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Hidden Block In Menu Bad?


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11 replies to this topic

#1 adibranch

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 05:50 AM

Hi All, i have a heavily modded OSCommerce site with a lot of custom SEO integrations. Recently i've redone the menu layout and are using an UL to create the menu. The problem is that the menu goes three layers deep, and i only want it to go two layers deep. I dont have time to rewrite the menu (i'm not the best PHP programmer).

So, i'm thinking of hiding the third layer as follows...

<ul>
<li>
<ul> <li>
<ul><li> </li> </ul>
</li> </ul>
</li>
</ul>

The third bolded level will be a display: none; and will never be visible, no mouseovers, nothing. Within each line will obviously be a link.
Now, given this is a menu (the id also has a semantic menu name) and its pretty obvious its a UL menu, will the search engines pick up on this and ignore it, or will it see hidden sections and flag warnings?
Commons sense says it'll ignore it, its obviously a CSS based menu and as such may carry hidden sections, but i just want to be sure.

opinions?

Edited by adibranch, 19 May 2009 - 05:57 AM.


#2 NASA

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 05:58 AM

QUOTE
I dont have time to rewrite the menu (i'm not the best PHP programmer).
How is the menu created is it all dynamic?
You say you changed it to use unordered list, so you must have changed it to create an extra <li> that isn't needed, simply remove that extra LI from the code?

As for the SE's, if the LI has no content , then you aren't hiding anything, it's just very bad coding that's all.


#3 adibranch

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 07:38 AM

yes, its all dynamic.. and each hidden line will contain a link the third level categories.

I cant change the menu not to include the unwanted third level, it goes through a recursive request and auto generates, and i dont have the time to alter it (my php is so so, i could do it but it would take me ages).

So, the next best thing is hiding the third level in a display: none; ffrom a useability point of view, but this site has heavy SEO and i dont want to jepordise it by having what is essentially a hidden block section containing links.

#4 Randy

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 09:13 AM

As said above, if your hidden layer contains no content you're safe. Hiding nothing is having nothing to hide. giggle.gif

#5 adibranch

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 09:15 AM

it has links though.. so maybe not content its true, but hidden links?

What you're saying makes sense, but i dont want to leave it to chance. This is a highly placed client site, if it drops i'm a dead man smile.gif

#6 Randy

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 09:24 AM

Those links would count as content. So would be a potential concern.

As a short term workaround to rewriting the plugin would it be possible to simply put a visual way for users to make those 3rd level links visible? I'm thinking something here that would allow you to maintain your design for the vast majority, but at least give the option.

The point being that as long as hidden content can be made to be visible by real users the engines don't have an issue with it being hidden.

#7 qwerty

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 09:47 AM

If you can't remove the extra code, is it at least possible for you to comment it out?

#8 NASA

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 09:57 AM

even using a little count var within the loop, which resets each main loop and doesn't spit out code if >= 3 should do it!

#9 adibranch

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 10:09 AM

QUOTE(Randy @ May 19 2009, 09:24 AM) View Post
Those links would count as content. So would be a potential concern.

As a short term workaround to rewriting the plugin would it be possible to simply put a visual way for users to make those 3rd level links visible? I'm thinking something here that would allow you to maintain your design for the vast majority, but at least give the option.


they're accessible by the 2nd level category pages, but not directly from index pages or elsewhere in the template, and to add more links (or make them viewable) into the template would defeat the object of not showing them in the first place (which is for a useability issue, ie simplicity).

QUOTE
even using a little count var within the loop, which resets each main loop and doesn't spit out code if >= 3 should do it!


that would be the best solution yes, but iwas pressed for time, so looking for alternatives... i think i'll be shooting myself in the foot by doing so, so i reckon you're right.

Thanks for the replies all smile.gif

#10 adibranch

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Posted 06 October 2009 - 04:17 AM

okay just an update on this...

I switched the site to the new system three months ago, using hidden links in the third level of the menu. The result is ...... nothing. Its fine. And as a bonus my new menu structure and site revamp increased sales by 40% smile.gif The site is now the leading UK ladder site and going strong with around 20,000 visitors per month from 90% organic traffic, turning over around 40k a month in shopping cart orders, and more from phone sales on top smile.gif bargain.
Unfortunately the siteowners still have no concept of how to run an online biz sad.gif which is bonkers considering that its purely an online company. I'd love to buy it from them.

Edited by adibranch, 06 October 2009 - 04:25 AM.


#11 Randy

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Posted 06 October 2009 - 08:17 AM

hysterical.gif

Should have bought it before you fixed it adibranch. Cuz if they're paying attention at all the price just went up the moment you proved the site could make them more money.

#12 adibranch

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Posted 06 October 2009 - 08:53 AM

tell me about it smile.gif although they probably wouldnt even have noticed. On the other hand though, they're paying me 25% of my monthly earnings for marketing just one site, so its not all bad.




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