I've just come across something that I would like to get some other opinions/debates on. Here's the situation:
I have a site that's starting to do fairly well in the Search Engines. It's not incredible, but it's starting to get noticed and generate some traffic. I had a call from a user today who was having login/session problems. After talking with her for a little bit, I discover that she is going through a proxy server at her office to get to the site. The proxy server caches all site pages, then serves up the pages from cache instead of the live site.
So, by caching pages, it is also either:
1)caching cookies and all users going through this proxy have the same session cookie;
2)not allowing cookies at all so that no users can have sessions on the site.
Anyway, I found a simple way to outsmart the proxy (I'm programming in ColdFusion, btw). According to this article:
...append a random number as a URL parameter in all links and in the ACTIONs of all forms, with the same name in all cases. This makes each user's request for the same page look different to the proxy server. CF can generate random integers from 1 to 100,000,000, so the risk that the same page will be requested with the same number by users on the same proxy server within the same week is extremely small.
So, instead of page.cfm it would be page.cfm?N=123, or page.cfm?N=987123, or whatever.
Now, to the reason I posted this thread. Aside from the fact that this seems like a "hack" to get around the proxy server, is this a good idea? What would something like this do to Search Engine rankings? Would they consider this Spamming? I mean, in theory you could literally have 100,000,000 copies of the exact same page indexed by the Search Engines.
I can see where this might really, really, really help your rankings, or it might really, really, really hurt your rankings, or even get you banned. Or, would the search engines even notice?
basically i'm doing exactly what session IDs in the URL will do. Creating thousands of duplicate URIs for any page.
And it will do exactly the same for SEO as session IDs will. That is, cause potential problems with duplicates pages.
Yahoo especially has a problem and will deindex sites with this problem very quickly.
That's what I thought, but I wanted to make sure. I figured that the duplicate pages would cause problems with some of the Search Engines.
Hope This Helps!