Is Javascript Crawlable for SEO?

Back in the Netscape web days browsers understood HTML. Browsers like Netscape would fetch these files and render the content. But the HTML was not enough, making content that was interactive seem to be the essence of keeping the traffic on that website and Javascript was the answer. Javascript is not flash, It is a programming language that can be rendered on your browser. Great examples of javascript exist in our everyday life. When scrolling on Facebook, Facebook has a “Javascript Library” called “Infinite Scroll”, Which allows you to continue scrolling on your news feed with new fresh or older content as you embrace the latest of your family and friends post.

Search Engine Crawlers & Javascript

Google does crawl Javascript, There may be some limitations but when you connect your website to Google Search Console ( Formerly Google Webmaster Tools ) you can see that Google will show your sites javascript within its reports. Google is looking to understand a websites interactivity so they can understand a websites ability to be relevant to their traffic by means of interacting with the user. There’s a downside. Google is always ahead of the race, Other crawlers like Bing, Yahoo, Alexa and others will not be able to do the same. Those crawlers do not crawl Javascript, Any content and SEO value within the Javascript would not be found by these crawlers. The best way around this if you have to use Javascript is to make sure your content is “outside” of the Javascript element. Make sure that your valuable content is indexable and a separate section not part of the “interactivity”. Lastly, Speed is a huge factor for SEO, Javascript can severely slow down your side when not done correctly, If you could speed up the page and make your content crawlable then you may be able to get great results with pages that have javascript embedded within the content.

javascript and seo

Where to use Javascript

Ideally, you will want to use Javascript on things that make a users experience valuable like the Facebook idea. Content that matters to your users that don’t need to be crawled. That could be a dashboard, Video library, or things that may be behind a registration or paywall. You will want to enhance your content based on what matters to your users and place it based on traffic that sees it as value. Another idea is checkouts for eCommerce sites. Checkouts don’t have a need to be indexable, If your planning to create a faster experience to help with growth, Javascript will be a great idea.

Future of Javascript and SEO

Google is always at the game of future proofing SEO, Bing/Yahoo and other crawlers will have to start following Google’s footsteps in crawling this content. Javascript will be available when it helps the user get to “their Information” faster, better, easier. Ideas like

  1. Offering a video series within your content that explains why or how that interacts with your content.
  2. Embed a way for your blog to become a “Speakable” content that can be read to busy entrepreneurs.
  3. Offer a way to order grocery items by clicking on a recipe within a video.

Creativity is what will set you apart from your competition, and I believe that Javascript will be part of this evolution.

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