Do search engines index dynamic pages?
We often receive messages from ProductCart users that are concerned about whether or not the product details pages in their ProductCart-powered stores will be spidered and indexed by search engines. Some people are under the wrong impression that search engine spiders like GoogleBot will ignore pages that include a query string.
Your site or e-commerce shop should provide unique content to your readers. Imagine a situation where an e-commerce provider copies & pastes the product descriptions from manufacturers web sites or catalogues. On first sight, this might be the most appropriate situation, as the manufacturer should know the product best. However, ask yourself: why should a search engine link to my product page instead of the manufacturer's description? And given the fact that you are not only copying the text from the manufacturer, but your competition, too, why should Google rank your page higher than the competition's pages?
The solution is to always provide unique content. Each product description should have a unique text, not copied from the manufacturer or (even worse) your competition. Pages without unique content risk not being indexed by search engines.
The answer to the question is YES. Google specifically indicates that dynamic pages will be indexed.
For example, see these FAQs from the Google Webmaster Help Center (an area of the Google Web site that you should definitely spend some time on):
- How can I create a Google-friendly site?
- Google's Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide and how ProductCart can help you implement it
Helping a spider find your dynamic content
Although dynamic pages will be indexed, it is also true that a search engine spider will not search your catalog to find and index all of your products. You need to tell the spider how to crawl and index your catalog pages. There are a number of things that you can do to increase the likelihood that a dynamic page is spidered by a search engine. Here are a few tips:
- Link to dynamic pages from static pages. As mentioned earlier in this chapter, the likelihood that a dynamic page will be spidered and indexed is much greater when there are one or more static pages that link to it. (e.g. a static home page, a site map, a store map, content pages, etc.).
- Create a static home page for your store (e.g. www.yourstorehere.com/index, then link to selected dynamic pages from it. For example, you could link to the featured products page (pc/home.asp), the top level category page (pc/viewcategories.asp), selected product and category pages, etc. You can use the Control Panel to generate links to these pages, then copy and paste them into your static HTML pages. If you would rather use a dynamic home page (e.g. you want to show the ‘featured products’ you have set in the Control Panel), redirect to ProductCart’s default home page or move it to the root directory of your Web site.
- Create a static site map (e.g. www.yourstorehere.com/sitemap), then link to selected dynamic pages from it. Search engines typically like finding a site map on a Web site. Make sure to link to the site map from your home page.
- ProductCart includes a feature that will help you generate static store maps. Using this feature you can create one or more static pages that link to dynamic product and category pages.
- Generate and submit a XML Sitemap, and keep it updated on a regular basis (what are sitemaps?). You can do this directly from the ProductCart Control Panel.
- Create content rich pages, and then link to dynamic category and product pages from it. For instance, assume you are selling custom computers. You could create a page that talks about the difference types of computers you are selling and includes tips for your customers on which model they should choose depending on their needs. This page (e.g. how_to_choose_a_computer.html) would then link to various category and product pages created by ProductCart. Make these pages informative and simply laid out (few images, lots of text). Link to them from your site map.