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  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Apr 2005
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    Hi,

    I have been designing and building websites for a few years now and in the last 2 years, I have used PHP and MySQL as my main tool.

    Generally when I create a site, I start off by creating an HTML draft of the site and work on this until the design is 95% approved. When it comes time to add extra pages to the site, I split the original file into three PHP files...header, content and footer files. Its only the "content.php" file that gets changed from page to page, with the header and footer being included as the site is loaded on the clients machine (ie: "include('header.php'); etc."). Sometimes i have the content stored in a MySQL database.

    I have a question about this system. I am still learning about the best methods of getting increased exposure to search engines, in particular Google. As far as I know, search engines usually read either the Meta data and/or the first few hundred words of text whether its comments or content, whereas Google is more based on how many links you have to your site (as well as content text) and what class of links they are such as from government sites or big companies.

    Having the header, content and footer system on a site, does that affect how a search engines "see's" the content of the site? For example, when a search engine does a "crawl" can it include the 'header.php' file when it looks up the sites address?

    If anybody can help me out with the above question, it would be very much appreciated.

    Cheers, Nickuss.

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Brak's Avatar
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    PHP is a server-side scripting language. Anything server-side is... server-side - meaning it's not client-side. Googlebot is a client-side facing reader, meaning anything happening server-side is a mystery.. .hence, the definition of server-side.

    So: No, googlebot cannot include header.php. But neither can any browser on the planet - the files is included and served to the browser/bot/crawler as a plain HTML file. Nothing more, nothing less.
    Kyle Neath: Rockstar extraordinare
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  4. #3
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
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    Hi Kyle,

    Thank you for replying so soon.

    You say that the header, content and footer is served to the browser in its whole form (ie. as a visitor would see it). Does that mean googlebot or any other search engine bot will see it as the visitor see's it? I knew that PHP was server-side and all coding is processed before the visitors page actually loads, but I am unsure of how that would relate to a search engine bot.

    Thanks, Nickuss.

  5. #4
    Senior Member
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    Yes Google will see it as any other browser will see it, but with 2 caveats:

    1. It has limitations; for example, it doesn't do Javascript. So best to think of it as a very limited browser...

    2. Some people check to see if Google is actually visiting the site and they serve it different content (or block it). You can do that too, but you can also serve it something else, like a simplified page with the same content.
    eKstreme
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  6. #5
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
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    Thank you eKstreme, that answers my question.

    Its good to know that Google can actually see my external file just as anybody else would. I dont have to worry about javascript or anything, I only use that for visual eye candy such as menu rollovers which dont play a big part in the overall site.

    Thanks again. Nickuss.


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