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I have a URL like

Abc.com/viewpage?id=1234-4655-7678;type=article

How do search engines like Google or Bing determine during crawling the value of these parameters?

The id is globally unique (GUID). Is this a problem and should I change the format or URL?

1 Answer 1

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Search engines will only find the query string values that they are directed to. They may find these URLs through several mechanisms:

  • The main way is through links. Links like this one one of your pages will cause the bots to crawl the pages with the specified IDs:

    <a href="/viewpage?id=1234-4655-7678;type=article">Article A</a>
    <a href="/viewpage?id=1234-4655-7679;type=article">Article B</a>
    
  • If you publish an XML sitemap then search engine bots will crawl the URLs listed within:

    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
    <urlset xmlns="http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9">
        <url><loc>http://abc.com/viewpage?id=1234-4655-7678;type=article</loc></url>
        <url><loc>http://abc.com/viewpage?id=1234-4655-7679;type=article</loc></url>
    </urlset>
    
  • Some bots will submit forms on your site. So if you had a form like this, the pages might be discoverable:

    <form method=GET action=viewpage>
        <select name=id>
            <option value=1234-4655-7678;type=article>Article A</option>
            <option value=1234-4655-7679;type=article>Article B</option>
        </select>
    </form>
    

Using IDs in URLs is very common. It is not a huge problem for search engines as long as you can provide a mechanism for the URLs to be discovered.

You don't want to use IDs in your URLs that change frequently (such as user session IDs.)

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  • Thanks a lot Stephen, that's is very insightful, basically my site is a behind login site, but every article that will be posted on the site will have its own public URL, that can be accessed without being login, as you suggested I can have links on those article pages to similar other articles; but still how it will know the first one to start with? maybe from sitemap, but in that case I have to update the sitemap, periodically or every-time I have a new article; the last option is not valid for my case. Nov 15, 2013 at 16:49
  • You should link to a handful of articles from your home page. You should share some of the articles on Facebook and twitter. You should ask other websites to link to some of your articles. Sitemap files should be regenerated periodically. I regenerate mine every night. Nov 15, 2013 at 17:14
  • Yeah that seems like a good solution, great! Nov 17, 2013 at 13:25

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