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In my ecommerce application we store all searches that customers have made from our search box. I've noticed in the last month or so though that the dominant search term in the stats is the term which we pre-populate the field with - for example - "Search Here". Its not possible to submit this term as a user if you have javascript enabled but the fact its happening so often is leading me to believe that a bot like Google is autosubmitting this search box. Is this possible/likely?

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5 Answers 5

up vote 11 down vote accepted

Google says, sometimes Googlebot may submit GET forms.

http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2008/04/crawling-through-html-forms.html

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.

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If you look through the webserver logs you should be able to find the requests for the search form. Check the User Agent of these requests (see support.google.com/webmasters/bin/…) and/or you could also do a reverse IP lookup to give you more information. –  joesk Jan 30 '13 at 11:23
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I think it's much more probably that it's some rogue spam bot than a bot from a reputable company like Google.

How about simply logging the IP and user agent when an user enter such a query?

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Cannot retrofit that in for now. Fundamentally i'm interested to know if this is known behaviour by any spider/bot? –  seengee Jul 16 '10 at 10:32
    
I guess its no different to spam bots filling in contact forms though.. –  seengee Jul 16 '10 at 10:33
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This was happening on my site and as it turned out when the user hit enter on the keyboard in an alternate textbox, like for quantity, the search fired. While it could be a bot, I'd think this scenario is more likely.

To test, try hitting the enter key in alternate fields besides the search box.

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This is totally unquantified, but I have seen cases where fairly obscure search results pages for a couple of my sites are showing up in Google's index.

While it's possible that this is due to them inserting random strings, I suspect that these URLs are coming from other places, either the Google Toolbar, or from Analytics where I have configured it to understand my site search URL pattern.

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Users are able to use the search feature of most sites right within chrome.

In Chrome, type the domain of a site, then press tab and you will be prompted to input search text. This search uses what google is assuming is the search form of your site. I believe this maybe the issue you're experiencing.

Ironically I've got a similar issue myself, our site has a 'dealer lookup' form which Chrome is using, instead of our 'site search' form.

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