The Possible Problem with the Search Box

by Gary on October 7, 2008 · 3 comments

in Accessibility,Link Strategies,SEO,SEO Mistakes

The great thing about internet users is that browsing/surfing behaviors evolve rapidly as they learn to do things the more efficient way. One of the things that users now depend heavily on is the search box. Search is no longer confined to Google and more and more websites now offer internal search to make it easier for users to find specific info found somewhere on the site. This is good practice especially from the user interface point of view. However, when it comes to SEO the search box can become a liability.

How is this so?

To be more accurate, the search box itself is not the problem. The presence of a search box on the site will NOT affect your SEO efforts negatively. However, relying too much on the search box to help your users navigate through the website and not paying attention to the link architecture of the site is a sure way to ensure that your site will not be optimised for crawling.

The main thing that is overlooked due to over reliance on the search box is deep linking. Deep linking is a no no for SEO. Avoiding deep linking simply means making sure that ALL pages are accessible and are only a few clicks (preferrably not more than three) from the main page. The reason behind this is that spiders, as we all know, discover the pages in your website by following links. Spiders do not always crawl all the links and the “deeper” (more clicks away from the main page) the page is the chances that the spider will overlook it increases.

So if you want to use a search box by all means do so but always remember that search engine spiders use a different way to crawl your website, and  make sure to pave the way for spiders to do their crawling without any snags.

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Website ROI | Anjolie December 17, 2008 at 8:58 pm

It seems like these are separate issues. I haven’t run across too many sites that rely solely on search engine boxes for navigation. They seem most effective and large scale sites (ebay, Amazon etc). So usability wise, your site should likely have a SE box as many users are search engine dominant but linking architecture is a separate issue. The cool part about a search box is getting know what your users are searching for on your site so you can better create desirable content.

Goran January 20, 2009 at 2:11 pm

nice and easy source of income.

Sergey August 19, 2010 at 11:38 am

really nice, but not so easy, Goran.