I think I’m going to make some changes to my blog archives. I use SSI to show the same sidebar on all my home page and all my archive pages. One of the side effects of this is that a typical archive page is not static. If you go to a typical archive URL, say “http://www.sunpig.com/martin/archives/2003/12/28/oliebollen/“, the blog entry the page relates to is static (although the comments may change over time), but the sidebar information varies on a daily basis.
This means that when a search engine indexes a given archive page, the information it registers at that time may not be there at some point in the future. This is a bad thing. I know that I get frustrated if I follow a link from Google only to find that the information I was expecting to find at the other end isn’t there any more. I’m sure other people do, too.
On the other hand, not including things like the Quick Reviews in the sidebar of archive pages is going to decrease the number of people who will read them. Looking at the server logs, it is not uncommon for someone to find an archive page through a search query, and then browse around the reviews for a bit. So the question is: do I want more eyeballs, or do I want search engines to index me more accurately?
Seeing as I’m not trying to generate revenue from this site, the answer has to be: more accurate search results. Although the quick reviews feaure links to Amazon, the click-through rate is very low, and the conversion rate even lower. In the time I’ve been with the Amazon affiliates programme, I’ve earned just enough from referral fees to buy a single book. And I have no intention of running Google Ads any time soon.
Another benefit for readers and searchers is that removing extraneous information from the archive pages will reduce page download times. Basically, it sounds like a good idea all round. It’ll be interesting to see how the server logs change in response.