A good debate naturally arises in the SEO sphere whenever there is a discussion about the relationship that stands in between Javascript and SEO. Notwithstanding the fact that whether Javascript is being used by your site or whether you have decided upon auditing a client’s website as per the Javascript, it is quite important to gain knowledge of it before starting with it.

The Role of Javascript

Javascript can be best defined as a programming language which is employed in order to make the web pages look all the more vibrant and interactive. For instance, it can be operated for AJAX recommendation widgets or even for comment. Moreover, when Javascript is already being operated on the visitors’ computer then it doesn’t require any invariable downloads further from your website.

Javascript is the only scripting language which is well supported by all the various web browsers which deal with client-side scripting
Apart from being a programming language, Javascript is also an interpreted language. Hence it does not require any special program for the creation of usable code. Javascript can be written well enough, simply with the aid of basic plain text editor.

The role of Google in crawling Javascript:

Long back, it was not possible for the search engine bots to crawl and index the dynamic content with the aid of Javascript. They were only capable of seeing what was being held in the static HTML source code. However, the search engine bots’ old AJAX crawling scheme strategy of the escaped-fragment #HTML and URLs snapshots was changed by Google last October, 2015. The impact of which was that now they can often comprehend and understand the various web pages.

With the adoption of MVW framework AngularJS, which is Google’s own Javascript, and frameworks like React and other progressive web applications, the usage of Javascript has amplified over the course of the years.

DOM loaded should be decipherable after the web page has been constructed by Javascript for successful crawling of Javascript websites.

As far as the old SEO crawlers who analyze the website links and content are concerned, they were only able to crawl the static HTML which was returned by the server. However, Google can now easily manage to do all the above mentioned with Javascript crawlers alone. OnCrawl has been on the same line and has released a similar kind of crawler. Apart from that OnCrawl also features the ability to render the Javascript of any website and of any size.

Key Pain Points About Crawling JS or JavaScript

For complete SEO analysis it is quite difficult the sites which use Javascript to access a better and comprehensive view of the structure and data of their sites.  Hence, before going deep into the topic of Javascript crawling, here are a few technical points which demand your awareness.

  • Javascript crawling is a long and intensive process which demands a lot of time from the servers mainly for the big websites since the fetching of all the resources takes time. Different JavaScript frameworks are present along with the SEO implications behind them. The best way to start is by analyzing the website which you are auditing is built.
  • Many websites still rely upon the old AJAX crawling procedure and have a peculiar set-up. In such a case, Javascript is not purely relied upon for rendering processes like crawling, indexing and scoring.
  • If the links or click zones are functioning with the aid of Angular.js framework, then they must possess ng-href attribute and not ng-click.
  • Only the crawlers accessing the Anchor link will be able to understand the href attribute.

The conditions bestowed upon by Google for Javascript crawling:

  • Unique and clean URLs are demanded by Google which have links that are located in a HTML
  • The content must be loaded within five seconds as the rendered page snapshot is taken within that time, otherwise, it would not be indexed for every other web page.
  • For processes like crawling, rendering and indexing, all the resources of a webpage like JS and CSS must be available.

Google also quotes that:

“If you’re about to start from the very beginning then you must build the structure of your site along with its navigation using only HTML. After that once you receive the website’s links, pages and content in proper place then you can enhance the interface and appearance with the aid of AJAX”

The crawling of Javascript:

One needs to firstly analyse the links and the content as they form the most important factor as far as the ranking of the website is concerned.  The search engines are programmed in such a way they that they easily find and index the JS-rendered content first. However, it’s quite difficult to comprehend the manner in which the ranking is done and how it will impact your SEO.

  • To find links: Watch out for the full scope of the outgoing links of a page, inclusive of those which are dependent on JavaScript ;
  • To find text content: Obtain perfect analysis of the content quality along with product reviews and the user-generated comments which are often rendered in the Javascript of the website.

It is quite important to include those elements in the SEO analysis which can be easily found and indexed by the search engines. Javascript is mainly used for important content of high value and hence the SEO crawls must be extensively comprehensive in order to provide an exhaustive outlook to your website.

Manner in which JavaScript-Inclusive Crawl is Executed

To execute JavaScript-inclusive crawl you need to:

  • Evaluate the content of the text which is provided with JavaScript
  • Pre-render the Angular/backbone Javascript in order to transform the ng-href attributes on the various Javascript links so that exploring can be done without the a@href markup, as is done by Google.
  •  You need to ensure that all the websites owned by you can be easily crawled and thus can be entered into the process of modeling.

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