When I read the article “Cookies Crumbling?” by Susan Perschke in the December Issue of SQL Server Magazine, did go off all my alarms for “don’t do” and “never do” in Website architecture. See the Article at SQLMag.com (Requires Subscription)
The Text-Book issue with Session IDs and duplicate content illustrated perfectly in recommended solution for Web and Database Developers.
The general Idea how the unique ID for the Shopper and his basket are generated was nothing new to me. I implemented something like it various times for custom ecommerce solutions, but I always had to store this ID in a cookie. There are ways around it nowadays which have other problems and not always the best solution from the users perspective, but those solutions do not involve passing a dynamic ID around in the URL.
I don’t want to go into too much details, butÂ the fact remains that the proposed solution generates an unique ID for each shopper that is then based along with every link through out the site to be able to avoid storing this ID in a cookie. I responded to the author and expressed my concerns from a Search Engine perspective and provided links to various resources to this topic.
I got fairly quickly following response.
Assuming you expire the IP / User Agent pair frequently, the statistical chances of duplication for the average site ~ at a given point in time ~ are extremely minimal unles you are Google or Amazon. In that event you have a $1M annual budget for web development with the flexibility to redirect for every contingency.
As to organic listings, in my opinion these are getting less and less reliable as search engines rely on paid clicks to drive their stock prices. Paid advertising is becoming de rigeur for most operations and should be factored as a cost of doing business. We have successfully driven traffic to our customers’ sites using a very small advertising budget.
When I read this the first time was my first reaction disbelieve. I responded today to it in an as calm as possible manner, not via email, but via comment to the article online, where the author posted my email and her response publicly and giving the article a 5 star rating on my behalf. Well, my response was a bit “dry” and I rated the article myself this time and gave it 2 stars, because the Database part was okay.
May be I should post another comment and ask everybody who implements this for his company and for a commercial website to contact me. I will then sell the leads to the SEO companies out there to fix the mess.
Okay, I decided to warn the readers of at least the online article to do a little research themselves on this issue, if they don’t believe me. They will not make friends with the marketing department and execs or owners once they find out why their website is nowhere to be found in the organic search results of the search engines.