Yahoo is encouraging unethical practices in web development

A big part of my ethical web philosophy is that site owners should build their sites with the visitors best interests at the forefront.

For years it has been shown that surfers use the address bar to get their bearings and so clean, simple URLs are a must.

Search engines have always had difficulty with long, complicated, dynamic URLs and have encouraged site owners to keep them to an absolute minimum. With the technology available now it is entirely feasible to completely rid any site of these ugly URLs, improving the usability and search engine effectiveness.

So, in my mind, it’s irresponsible of Yahoo to provide web masters with an excuse to NOT clean up their URLs. This is what they did with ‘Dynamic URL Rewriting’.

They gave web masters a way to tell Yahoo to ignore certain query string parameters in their URLs. This is very useful for webmasters – especially where their sites use session IDs and the like.

However, it helps them to be lazy. To disregard the need for clean, usable URLs and opt for the ‘easy option’ which translates to a lower quality of user experience.

In the case of session IDs, Yahoo should be making their algorithm clever enough to cope with such a common feature of the web, if not more so. Google certainly doesn’t provide such a feature, but that in no way puts Yahoo ahead. In fact, it puts them behind because Google already understands and accepts that sites use parameters, some of which are common and have no bearing on page content so they ignore them automatically.

So come on, Yahoo, stop encouraging bad behaviour and smarten yourselves up!

Yahoo! Search Blog: Be Dynamic, Be Confident — Yahoo! Search Supports You.

Yahoo SHOULD be promoting friendly URLs, not creating bodges like this.

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