Dynamic content is automatically tailored to a user’s behavior and history. The most famous example of dynamic content is Amazon’s user recommendations, but similar dynamic elements play a small part in every web page. Many comment sections are now loaded dynamically onto websites, tailored to specific commenting histories.
Dynamic content is good for websites because it makes them more personalized and useful for visitors. However, it is a disadvantage because it is usually based on AJAX and Java, both of which are invisible to Google bots the majority of the time. Furthermore, dynamic HTML needs session IDs and cookies in the base code, both of which can cause Google bots to bail out of your website.
Avoiding the Damage
Despite the inherent unfriendliness of search engine bots to dynamic content, there is no reason that including dynamic content has to negatively affect your SEO. You can allow search engine bots to index your dynamic content using the following methods:
- Use hard-coded text links behind your dynamic content. These will allow bots to successfully navigate and index your website.
- Load static content first, then cover it with dynamic content. You can include a basic level of static-loading content on each page. This content could include navigation links and comments. This will allow Google bots to find your entire website.
- Creating an accurate site map. A site map that links to any and all content that may display will go a long way.
- Use static URLs. Have a static URL to link to the same content as each dynamic URL.
- Make AJAX crawlable. This is a complex topic and won’t fit in this article, but Smashing Magazine has a good walkthrough.
SEO Benefits of Dynamic Content
Yes, benefits. There is a lot of material out there on the problems caused by dynamic content for SEO, but very few on the benefits.
- No republishing. The upshot of dynamic content for SEO is that it allows you to substantially alter a visitor’s experience without republishing any content. You can completely change your homepage and content pages without losing your rank. In fact, search engine bots will only actually see the static components and URLs.
- Lowered bounce rate. Dynamic content provides you with more personalized and useful landing pages. This lowers your bounce rate and has a positive effect on your SERPs rankings.
General Online Marketing Benefits of Dynamic Content
There are too many to list here, but this blog pretty much hits all the bases.
Dynamic content has a lot of advantages for both SEO and for general marketing. It also has its drawbacks, but these drawbacks can already be mitigated by good site design. Even better, dynamic content is becoming the norm. This is inspiring search engines to look for new ways to see and index dynamic content. In the near future, dynamic content will have all of its advantages and none of its drawbacks.