Internet Marketing Tips, Suggestions, & Ramblings

PHP Session HTTP Header Optimization

Let’s make the Web faster. I perceived something that may be of interest in regards to PHP, sessions, and SEO. On at least one installation, the default HTTP headers sent by the function session_start( ) were set to disable cache. In some cases, I think these headers may not be “good for Googlebot.”

As you may know, Google made an algorithm update that takes into account many aspects of site performance, often called Page Speed. Optimizing HTTP headers is one of the checkpoints and enabling browser caching via HTTP headers is a sub-point. If Googlebot respects site performance enhancing HTTP headers then they’ll probably also acknowledge wacky ones like the PHP session_start( ) default HTTP headers that say, “do not store a copy of this page for cache; always check with the server to see if you have the most recent copy of a page immediately before and after you request a page because this content expired back in 1981 and today is April 13, 2010.”

The perceived solution for the installation was to start sessions only on pages that needed them- instead of everywhere. Now, revisiting the topic I’ve also learned that using the session_cache_limiter( ) function to control what headers are sent may also work.

What are your experiences with this?

-Sean

About Garry Grant

Garry Grant is a veteran expert in search engine optimization and the digital marketing industry. With nearly 20 years of experience, Garry has successfully built a multi-service operation at SEO, Inc., developing proprietary technologies through complex strategic solutions. He has extensive experience in key initiatives and operational responsibilities grounded in information technology and performance management.

Garry’s expertise and esteemed reputation, coupled with SEO Inc.’s impressive client success record has earned him such accolades as Entrepreneur Magazine's 2005 Hot List for the Hottest Internet Property, Inc. 500 2007 Honorary award for Fastest Growing Private Company in America, an Inc. 500 top 50 Company in San Diego, and interviews with The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, WIRED, Entrepreneur and The Huffington Post.

Garry Grant began his online career in 1993 creating strategic Web and e-business solutions for Homepage.com, The Rush Limbaugh Show, Premiere Radio Networks, Clear Channel Communications, EarthLink and Artisan Motion Pictures. Today, Garry and SEO Inc.’s highly skilled digital strategists develop proprietary technology and strategic digital marketing direction for Fortune 500 companies including, SC Johnson, McAfee, Entrepreneur.com., Inc Magazine, IGN, Tacorri, LPL Financial, National Kidney Foundation, G4 TV, Fuel TV and Sony, just to name a few.