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Case Study: Search engine optimization for dynamic sites

By Linda Christie
Posted Friday, September 17, 2004

An aggregator of information technology news, articles and resources to help computer value added resellers (VARs), ( was launched in the spring of 2003.

“Having a limited budget, we couldn’t afford massive advertising or PR campaigns,” said founder and executive editor Linda Christie. “So I wrote a number of articles about how we built using free Linux content management solutions: PostNuke and Content Express.(1) Providing these articles free to other IT sites to publish immediately developed traffic. However, growth was very slow for the first year, even though I registered the site with major search engines.”

“I knew from my research that search engines have difficulty indexing a dynamic site,” Christie added. “Dynamic web pages are assembled on the fly from records stored in a database; e.g. PostNuke/Content Express store content in MySQL. When visitors click on a page category such as ‘Internet/ISP/Web Development,’ top features and other resources are pulled from MySQL to create the page.”

“The big problem is that crawlers such as Google can’t read the entire dynamic database of URLs, which either contain a query string (?) or other database characters (#&*!%) known to be spider traps.”(2)

One solution for dynamic page search engine optimization (SEO) is creating static pages. So, in March 2004, Christie directed her webmaster, Ben Davis, to make’s site map a static page (

“Since our site map contains every key word critical for the site, this seemed to be the logical choice. And it worked! One week later MSN crawled the site, two weeks after that Google, and more recently Yahoo!”

Today’s web logs show that site traffic is increasing by over 10% per month. “Our average number of visits per day held steady at 65-70 from November 2003 thru February 2004,” Christie said. “After making the site map static, our average number of visits has almost doubled: March = 93, April = 98, May = 123, and June = 127. Sites (unique IP addresses) have risen from 1,200 per month to over 1,600 per month, up one-third.” has also been added to the Google Directory under News > Computers > News and Media (

“When I discovered we were listed in the Google Directory, I did a search and found we’ve been added to many others. To top things off, I received a phone call from Google a few weeks ago inviting us to join their AdSense program.”

Christie recommends that other dynamic sites consider converting their site map to a static page. “This SEO technique has certainly worked for I’m only sorry I didn’t do it a year ago.”

1) Christie, Linda, “I Built an eCommerce Site in 2 Months for $99!”, sitepoint, April 4, 2003 (
2) Bruemmer, Paul, “Dynamic Site SEO Tips and Hints,” sitepoint, November 28, 2002 (

About the Author
Linda Christie
Cell: 402-203-0684 (CST)


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