forms SEO

The forms and the invisible web

The invisible web represents all the content that is not accessible to search engines. In general, it is a content stored in databases. Access can be charged for (subscription), restricted (password), etc. It can also simply be inaccessible to the engines due to the technologies used.

Most of the websites use forms within their pages. An important issue can appear when it is necessary to fill in a form to access the content. Indeed, unlike Internet users, robots do no valid them.

It is hard to imagine, GoogleBot giving the size of the apartment it wants to buy (and yet...)

The content located behind the forms therefore becomes completely invisible. This prevents any indexing so, getting ranked on the SERPs becomes impossible.


Form, SEO and GoogleBot

Google announced in April 2008 that their robot was able to smartly fill in forms, validate them and then, crawl next pages. Information or fake news? Hard to say. Technically, fill in a form and validate it is not complicated, however, doing it cleverly is a different matter...


Google Adsense and authentication zone

We find an example of the Google's bots capacity through their service, Google Adsense. It is possible to indicate a log in and a password to robots so they can log in to a private space, crawl the pages and in the end, spread relevant ads.


Here are some common examples of problems with forms

I have had the opportunity to work on several websites where the forms were the main visibility problem. This is often the case for:

Recruitment websites/Job boards: the user has to give a serie of information about the job they are looking for before validating it. If this is the only way to access the offers, we might say the visibility will take big hit... I remember in particular a job board where the module did only work with forms, was written in javascript only and belonged to an external provider :p

Real-estate sites: The internaut must indicate their choices (sale, purchase), the city, the kind of property, etc.


A solution to make your database indexed

The solution to index your database is actually pretty simple. You just have to implement links pointing to results pages. In this way, the bot will be able to access it easily. The SEO of these listing pages must be realized as carefully as any other web page of the site.

Moreover, beyond the gain of visibility, it is a way to offer the user a second element of navigation. By prioritizing the links to the results pages with finer and finer results, we get closer to the navigation system of a directory.


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