Googlebot to Submit Web Forms

April 23, 2008
web

I saw recently on the Google blog that the Googlebot will start submitting web forms.

Specifically, when we encounter a <FORM> element on a high-quality site, we might choose to do a small number of queries using the form. For text boxes, our computers automatically choose words from the site that has the form; for select menus, check boxes, and radio buttons on the form, we choose from among the values of the HTML.

They also listed some important limitations, which makes this seam much less extreme as it did when I first read about it.

The Googlebot will NOT submit forms that:

  • Use method="post"
  • Have password fields
  • "Use terms commonly associated with personal information such as logins, userids, contacts, etc"
  • Have a form action that is forbidden in robots.txt


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Comments

I assume that they will still recommend that you use Google SiteMaps to have your site fully indexed. I wonder what the driving force behind this is. It seems a bit odd to me. After all, isn't most data behind any kind of "Search" form accessible in some other way (drill down through menus and navigation)?
Yes, I find it a bit odd as well. If your content is in sitemaps google will find it, but probably won't have nearly as much weight as it would if you created a HTML page on your site with links to the deep items (a real sitemap). My guess is that they will only use this on a small number of sites, perhaps those that are popular but don't appear to have much content. I think this feature is more for those sites with nonexistent search engine optimization.
Just to clarify, I was talking about XML vs HTML sitemaps in the second paragraph. Both are good to use but if you had to pick just one, I'd go with HTML.
Google has been submitting forms both for a long time.. ajax too.
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It seems a bit odd to me. After all, isn't most data behind any kind of "Search" form accessible in some http://tophotely.com

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