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HTML Content inside a DIV tag - Harmful?

I have good reason for using a div tag but do not want to become a target!

9:31 pm on Mar 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

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joined:June 24, 2004
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If this posting is in the wrong section I apologize!

On a recent web application we have decided that the most functional use of a given side bar space would be filled with user comments on a given topic. These comments (in html) would be inside a <div> tag. In this general area would be an option to post comments by a user, clicking the link would reload the <div> contents with the Comment Form allowing the user to post the comments.

- Will a search engine robot be able to read the user posted comments within the <div> tag?
- Do search engines look unfavorably upon the use of <div> tags since so many have abused the tag and stuffed it full of keywords then set them to hidden?
- If a bot follows the "Post your Comments" link and the <div> reloads to ONLY DISPLAY the comment form, will the bot see it since I thought javascript, thus ajax was not understandable to a bot?
- Lastly, any drawbacks that anyone can foresee?

10:01 pm on Mar 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

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joined:Aug 29, 2003
votes: 0

Search engines have no issues with <div> - it's just markup, they are uninterested in it. Any markup can be abused, it isn't peculiar to divs, you can equally hide and/or stuff a paragraph but that doesn't mean everyone should avoid using <p>.

Probably, from what you describe, the form and the comments will be on the page anyway, all the JavaScript will be doing is showing or hiding them from the user. In which case they are in the page source, if you can see them there, search engines will see them.