Complex menu structures

Too many B&B or hotel websites run into problems as they use menu and navigation structures which are not usually necessary or appropriate. They look great but the majority of pull-down menus are created in ways that spiders can't follow easily. They are essentially a locked door that keeps spiders out. This can cause problems as inner pages may offer better content to show up in a search. However, if the spiders can't get in, they never see it, so the search engine doesn't know about it. Such menus must be used appropriately and are usually more relevant for larger or more complex sites that require detailed navigation.


bad menu


Not all dropdown or popup menus are spider stoppers, but many are, and, should be avoided if you are not sure. Better to be safe than sorry. If you are working with a company to design your website and they recommend a dropdown or popup menu, get them to guarantee that the menu is appropriate.

If you already have a popup menu on your website, you can check to see if the spiders are getting past it or not. Most major search engines have what they call a "site:" which will list all of your pages that they have indexed. If only a few of your pages show up, the spider is being prevented from getting to your other pages. If you have 15 pages to your website and all 15 show up, then you have no problems. If only half show up, then you have some problems and if only one or no pages show up, then there are some BIG problems.


  • If you are having a new website built, avoid pop-up or pull-down menus unless the designer is willing to guarantee they conform to web best practice and accessibility standards.

  • If you have an existing website that uses popup or pull down menus you should check your website search criteria. If you find many of your pages are not being spidered, you should immediately add a "site map" page to your website. A site map is a page that has a link to every single page in your website. Then place a link to the site map on every single page of your website.
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