Static and Dynamic URLs – Should I Rewrite Dynamic URL?

A dynamic URL typically passes parameters to the page as key-value pair and contains question mark (?), ampersand (&) and equal symbol(=).

CMS and blogging platforms such as Joomla and  WordPress provides URL rewriting options, which will convert parameterised URLs into a static-look alike.

During the early days of Search Engines, the crawlers were not able to index the dynamic pages correctly when there were many parameters or when the order of the parameters were changed. In some cases, session ids get appended to each page, and each URL will then look unique, even though they refers to the same content.

To get rid of this problem, URL Rewrite is used. Using URL rewrite, you can get rid of unwanted parameters form the URL and have static looking URLs for the dynamic content.

Recently the search technology has improved a lot and the search engines like Google are capable of index parameterised dynamic URLs effectively. SEs can simply find out the key-value pair, figure out unwanted parameters such as session id, and trim it off and have the same dynamic URL for the content.

Google has confirmed this in the recent blog post on the Webmaster Central Blog. The blog post is a bit confusing though.

According to Google, you need not rewrite any dynamic parameterised URL anymore. Google can take care of them much better than using URL rewriting.

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According to the blog:

Should I try to make my dynamic URLs look static?

Following are some key points you should keep in mind while dealing with dynamic URLs:

  1. It’s quite hard to correctly create and maintain rewrites that change dynamic URLs to static-looking URLs.
  2. It’s much safer to serve us the original dynamic URL and let us handle the problem of detecting and avoiding problematic parameters.
  3. If you want to rewrite your URL, please remove unnecessary parameters while maintaining a dynamic-looking URL.
  4. If you want to serve a static URL instead of a dynamic URL you should create a static equivalent of your content.

So there is no disadvantage in terms of indexing and ranking for database-driven websites with dynamic URLs.

Static looking URLs have an advantage in terms of click-through rates because users can easily read the URLs with their search keyword. Static URLs look neat when embedded in an email too.

Again, we were talking about Google in this article. Let us remind ourselves that, there are many other search engines like Yahoo, Live, Cuil and other regional websites like khoj.com and guruji.com, which might not be capable enough to handle the lengthy ugly dynamic URLs.

My suggestion is to continue using the static Looking URLs for your dynamic websites such as WordPress, BBPress, Joomla, Drupal, etc..

I prefer the URL https://teck.in/static-and-dynamic-urls-should-i-rewrite-dynamic-url.html rather than a dynamic URL with non-readable characters. I am human, not a machine yet !

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