I’ve read and discussed the effects that the hidden ViewState variable used by most ASP.NET applications may have on page rank. To the best of my knowledge there is no definitive answer to this question. Most in the SEO industry will tell you that it “should almost never make a difference” yet those same people will want it yanked as one of their first steps in optimizing a page for Google, Yahoo or MSN.
As a software developer, I cannot begin to tell the frustration. First, it should not make a difference. A spider, bot, whatever you want to call it should know to ignore most hidden fields. There is an argument that some hidden fields dilute the page content. C’mon, why?
Ok, let’s say that it does. Even given that, shouldn’t the major engines be aware enough of the technologies being used to realize that a lot of sites out there use this standard field? Shouldn’t they ignore it?
The fact is, none of the search engines will come out and tell you anything about their algorithms. They will not confirm that the VIEWSTATE variable is ignored or if it, along with other hidden variables, are considered. They will not tell you that those values dilute your content. They will not tell you that their bots are “smart” enough to ignore them. What is a software engineer to do!?!?
A colleague of mine that was present in a recent debate within our company about ViewState decided to do something about it. He’s performing a test with a made-up word that currently returns no results to help decide if there are any adverse effects of having the ViewState variable in your page.
After 1-3 weeks we are hoping that the pages ge indexed via the ViewState Index page. I’ll link to the results after the test is complete.
Way to go Dave!