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JavaScript and search engine optimization (SEO)

Over the past few years, Google has
dramatically improved the ability to index web pages that require
JavaScript to display their content. Can you get high rankings with
JavaScript-only web pages? If Google can index your JavaScript pages,
will they also rank your pages?

JavaScript and SEO

How do web pages
get into Google’s index?

Step 1: Google crawls
web pages with Googlebot

Before a web page can be listed on
Google’s search result pages, it has to be discovered by Google. Google
uses a web-crawler with the name ‘Googlebot’ to discover new pages.

Googlebot fetches web pages, follows
the links on these web pages, fetches these pages, follows the links,
etc. Web crawlers such as Googlebot are simply programs that can
analyze links and HTML code. Web crawlers do not render web pages.
JavaScript is not executed on this stage.

Step 2: Google indexes
the pages

Googlebot has the main role when it
comes to find new web pages. Google’s Caffeine algorithm is used to
index the pages. In that phase, Google tries to render the pages,
JavaScript on the crawled pages is executed with a web rendering
service (WRS).

Unfortunately, it is not clear to what
extent Google executes the JavaScript on the found pages. If rendering
the pages shows that there are new links on the page that are only
available through JavaScript, these URLs will be sent to the crawler.

Step 3: Google ranks the
pages

After rendering the page, Google tries
to understand the content of the found web pages. Depending on the
content, the quality of the content and other factors (such as the
external links that point to the web pages), Google will rank the pages.

JavaScript and
SEO

Googlebot does not render the content
of web pages. It just discovers new pages and parses the content of
these pages. Caffeine renders the content and it processes the
JavaScript on the pages.

Google can index and rank JavaScript
to some extent. However, experience shows that there are still a lot of
problems with JavaScript pages. For that reason, you should make it as
easy as possible for Google to index your pages. Making your web pages
and your JavaScript search engine friendly is important if you want to
get high rankings.

Google recommends ‘progressive
enhancement’. That means that you should use only HTML for your web
page content and then use AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript And XML) to
improve the appearance of your web pages. That’s the best way to
optimize your pages because Google can see the full content of your web
pages in the HTML code, and users will get a good looking website.

If you use a framework such as Angular
JS, use tools that prerender the pages to make sure that Google can
index the full content of your web pages. If you rely on Caffeine, you
cannot be sure if the full content of your pages will be parsed. Some
content of your pages might be invisible to Google if it relies on
JavaScript that is not supported by Caffeine.

What you should
do now

Google says that they can index and
rank JavaScript. Unfortunately, many webmasters cannot confirm this. In
addition, most search engines and social networks do not render
JavaScript.

For that reason, it is important that
you deliver your web page content in plain HTML to search engines. The
easier search engines can parse your web pages, the more likely it is
that your content can be indexed correctly.

To make sure that your web pages can
be parsed by all crawlers, check your web pages with the website audit
tool in SEOprofiler. You can create your SEOprofiler account here:

Check
your pages

Article source: http://newsletter.seoprofiler.com/newsletter829.htm

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