Watch Out for Fancy Menu Systems

Sometimes people submit but become frustrated as to why the search engine only indexes their home page. In theory, isn’t the search engine supposed to spider to all the other pages on your site too?

In reality, the engines are inconsistent. Google often does an excellent job of spidering from one page to another, but many of the other engines appear to have a hit and miss system. Often it becomes necessary to submit your important pages that the search engine spider is not finding on its own. However, there are other reasons a spider may not be finding your pages that you should rule out first.

Using fancy Javascript menus is one way to confuse the spider. Using an HTML listbox that calls a cgi script is another way to run into problems. As a rule of thumb, if the link to your other page is not a simple HREF tag, then the search engine may not recognize it as a link to follow. Many Web sites with fancy menu systems employ Javascript to offer drop down menus, special highlighting, or other functionality. An example of such a Web site that uses drop down menus can be found at:

Notice at the top of the site how the menus drop down when you move the mouse over them. If you view the source code to the page in your browser (in Explorer you select View and then Source), you’ll see a bunch of statements with the words additem or NavBarMenu. Since the major search engines are not Java interpreters right now, most are not going to be able to follow those links.

Fortunately, the Webmaster at thought ahead by offering simple hyperlinks (using the HREF tag) at the bottom of the page for the spider to follow. All the links that did not fit neatly onto the page were put onto a page that may be traveled to via the “Site Map” hyperlink. Therefore, the search engine spider would skip by the Java code, but it could still find all the important pages by following the links at the bottom of the page.

Although with some engines you can specifically submit each of your pages, there’s often a limit to how many you can submit per day. In addition, you’ll often rank higher when you allow the search engine to find your optimized pages rather than submitting them directly.

About Article

This article is copyrighted and has been reprinted with permission from FirstPlace Software, the makers of WebPosition Gold. FirstPlace Software helped define the SEO industry with the introduction of the first product to track your rankings on the major search engines and to help you improve those rankings. A free trial of WebPosition Gold is available from their Web site.

Ritu Sharma
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