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Google Filling Out HTML Forms and Crawling Results
Monday, April 14, 2008
Search Engine Land is reporting that Google has now become the first major search engine that is crawling forms on "high quality" web sites and filling out the forms to get back information. According to Google's official announcement on the Webmaster Central Blog,
In the past few months we have been exploring some HTML forms to try to discover new web pages and URLs that we otherwise couldn't find and index for users who search on Google. Specifically, when we encounter a
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. Having chosen the values for each input, we generate and then try to crawl URLs that correspond to a possible query a user may have made.
You can still control this on your site by using a robots.txt or robots meta instruction so that Googlebot will be unable to access your forms. As Search Engine Lands points out,
The move is potentially good for searchers, in that it will open up material often referred to being part of the "deep web" or "invisible web" as it was hidden behind forms.

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posted by Jody @ Monday, April 14, 2008  
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