Using Drop Down Menus That Work Successfully In The Search Engines

Nov 23, 2004 - 2:09 pm 0 by

Found a good thread over at SEW forums this morning that asks about particular types of drop down menus? Which are better CSS DHTML menus or Java Script menus. For the search engines the natural answer is CSS menus. They are easily spidered by the search engines and present a wide variety of options enabling the webmaster extra benefit in its use. Orion, responds that "hand-coding the menus populated with links right after the body tag and then repositioning the menu to be displayed where you want them not only improves link relevance but facilitates the crawler finding right away the links". Another member gives some good advice that while Google may read Java Script to some extent there are many other search engines that will not, so it best to use CSS for this.

An interesting argument I hadn't heard before was brought up about the CSS and JS menus. Apparently one of the member says that in some CSS drop downs use java script to just change divs from visible to hidden. So essentially your site is going to have:

- invisible div layers - transparent gifs (to trigger the visible / hidden functions) - link text inside divs with parameters that says hidden.

Hmm, not exactly what most people want. I use CSS menus in some of my site, and I don't run into this particular problem, nor am too extremely worried about it if I did. It does look like old school spam tactics, but then again its really not and while as one member relates a "stupid spider" might not understand I am not following the argument that it could put you at some risk. I guess the best way to find out would be to test it.

So what do you do if you are currently using a JS drop down menu? Can't change to CSS yet? Well good question. If you are using a JS Drop Down, I guess one of the first things you should consider is how the menu is being used in the code. Is the javascript placed in a file outside of the code on the page? Also as some of the members in the thread suggest, make sure you have a link to your site map near the top of the page, or at least the most important links on your site. If you can help it, put the site map link in an inline link where its part of a sentence and not a single link. Either way will work fine, just be sure to adjust for JS menus for all search engines.

Continue discussing JS and CSS Drop Down menus at SEW Forums.


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