EXACT SAME static page vs. Dynamic page

Look at two different pages. Both output the same HTML, same style/size, content. Both do the same Off-site SEO (i.e. have same backlinks), same URLs (both end in .html)

Only difference is that one page is static (actually .html file), and the other is dynamic (URL re-write).

Which one is better for SEO purposes? I know Google takes in the “speed of the site” in factor, so does this change anything (even if a little bit)?

If you could set up both pages by putting in the same amount of time and effort (just pretend, for example :P), which one would you go for?

Caching of dynamic pages is effectively making them static - the server is delivering “static” HTML files (in most cases).

To answer the original poster’s question - No, there is no discovery, crawling, indexing or ranking differences between a dynamically generated webpage compared to a static webpage (all other things being equal).

I dont think you completely understood what I meant lol.

The URLs will be the same for BOTH pages… everything is same… no queries or ANYTHING.

I was just asking that since one page would be an actual html file on a server that the browser displays to the user, and the other page would be a php (say, for example) file that the server looks at, and then outputs the html accordingly.

in the end, you still see …/page.html as the URL. (after re-writing all pages as .html in the end instead of …/page.php )

Hope I could explain what I meant properly :S

I know Search engines take note of the time difference, I was asking if there was anything else that they notice and like/don’t like?

So the search engine sees exactly the same thing in both cases and has no basis on which to distinguish one from the other apart from the time it takes to access the page.

So the only possible difference is if the dynamic version takes significantly longer. The solution there is to set up caching on the server so that the pages are accessed dynamically by the first request and then a static copy is kept to be delivered to anyone else who asks for it for a specific period after that. This would work even if the pages are dynamic as long as they don’t change too frequently.

The main reason for doing such caching isn’t for the search engines though, it is to reduce the unnecessary load on the server CPU and speed the delivery of pages to your real visitors. This is particularly important if you get enough visitors to approach the allowed CPU capacity of your hosting. The CPU issues would make caching of dynamically generated pages a requirement long before it is likely to make any noticable difference to SEO.

Search engines can see whether a page looks like it’s static or dynamic, by whether there’s a query in the URL. While search engines can read and index either sort, there will be differences in the way they crawl and index them. Using the correct URL format ensures that search engines know what kind of site they’re crawling and treat it appropriately.

except maybe the page load time? wouldn’t the dynamic pages take longer to load?

Assuming that the pages are exactly the same and take exactly the same amount of time to load then there would be no difference for SEO purposes. After all, SE (and visitors) just see the completed html page, they don’t even know whether the page is static or dynamic.

This one has come up before!
See http://www.sitepoint.com/forums/showthread.php?t=573572 for a discussion here, and http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2008/09/dynamic-urls-vs-static-urls.html for the word from the horse’s mouth.
(Also notice the distinction in those two links between a forum thread, which has a dynamic URL, and a blog post, which has a static URL)

If the page is essentially static (whether it’s hard-coded or generated by a CMS), use a static URL. If a page is genuinely dynamic and is created on-the-fly from a database back-end, use a dynamic URL, and keep the number of parameters you use to a minimum. This helps Google to understand what it’s crawling.

Static URLs are easiest for people to work with and so are preferred in general, but rewriting genuinely dynamic URLs as faux-static can often cause problems or duplication, eg

will give you the same output - it doesn’t matter what order the parameters are, so Google knows that those two URLs are equivalent and will generate the same output. Whereas if you’re rewriting them to look static, you could end up with

and Google has no way of knowing that those are the same page, so could end up indexing each combination of parameters separately, which obviously won’t do you much good.

Not really lol :stuck_out_tongue:

What if the whole site is created with static html pages? And all the URLs are named perfectly for SEO purposes.

What I meant in my question was, if ALL the factors for SEO were similar between two pages (or multiple pages), which one would be better? Static or dynamic?

Also, pretend that you won’t be making any server calls on those pages (or maybe you do, by using AJAX…but you really dont need a server side programming language for that page)

Any ideas?

Go with a static page if it’s only for one page.
Search engines dont like dynamic pages looking like this:
Sometimes they don’t even get indexed in to the search engines!

A static page looking like this has a much greater preformance in search engines and loading time:

I hope that answered your question. :slight_smile: