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For 2023 (and 2024 ...) - we are now fully retired from IT training.
We have made many, many friends over 25 years of teaching about Python, Tcl, Perl, PHP, Lua, Java, C and C++ - and MySQL, Linux and Solaris/SunOS too. Our training notes are now very much out of date, but due to upward compatability most of our examples remain operational and even relevant ad you are welcome to make us if them "as seen" and at your own risk.

Lisa and I (Graham) now live in what was our training centre in Melksham - happy to meet with former delegates here - but do check ahead before coming round. We are far from inactive - rather, enjoying the times that we are retired but still healthy enough in mind and body to be active!

I am also active in many other area and still look after a lot of web sites - you can find an index ((here))

Posted by seandosh (seandosh), 27 January 2004
We are currently in the process of redeveloping our website from plain HTML into an all singing all dancing database driven site using PHP and MySQL.

Our search engine rankings are very high and i'm a little concerned that storing page titles, meta tags and the text of our web pages in a db will affect the search engine rankings.

Could anyone advise as to whether the redevelopment will have an adverse effect on our search engine rankings?

Best Regards


Posted by admin (Graham Ellis), 27 January 2004
This is an everchanging subject, but I know that one or two of the folks who post here make a careful study of it and may be able to offer better authourity than I can.

As I understand it, Google will index php pages, and will index pages that have GET method content in them, but it will not follow links within those pages to other GET method content. It stops at this point to avoid "circular" URLs. ((As I was writing this I did a check - click on and you should get to a page with GET content on our web site.

I don't think that Google will complete forms for you - nothing that uses the POST method will be indexed, and forms that use GET won't either, including those that are just pulldowns.

You asked about ranking.  I *think* that external links, good text, unique content etc remain far more important than whether a page is a .php or a .html but I do know that the algorithms changed a couple of months back and many people were up in arms that they had suddenly dropped.  Of course, Google may change again at any time, including at about the time you update your site, which makes the whole thing very hard to measure and benchmark.

This forum becomes a valueable resource, and yet it's deeply nested with GET and POST methods.   How do we make it search engine visible?   We archive it daily to a fixed set of URLs which are linked to directly.  Search for and see what you get.    Perhaps you might like to do similar through crontab  

Google seems to be the main engine these days, and it's the one I know most about for search placement ...

Posted by Chris_Isaac (Chris Isaac), 28 January 2004

Sorry if you've answered this question already above, but I'm trying to get my head around this as well.  Are you saying that Google doesn't index dyamic links?


Is the above likley to be indexed?

Thanks, and sorry if I've butted in here!

Posted by admin (Graham Ellis), 28 January 2004
Delighted for you to add your bit, Chris.

My understandingis that Google DOES index pages that include GET method data, provided that it reaches them from pages that do NOT contain such data, and that it reaches them through an HREF link rather than by submitting a blank form.

Basically, the search engines want as much unique content as they can get - do they'll start from the page you submitted, and trawl all direct links to HTML pages and even to PHP scripts that don't include any data.  So far, so good.  

They will ALSO look at all links which include GET data, but they cannot guess at what users would enter in a form so it's strictly the HREF stuff.

They do not "decend" from the pages that include the GET data, since they could easily set up circular loops that way and those wouldn't be too easy for them so sense.

Posted by pketans (pketans), 16 March 2005
Hi My suggestion to this is use 301 redirect to redirect the indexed .html pages to .php pages.
Also see if you can use MOD URL Rewite to fix the URL issue.

Posted by John_Moylan (jfp), 17 March 2005
Some random thoughts from me, for what its worth.

Graham is as usual spot on regarding relevent clean content, don't cheat... you will be found out.

Page titles are very big with google at the moment, I've stopped thinking of page titles as something for humans, I prefer to think of them as a "natural language" title for robots. Takes a little getting used to but I'm starting to get good results with it. (try getting into the head of someone who's searching and put the most relevent term as far to the left as you can)

Use the title tag in your href and give it a good clean description, helps massively.

If you have a lot of pages use a site map that single click links to all your pages (using the title tag in your href helps enormously here) though make sure you page your results if there are more than 100.

Don't ignore meta descriptions, keep them concise (no marketing blurb, its a description) and a few good keywords too. (watch your repeat rate on this)
Google is not currently using these heavily, but things may change, Google may weigh this higher in the future.

Get yourself on the directories in the relevent section is a good place to start, and avoid link farms like the bubonic.

Find other sites that would be willing to share links with you, reciprical links are an excellent way of building your pagerank.

Start a blog if your site is of general interest,  making sure your linking words and through to your site.

Oh, and anyone that tells you that Google is not king anymore is lying. As for Yahoo, any engine that wants me to pay to be reviewed can go jump.

heres my search engine stats to the 17th for March to give an idea of which engines are popular.
- Google      7500
- MSN      442
- Yahoo      244
- AOL      188
- Google (Images)      97
- Unknown search engines      72
- Netscape      39
- Kvasir      20
- Virgilio      14
- Dogpile      14
- Ask Jeeves UK      13
- AltaVista      13
- Excite      12
-      9
- Earth Link      8
- Splut      7
- AOL (fr)      5
- Lycos      4
- Ask Jeeves      4
- Tiscali      4

I'm sure Wellho's are a lot higher, they're everywhere on Google.

Posted by admin (Graham Ellis), 18 March 2005
A very interesting read / checklist, jfp - thanks (and thanks for the mention in dispatches too).

I've been concerned at the very high proportion of Google search engine visitors v visitors from other engines and had feared that our ranking wasn't as good elsewhere; seeing your stats, I get some comfort from seeing Google's continuing dominance.  I'm not sure how long your stats were over ... but if anyone wants a comparison / stats from another angle, I put some at in January and we keep a running set of pie charts for the last 4 weeks at

You are welcome to add a link to this forum (and our web site) and we have suggested details now at  Want a reciprocal link?  Simply post an intro / tell us what you do on an appropriate part of the forum and it will be archived into .html pages that are fully linked to the forum overnight ... they're under

Ah.  Blogging.  Yes.

May I present ... The Horse's Mouth

Posted by John_Moylan (jfp), 18 March 2005
>> I'm not sure how long your stats were over
The first 17 days in March.

Something that has helped is knowing whats happening statswise, the most used stats package (I think) is webalizer.

Awstats blows this out of the water in terms of usefulness: and its GEOIP plugin gives a more accurate idea of where a users are coming from based on thier IP addy instead of lumping .com's alltogether. its not perfect, but then nothing is.
See the online demo to get an idea of how useful it is.

I keep mine accessable via https only and its sits behind basic authentication as there have been exploits in the past, as I said, nothings perfect but the latest version has plugged holes and its a damn site more secure then running PHPBB forum (note: opentalk uses the excellent YaBB forum)

I'm not sure now that I read my original post back that this was the place to post it, I was reading two SEO threads on opentalk and think my post may be more suited to the other thread...ho hum.


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