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Use PHP to build a search engine optimization app, Part 1: Getting started


Level: Intermediate

Tyler Anderson (, Engineer, Stexar Corp.

14 Mar 2006

PHP, a dynamic Web-based programming language, takes a variety of input formats and uses a built-in SOAP client to obtain information from the Web. PHP, combined with applications using search engine optimization (SEO), is a powerful tool for obtaining information from major search engines, allowing this information to guide a webmaster's online marketing and SEO strategies. Find out how to take advantage of these strategies by building the back end of an application to monitor and track your client's SEO efforts.

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In this tutorial

This tutorial is for PHP programmers and webmasters interested in learning about their search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. The example application accepts comma-separated values (CSV) files to obtain domain names and keyword combinations. The positions for each domain in a given search engine are obtained by taking the domain/keyword combinations to Google, Yahoo! and MSN. These results can then be downloaded in another CSV file containing the current positions of their domains.


This tutorial assumes basic PHP knowledge of PHP syntax, including assignments, for loops and functions, and so forth.

System requirements

The following tools are needed to follow along:

  • Web server -- Any operating system and any Web server can be used. Feel free to use Apache V2.X or the IBM HTTP Server.
  • PHP -- Due to the use of PHP data objects, PHP V5.1 or higher is required. Be sure to configure PHP with the following option to include support for Derby and the SOAP extensions: --with-pdo-odbc=ibm-db2,/home/db2inst1/sqllib --enable-soap.
  • Database -- This tutorial uses Apache Derby, which is open source and lightweight, the IBM DB2 JDBC Universal Driver, and the DB2 runtime client from IBM. Make sure that you have set your classpath appropriately by following the given instructions on each page. You can follow either the Linux or Windows instructions for installing and downloading the DB2 runtime client. Cloudscape may also be used for this tutorial. The internals of Cloudscape are the same as Derby, however, the DB2 JDBC Universal Driver and other things are packaged into Cloudscape, and it is supported by IBM. Download Cloudscape V10.1 and the DB2 runtime client from IBM.
  • Java technology -- Derby requires Java technology from Sun Microsystems or from IBM.
  • Developer and application tokens -- Each major search engine requires that you pass along some sort of ID with your SOAP or REST request for search results. You need to get one from each of them: Google, Yahoo! and MSN.


Under two hours



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