, because their Web robots would end in an infinite loop if they would try to follow every link. The URL is unique including the query string. Since usually a bot gets a new session ID assigned per visit, it would index the same content over and over from different URLs.

Site owners do have issues with session IDs. It's good practice to detect spiders, serving them a clean URL without long and ugly ID variables. However, all page content should be identical, regardless whether the script is called with a session ID or not.

Geeks have no issues with session IDs. They love session IDs. Unfortunately, they aren't involved in marketing tasks. Otherwise they would apply a more elegant Web development.

5:56 pm on Jul 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



At the conference a Google engineer re-affirmed that we should let Googlebot crawl the site without session ID or Cookie.
8:07 pm on Jul 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

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There are work arounds to get the best of both worlds (having a session ID and having a clean URL) without needing to detect the user agent or IP
9:30 pm on Jul 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I could be wrong but I donít think you understand what a session id is when you start talking about database stuff.

This is NOT a session ID and Google index's them fine after the first page is delayed:

domain.com/page.asp?id=123

Its a natural way of providing SE with how your site can work rather than mod re-write. Mod re-write can be a pain for advanced sites and bug tracking and impossible for some ASP servers.

These however can be session id's and are bad

domain.com/page.asp?id=h4to489fji4t9io49fk3et3

a more typical session id looks like this:

domain.com/page.asp?sid=h4to489fji4t9io49fk3et3
domain.com/page.asp?SESSIONID=h4to489fji4t9io49fk3et3

never pars you session ID's via a URL! In ASP its easy... dunno about PHP.

Google guidlines suggest this too could be bad:

domain.com/page.asp?page=2&id=123

I agree it should be written like this:

domain.com/page.asp?id=123&page=2

Hope it helps.

4:26 am on Jul 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I have seen some websites with session ids and still indexed. I would recommend though configuring webservers to be session transition capable. That technique worked well with me.
11:46 am on Jul 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

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[There are work arounds to get the best of both worlds (having a session ID and having a clean URL) without needing to detect the user agent or IP]

Can you tell us more about these work arounds?

11:47 am on Jul 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



[I would recommend though configuring webservers to be session transition capable. That technique worked well with me. ]

Is there someplace we can get more info on configuring webservers to be session transition capable?

2:49 pm on Jul 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Most Session IDs in URLS are 'caused' by blocking cookies.

Allow search bots to crawl your sites without session IDs or arguments that track their path through the site. These techniques are useful for tracking individual user behavior, but the access pattern of bots is entirely different. Using these techniques may result in incomplete indexing of your site, as bots may not be able to eliminate URLs that look different but actually point to the same page.

[google.com...]

And GoogleGuy has also warned - going back years - that session IDs in URL strings are bad news.....

3:13 pm on Jul 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Can you tell us more about these work arounds?

1. Save that information in a cookie and not a querystring.

2. Make your site work, even if the browser does not support cookies. Maybe assigning a kind of default session ID for the browsers that do not support cookies (like most SE bots)

4:26 pm on Jul 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



Try an Google Search to find out howto in PHP. In ASP it holds session data in memory I think.
 

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