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Search Engines and <select> tag

Posted on 1998-10-27
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Last Modified: 2012-05-04
Does anyone know definitively whether or not search engine spiders ignore text inside of <select> tags?

I have emailed altavista and excite but was ignored.  I also looked on http://www.searchenginewatch.com/ but that is the kind of information they want you to pay for on that site...

So can anyone tell me?
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Question by:ris
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8 Comments
 
LVL 28

Expert Comment

by:sybe
ID: 1839079
Why don't try it out yourself, make a page with some (very uncommon) keywords ONLY in select, and submit it to searchenigines. See if it indexes your keywords by searching for the uncommon words you entered.


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Expert Comment

by:najjie
ID: 1839080
Sybe's idea seems like a good one if you're patient enough to give it a shot. That way you could find out which sites do and do not search inside select tags, because from what I understand, there isn't really a definitive yes or no, since all bots index sites differently.  For example, the AltaVista bot apparently will index Everything in your html document, while some others are more selective.( I would imagine that any bot that searches inside other tags in your html document would search the select tags as well, since it's still a part of the text.) A couple of good places to get some information would be:
http://www.botspot.com/
and the robots mailing list at
http://www.brujula.com.ar/mailing-list.html 
Good luck!

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LVL 9

Expert Comment

by:david_levine
ID: 1839081
Check out http://www.searchenginewatch.com 

I looked for something specific on the <select> tag but didn't find anything that would specifically answer your question.
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Author Comment

by:ris
ID: 1839082
I looked at all those web sites and couldn't find anything.  I believe searchenginewatch would have the information I want, but only if I subscribe, which costs money that I don't want to spend.

I'm trying the experiment, but it's really hard to tell one way or the other because it takes so long to be registered at all I can't tell if I'm not showing up because it takes a while to get onto the list or because it is ignoring the text in the <select>

Any more advice?  I can't think of a reason for the search engines to ignore that text but I still want to know for sure one way or the other...
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LVL 2

Expert Comment

by:potent
ID: 1839083
The answer to your question is Yes, but does it really matter?

Title, Meta, Heading and Exclamation Tags, followed by word count, are of so much more value, that words within the select tag are only going to count for one. So how much value would they really give in the ranking of your page?
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LVL 1

Author Comment

by:ris
ID: 1839084
I'm not sure I understand your answer.  Please clarify and then I'll give you points...

Are you saying that while counting the words, it sees a <select> counts it as one word, skips to </select> and goes on without actually considering any of the words inside the drop-down list?

The reason that it matters is that we have a list of vendors in a <select> list and my boss wants people who search on those vendors to see our site in their list of search results.  If the words inside the <select> tag are ignored then he wants me to redesign the page so that the vendors are listed in the visible text.
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Accepted Solution

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potent earned 60 total points
ID: 1839085
Hi RIS

I see we are getting to the real reason for your question :-) and all words listed in options will count as one, not just the selected option. From a design point of view (depending on how many vendors you list) you will have to put the Vendors in Meta Tags in order to get "any" ranking at all when someone searches on them.

Words in the body of the page need to be repeated - alot - in order to pump up the word count and mean anything to the search engine. So any words (vendors) used in a form should also be mentioned as much as possible in the body.

Use Infoseek to start as they index the page within hours and you can see results.
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Author Comment

by:ris
ID: 1839086
Thanks, that was very helpful!
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