JAVASCRIPT SEO BEST PRACTICES

Matthew Carter
Hello friends, my name is Matthew Carter. I’m a professional link builder for a large SEO agency in New York City.

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No matter how great your website is, if Google can’t index it due to JavaScript issues, you’re missing out on traffic opportunities.

That’s where the technical SEO side comes in, as you’ll have to check the code to make sure it has the right information.

When it comes to how Google treats your content, there are a few main things you should know.

Why JavaScript Is Dangerous for SEO: Real-World Examples.

Alternatively, you can use dynamic rendering which implies detecting search engines and serving them static HTML pages while users are served HTML + JavaScript content in their browsers.

This way, Google can easily find the links and follow them (unless you add a nofollow attribute to them, but that’s a different story).

But Google will not index all individual variations of your URL with “#” added to it.

This is just one of the many questions I’ve heard or seen on forums.

Google doesn’t see the content which is rendered only in a browser vs on a server.

View Rendered Source Chrome Extension.

Make Sure That Rendered HTML Has All the Main Information You Want Google to Read.

As with internal links, image usage should also follow web standards so that Googlebot can easily discover and index images.

<img data-src> stores additional info about the image.

Googlebot can see only the content available in rendered HTML without any additional interaction.

I think this is the most user-friendly JS debugging tool as you don’t even need to check the code.

A Few Things You Need to Know About Google–JavaScript Relationships.

JavaScript has made it more complicated, in that it can add, remove or change different elements. Looking at the source code is not enough; you need to check the rendered HTML instead.

As a result, image search traffic can suffer a lot. It’s especially critical for any business that heavily relies on visual search.

Why it’s wrong:

During the recent Google Search Central Live event, I did a live case study of how to debug issues with images lazy-loaded using a JavaScript Library.

Why it’s wrong:

They’ll need to render the page, similar to what your browser just did, but without having to display it on a screen. Search engines use a so-called “headless browser.”

Don’t take shortcuts for serving Google a server-side rendered version. After years of saying they could handle CSR (client-side rendered) websites perfectly, they are now actively promoting dynamic rendering setups. This is also beneficial for non-Google crawlers like competing search engines that can’t handle JavaSscript yet and social media preview requests. Make sure to always include basic SEO elements, internal links, structured data markup and all textual content within the initial response to Googlebot. Set up proper monitoring for detection of Googlebot (and others) since you don’t want to take any risks. Google may add new IP ranges, new user agents or a combination of those two. Not all providers of pre-baked solutions are as fast as they should be in keeping up to date with identifying Googlebots.

This causes heavily JavaScript-reliant web pages to get indexed much slower than “regular” HTML pages, especially if such a website falls in the last rendering bracket.

How does Google deal with JavaScript sites?

Over the last few years, JavaScript SEO has become very complicated. It’s no longer just about client-side rendering, server-side rendering, or prerendering. It is now crucial to understand precisely how and where JavaScript is used within your page’s layout. In the end, JavaScript comes at a cost. There are more and more components adding up to the overall cost of your website’s code. Starting from the CPU limitations on mobile devices directly affecting your Core Web Vitals to unoptimized JavaScript causing issues with your website’s indexing in search engines through Web Rendering Service’s & Virtual Clock’s bottlenecks. Long story short – JavaScipt is fantastic. Just make sure that you have a JavaScript SEO expert on your side when designing your flashy new web experience.

Don’t use fragments in URLs to load new pages, as Google will mostly ignore these. While it may be fine for visitors to check out your “About Us” page on https://example.com#about-us , search engines will often disregard the fragment, meaning they won’t learn about that URL.

Injecting canonical links through JavaScript leads to the situation where Google only finds out about the canonical links after they’ve crawled and rendered your pages. We’ve seen instances where Google starts crawling massive amounts of personalized pages with unique URLs because the canonical link wasn’t included in the initial HTML response, but injected through JavaScript. This is a waste of crawl budget and should be avoided.

If they can’t find a page’s OpenGraph, Twitter Card markup or—if those aren’t available—your title and meta description, they won’t be able to generate a snippet. This means your snippet will look bad, and it’s likely you won’t get much traffic from these social media platforms.

You can use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test (opens in a new tab) to fetch and test a page, showing you what your rendered page would look like under the SCREENSHOT tab:

With the introduction of the loading attribute (opens in a new tab) , there’s no need to implement lazy-loading through JavaScript anymore. Chromium-powered browsers (Chrome, Edge and Opera) as well as Firefox offer native support for the loading attribute.

Render budget.

Cons.

We’ll explain every step of the process:

Overwriting your meta robots directives using JavaScript causes trouble. Here’s why:

DOM stands for Document Object Model :

🤔 Does Google crawler run JavaScript?

In order not to affect your website’s user experience, Google caches JavaScript aggressively. That’s great when your JavaScript code doesn’t change too often, but what if it does? Then you need to be able to let Google pull the newest version quickly.

“ The rendering of JavaScript power websites in Google Search is deferred until Googlebot has resources available to process that content. ”

Render-blocking JavaScript is JavaScript code that slows down rendering of your web page. This is bad from a user-experience point of view, but also from an SEO point of view, as you want to make it as quick and painless as possible for Google to render your web pages. After all, it’s bad enough that they need to render your web pages already.

Find out by comparing the initial HTML to the rendered HTML and prevent nasty SEO surprises!

Don’t block CSS and JavaScript files to try and preserve crawl budget , because this prevents search engines from rendering your pages — leading to your pages being poorly understood by search engines and an inevitable poor SEO performance.

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