SEO and JavaScript in Web Development

A short web tutorial to provide the overview about SEO and JavaScript in Web development, such as what JavaScript can/can not do; impact of JavaScript on SEO (SEO - Search Engine Optimization) and how to use JavaScript better for SEO.

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JavaScriptBank.comWhile JavaScript brings some smooth, beautifying features and functions to a website that enhance the total user experience, it's not really beneficial for improving your visibility or elevating your rankings in Google.  It doesn't necessarily ruin your SEO efforts, but you need to decide if taking the time to create the code is worth it for you.

What JavaScript Does

  • Attracts attention
  • Makes a site less boring and vanilla
  • Adds pop-ups, images and animations
  • Takes you to another page for further info
  • Enables web developers to manage/ maintain website

What JavaScript Doesn't

  • Help rankings in search engines
  • Get picked up by Web crawlers

Impact of JavaScript on SEO

JavaScript alone isn't necessarily good or bad for SEO, as the search engines pretty much ignore it. You could argue, however, that while it can help make a website more pleasant to visit, the difficulty spiders have following JavaScript has a negative impact on your rankings. Thus, the basic thing you need to remember is that the search engine spiders don't crawl JavaScript, so at the very least you should avoid using it as the only location for your keywords. Site Search isn't able to index content,

Also, comments in HTML are ignored by the search engines - and navigational links and content offered via JavaScript are ignored, too.  This can impact your SEO because your links and content are top level factors for ranking and trustworthiness. Make sure you have normal HTML navigational links on the page and remove navigation from JavaScript so you don't inadvertently lock search engines out of important areas of your site.

Another important SEO consideration is that JavaScript tends to slow down page loading time, which might have an impact on your rankings. Luckily, you can get around this by externalizing this function calling on it only when required by the client.

Think about this, too - an issue that Google in particular has with JavaScript is that it tends to assume that the site is serving up different content and navigation to the user than to the search engines.  This is a tactic commonly used by adult and gambling sites, so it's not always great for a site's reputation.

Using JavaScript

Search engines are getting better at reading JavaScript, but you should never substitute it for regular link navigation. It's certainly fine to use JavaScript, but the trick is in finding the right balance - between solid SEO practices such as well-written content and keyword rich meta titles, H1 tags, strong backlinks, etc. and fun extras that come in the form of JavaScript and other components of Web page design. And, while Web crawlers can't see images or videos, you could try using alt tags to describe them - just remember they don't have the same value as good, old-fashioned links.

There are some sites that are naturals for using JavaScript well; for example, e-commerce sites that require lots of images, but static content has the greatest chance of being indexed by search engines.

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