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Search Engines & ASP


Sometimes search engines discrimate against ASP files. Be sure that your ASP files are being listed.

ASP is used for many reasons. It makes it easy to insert the same header, footer, and other code into all documents on your site. You can show the current date, greet your returning visitors, and enable stores.

Did you realize, though, that the mere fact that your pages end in .ASP instead of .HTM or .HTML might cause you to be discriminated against by some search engines?

The issue is with some search engines feeling that ASP documents are randomly generated. They feel that a document created by ASP isn't 'reliable' - that its content could change day by day and therefore it's unworthy of being indexed. A page that on Day 1 is about Sangria Recipes could on Day 7 be about MP3s of Baywatch Babes.

A poll of several search engines comes back with several answers. Some engines exclude all ASP files. Some exclude ASP files that have ?s in them, assuming that the parameters cause content changes. Some accept ASP files. Sometimes if you ask the same search engine several times, you get different answers each time.

Depending on how much control you have over your site, there are several solutions. One is to simply have all .HTM and .HTML files treated as ASP files, i.e. have them processed by the ASP processor. This lets you use ASP commands in the files without naming them .ASP. The search engines will think they're regular files and not exclude them.

Another option is to create all of your ASP so there are no ? marks in them anywhere. You can do this in a variety of ways. One is to use a custom 404 script to process any 'unknown' file and to redirect it properly. For example, you could take in

http://www.yoursite.com/article/42.asp

and then in the 404 script redirect it to

http://www.yoursite.com/article.asp?id=42

Finally, if you can install filters on your website, I found this great filter offered for free. You install this and it will automatically change a URL from having ? in it to having another construct. This is an amazing piece of code, and highly recommended to anyone stuck with ?s in their pages.

http://www.pstruh.cz/help/urlrepl/library.htm

Make sure you check with the search engines you submit to to see how they handle ASP files. You don't want your hard work to remain unseen by the world!

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