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How do I publicize a company's product list on the web?

Posted on 2012-03-15
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Last Modified: 2012-03-30
A company that I am working for has a database of the items that they are selling. The items are generally sold by part number. Pages have been generated manually for selected part numbers and have generally fared very well in Google.

The customer would like to programmatically generate a page for each part number yielding potentially thousands of pages. There is a small universe of buyers so that there will be relatively few searches for the numbers so that just a few hits should raise the rank of the pages.

What do I need to do to optimize the SEO of these pages?

What issues are there in generating thousands of similar web pages?
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Question by:dovidf
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by:SStory
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It seems very inefficient to do this way, but I guess if getting in search engine is the goal, then I guess you could do it.  Google works by the actual page contents--the text so in this case it would work well unless they change so frequently that it is useless. Apart from that it seems more practical to have a database generated webpage hits the DB and generates the pages via PHP/ASP/or ASP.NET depending upon your preference.  I'm not sure what issues you are looking for in generating thousands of pages.  Do you plan to generate thousands of HTML pages and upload them? Do they stay fairly static for a while?  If yes to the first question and no to the second, then I don't think it would be a good idea to do it this way.  If yes to both, then I guess you could argue that it is worth it in order to have better SE results in Google.
For me as a user it would look a bit cooky to have 1000 HTML pages rather than one .php page that can generate the first 50 entries, or search all products and give results in 25/50/100 per page results or something of the like.
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by:dovidf
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What about generating pages with say 250 part number links on each page until the database is exhausted and then putting up a detail page when one of the 250 part numbers is clicked on?

Would the part number loaded pages rank?
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by:SStory
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Hmm. I'm not sure about that. I just haven't known many places to display static pages for so much data instead of just dynamic.  Is the goal for search engines to hit it or for people to use your site and your own search page?  Most dynamic pages have a search form where you get the info they want and search your own DB and display the results.  If this is not what you are wanting to do, you can certainly choose to generate static pages.

If you put X pages out there with 250 links per page (static HTML) and each links to a static HTML page then yes it should rank because Google spidering should traverse each link.

Again, this seem unorthodox to me in designing a site and seems like a lot of pages that shouldn't need to be.

On the other hand you could have 250 links, each of which points to a PHP page passing in the Part# and that should also work and only require that you have 4 pages for 100 parts (250 links per page) and one php file.

create:
partlookup.php

It should expect to be called like
http://www.yourdomain.com/partlookup.php?no=216263

And when php gets that number it should hit the database and display a generated page,  with all info relative to that part.  That should probably rank as Google could follow each link to the generated page also.
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by:dovidf
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The situation that I am trying to handle is one where a user says I want to buy part abcd1234 so I would want my site to rank highly for that number. The user is not nearly as likely to come to the site and do a search.

I don't understand why it would take 4 pages besides the php page. Once I have a template for what I want to show when someone clicks one of the part number links, all I should need is the php code and the template to fill in the details for the part number selected.
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SStory earned 500 total points
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Well, if you do it the normal way, yes you really _COULD_ do it with one php page.
It would probably be easy to do it with more than one. One page where you list and have the search form, that submits the results to the back end PHP file. This is the normal way of doing it.

You however mentioned listing all of your parts on static pages 250 a page. So if there are a 1000 you'd need 4 static HTML pages and one partlookup.php page that could be given a part number and show the result.  I was just telling you what you'd have to do to do it they way you first mentioned.  What I've mentioned above is the normal way of doing it...in fact a more normal way would be the first page being PHP, and listing everything by default from the database in a paged format, if you like, dynamically, with the links dynamically generated as well, and when clicked upon they could go to the same page with a param to list only that product. At the top of the page their could be a search box that let them filter what they wanted. Or you could just populate a huge combo box. There are many ways to do it.
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by:dovidf
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Do you think that this would work from an SEO point of view? Would putting up 250 item pages rank due to the limited number of advertisers and the high interest of those seeking?
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by:SStory
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Here's a good article on SEO:
http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/beginners-guide-to-seo-best-practices-part-13/

To be honest with you I'm not sure which way would yield better results. Of course you'd want to use keywords which search engines utilize, but it is often more about the actual content for some SEs.  I'd never build 250 pages myself, I'd just build the one searchable page and try to market to get people to my site by traditional marketing manners. Perhaps your keywords section could be auto generated by a script to include every part number on that first-home page.  That would make the page bigger in size, but if every part number is 7 digits long and there are 3000, then that is roughly 24000 bytes in if each takes a byte, or in unicode 48000 bytes if it take 2 bytes per char.  That is including the commas.  But for sites that hold more to text in the <body> section and not the meta data, you might consider generating all part numbers separated by spaces and placing that at the bottom of the page, font size 4pt or something small and the same color as the background so it will be invisible.  In that case the search engine should think it relevant and part of the body, but the user shouldn't see it.
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