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Dynamic Menus and Google
SEO friendly nav menus

 5:02 pm on May 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

Does anyone know of a dynamic menu program that is also SEO friendly? I am doing some SEO fo an ecommerce store and the designer wants to use dynamic menus, since there are so many cat and subcats. From past experience I know that many of these programs are not indexing friendly. I know I can use text links at the bottom of the pages but would rather find a dynamic menu program that is SEO friendly.

Any ideas?




 5:18 pm on May 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

I don't want this thread to be product recommendations -- so let's limit the discussion to what features to look for, and what to avoid, in a Google-friendly menu system. Finding or building a system that lines up with the guidelines is the homework assignment ;)

The key feature to look for is whether the source code shows a straight <a href="url">Link Text</a> link. It should not use javascript document.write() to create the menu or javascript arrays to process the click. Such systems are available and easy to find through a search. Compare features against cost and your needs and choose accordingly.

Note, javascript is necessary to switch the css visibility of the menu divs from hidden to visible, but the divs themselves should hold straight html links, and preferably text links.

Some systems use javascript for the real menu that users see, and then generate a div to contain the friendly urls, but give that div a "dispay:none" css rule. This approach can sometimes slip by Google's algo, but it seems to go against Google's guidelines on hidden content and might be problematic on a hand check.


 7:18 pm on May 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

tedster, remember birdman's excellent script for menu stuff, using show/hide divs, can't remember the link to it, but that's one product you can safely recommend. There are others too, but they all suffer from MASSIVELY bloated javascript [product rhymes with sick].

While the WebmasterWorld script is not a purely plug and play option, it's much better than the commercial trash out there.


 7:27 pm on May 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

Our Javascript Forum Library also has a good thread on the topic, complete with code. Working your way through this code, hands on, will probably give you a more solid viewpoint to make your judgements from. Who knows, it might even inspire you to roll your own! When your script only includes the functions YOU need, you can avoid a lot of the javascript/css code bloat that comes from trying to make one product that fits all needs.

dHTML menus show-hide layers menu system [webmasterworld.com]

This may be the thread you meant, 2by4. It's from
BlobFisk, who wrote this thread before he was a moderator.

[edited by: tedster at 10:20 pm (utc) on May 13, 2006]


 8:57 pm on May 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

tedster, yes, my apologies to blobfisk, it's his great script I was referring to.

Patrick Taylor

 9:10 pm on May 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

I've used what is known as the "Suckerfish" menu, which mimics the JavaScript flyout-type thing but it's purely CSS based and consists of normal (SEO friendly) links. Details can be found by (surprise surprise) searching Google for "Suckerfish menu". It still needs a JavaScript-enabled browser but its functionality degrades gracefully.


 10:22 pm on May 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

Time to lock this one up. Good luck on your research, scubajared. The truth is out there.

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