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[FAQ] Search engines and PHP

Q: Is PHP search engine friendly?
Q: Will search engine spiders crawl my PHP pages?

A:
Spiders should crawl anything provided they're accessible. Since,
nowadays most of the websites are been developed with PHP, you are not
supposed to doubt that.

As a proof that PHP pages could be crawled and indexed, refer this
Google search
<http://www.google.com/search?q=inurl%3Aphp+filetype%3Aphp>

Q: How can I submit my website to search engines? Should I use PHP to
submit?
A: Consult their documents. It is always better to categorize your site
and submit to DMoz. Usually, PHP has no role here; but however some
search engines (specifically Google and it's sitemap protocol) provides
option to inform them the changes using a ping mechanism and here PHP
could be used.

Refer:
http://dmoz.org/add.html
http://www.google.com/webmasters/
https://www.google.com/webmasters/si.../en/about.html

Q: How to indentify the spider?
A: You may identify it by user agent and or IP.

Refer:
http://www.iplists.com/
http://joseluis.pellicer.org/ua/
http://www.pgts.com.au/pgtsj/pgtsj0208d.html

Q: Will search engines follow redirection? If so, what URL will be get
indexed?
A: Yes, the final URL

Q: Will search engines handle cookies?
A: No.

Q: Will search engines handle sessions?
A: No, if your session is cookies based. If there is a provision for
URL rewriting (ie, trans sid feature), it will handle or maintain
sessions.

Q: All the pages in my website use session. But, I don't want the URL
rewriting as it results in uglier URLs (appended with PHPSESSID).
A: Then, you may selectively enable trans sid feature only for the
search engine spiders by sniffing their user agent and or IP.

Q: Will search engines save the links with the session id (PHPSESSID)
in the URL?
A: Majority of the search engines automatically remove the session id
in their index. But, there are also report that few search engines
(more specifically MSN) don't remove them; in that case there are
chances that the session of more than one user (when they visit the
site via search engine) may be shared/hijacked provided there is not
enough measures taken into account.

Q: How to optimize my site?
A:
Make the contents accessible. Be sure to validate your HTML and stick
to W3C standards; this will help the search engines to see your access
your contents easily.

But, also remember that most of the SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
theories are big hoax and it's a crazy business. If you provide good
quality of service in your site, hardly it won't get visibility.

Refer:
http://www.w3.org/QA/

Q: I prefer more visitors via search engines. What should I do?
A: As said, believe in the good quality and you'll definitely be known.
You may also opt to advertize in the search engines, if you strongly
believe in advertizements.

Q: Please give me some quick hacks for my website to get more visitors
through search engines.
A: Since, many search engines are now contents based (previously and
still few search engines used META keywords), enough keywords on the
page might help.

So, some people use the cloaking technique, in which different content
is been provide to spiders by sniffing their user agent string and or
IP. Some people use also keyword stuffing techniques, in which the
keywords are largley stuffed to a page and probably hidden using CSS or
so. And, all such "fooling" techniques are highly against to the search
engines' TOS and as a penalty the site might even be get blacklisted.
Some search engines like Google even employ people to evaluate the
quality of their search results and provide option to lodge complaints
against any "fooling" sites.

Q: What is PR?
A: In search engines context, PR would mean Google's PageRank (tm)
algorithm that determines the rank of the page determined through the
number of pages linking to it and the rank of the linking pages. Hence,
PageRank can be used to find the popularity of that page. However, this
would hardly affect the position of a webpage on a search page and can
safely be ignored (Some SEO business people may not agree with this)

Refer:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PageRank

Jul 17 '05 #1
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