Here, we offer a succinct explanation of what session IDs are and how they can lower your site’s ranking.

What are session IDs?

A session ID is a unique number that a site’s server assigns a user for their visit. some servers create session IDs by simply increasing numbers, though most servers use algorithms that involve more factors like the date and time of the session.

Why shouldn’t I use them?

Use of session IDs and other alternative tracking methods can result in your site being wrongly indexed or not even indexed at all. This is because bots like Googlebot may misunderstand session IDs as numerous different site pages, resulting in multiple copies of your site’s page.

Duplicate content – If you use session IDs on your site, a search engine crawler may index thousands of different versions of a certain page on your site even if the only variation is the URL and session ID at the end of it. Search engines can therefore mistakenly index multiple copies of what is actually just one page.

If you have numerous copies of the same page on your site this can seem like an attempt to manipulate search engine results which can in turn be deemed spam.

URLs over 255 bytes – Long session IDs can make URLs longer than 255 bytes, the maximum recommended HTP. This can lead to a Google crawl error due to the URLs not being followed or the redirect URL being too long.

It’s therefore important to consider whether it’s worth using session IDs on your site. The confusion they can cause search engine bots may mean your site’s pages are improperly indexed which can in turn affect your ranking. Equally, if a bot is indexing all of the variations of session ID URLs and is unable to distinguish the different URLs, this can result in duplicate content which Google frowns upon and may therefore lower your ranking. This makes it vital that you ensure your site’s pages are search engine crawler friendly.

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