Long navigation alternatives, to frames

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I don't want to get into a frames discussion here. We all know
they have numerous drawbacks, especially with search engine visibility.
(Google, ironically, uses framesets for displaying individual news
group posts).

Despite the trouble they cause, it is still tempting to use frames,
for instance for machine-generated pages that might have a large number
of left-side
navigation links.  If you do use frames in that situation (like Google
Groups) then the
user can scroll up and down through a vertically huge list of left-side
without losing track of a vertically smaller right side display.

But if you do have pages like that (machine generated, lots of links,
small display)
and if you do use frames, then you pages either do don't get indexed at
all, or, even
worse, the individual frames get indexed, so search results take your
to broken, fragmented page bits.

Is there....are there any search-engine friendly ways to combine long
with short display, without using frames?  I've tried various tricks
with floating div
tags and dynamic block repositioning.  Maybe that is  the way to solve
this problem.
But it gets ugly, in the odd case, when the rightside display is long
and the navigation
is short.

I just wonder what else I don't know about.....how others deal with
this obscure
but troublesome problem.

Re: Long navigation alternatives, to frames

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I have some pages with a lot of navigation links on one side (basically
I linked to all my pages on that topic, and then the topic grew to about
70 pages).  After a while I decided the best solution for me was to
increase the amount of genuine content on each page to the extent that
the navigation no longer looked excessive.  Did wonders for my position
in Google searches.

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Surely this is an indication that you have the wrong content?  Perhaps
you need a meta asking Google not to index pages whose content is broken
and fragmented?  I am not really understanding why you would want pages
with broken and fragmented content.

However I think next time I look like doing pages that might potentially
have a lot of navigation links, I will do two things.  The first is to
move to a content management system to generate pages (as you have
apparently already done).  The second is to rethink entirely how I do my
navigation.  I don't like multiple level navigation, but I do think
grouping of navigation topics is the correct approach if the alternative
is very long navigation areas.


Re: Long navigation alternatives, to frames

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...I meant the individual frames get indexed, as if they were
independent pages.
People see that, don't understand and think you are a moron for making
a stupid page (left-side links only).

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Yes, I use Site_Bot from phpclasses.org. To use that package you load a
hierarchical directory structure (nested, empty directories, where the
have descriptive names) with text files, html fragments, image files
and text-based
image captions. Then you run the program and it generates static and/or

dynamic html. With that system you can manage thousands of pages.
But it does, sometimes,. produce pages with too many links (if you put
too many
files into one of the source directories).  Right now, the program
counts the
links, and then uses a table layout, if the link count is less than a
number, else frames.

I'd like to change it to work with div tags and css positioning (rather
than tables),
but I haven't had time yet.

Re: Long navigation alternatives, to frames

Another "too many links" example
Here's another way this problem crops up:
If you have a system that generates pages using the result
of a database query as input to the page generation code
(I do) then you don't know what you're going to get in advance.

Perhaps you have a shopping cart system (I'm working on one such)
where a peson selects "all mens shirts where x,y,z"
...and then the query returns links to existing pages that meet those
criteria, and then generate a dynamic page with all those links on
the left (or top, right, bottom) and then randomly choose one such link
to display on the right. Then, any subsequent clicks maintain the same
navigation (until a new query is run), but swap out the right side
according to the last link click. That's basically how my system works.
And it seems to work quite well-------except for the odd case where
too many links pop up.  The awful frames solution is one way to do it.
A table (where the links are much longer than the display) is another.
Scrolling table cells might be a solution, but my attempts at that
end up looking like a disaster.

Re: Long navigation alternatives, to frames

What's wrong with making a single page with links to everyone of your
framed pages on it and submitting that page only to spiders so they
don't have trouble crawling the frames?

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