PHPBuilder - Building Dynamic Pages With Search Engines in Mind

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Building Dynamic Pages With Search Engines in Mind

by: Tim Perdue
July 30, 2000

Almost any developer knows that search engine placement is critical to the success of a web site. What many people don't know is that a lot of search engines cannot index many database-driven pages (basically any page with a '?' or '&' in the URL).
So when I set about building, one of my goals was to make the site database-driven, but still indexable. I didn't want any use of cookies or mile-long URLs, and the site had to be co-brandable to top it all off. That meant the look-and-feel of the site had to be dependent on which "affiliate" site was being accessed ( is just one incarnation of the "DirectriCity" engine).
To pull this off, I started with a subtle Apache feature that can "force" a script to be called for any certain directory tree. In my case, I wanted all URLs that fall under "/local/" to call a script. This would be MUCH easier than creating 200,000 localized, co-branded web pages and a genuine directory structure to match it.
So in Apache's access.conf file, I added the following lines:
<Location /local>
ForceType application/x-httpd-php3
This forces everything under the "/local/" directory to call a script called "local" in the root of my server. "local" then uses PHP to parse the URL and act accordingly:

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