The basics of JavaScript framework SEO

The basics of JavaScript framework SEO 1

Introduction:

The popularity of JavaScript in the world of web development is rapidly increasing. For more than TWO decades, it is the leader in web development applications. The popularity is revealed by the data published by Statista which shows that more than 65% of web developers love to use JavaScript.

But when it comes to using JavaScript in an SEO-friendly manner, the most important aspect is that many of the users are ignoring the importance of JavaScript SEO. Most businesses prefer making websites using WordPress

It is obvious that if you are working on any of the JavaScript-supported frameworks like Angular, Vue.js, React, you are going to face issues with respect to those who are into WordPress, Shopify, or other CMS platforms. And therefore, to make it a success, you must know about the SEO-friendly nature of the JavaScript framework. It is more important to know how Google or other search engines handle JavaScript and how to solve the issue.

When you go through this article completely, you will come to know about what JavaScript SEO is, how it affects SEO, how to make JavaScript SEO friendly, and the common JS issues and solutions. Stay with us.

 

What is JavaScript SEO?

In simple words, we can define JavaScript as a programing language to develop websites. It helps to improve the interactivity of any website and works along with HTML and CSS. Currently, any specific JavaScript framework like Angular or Vue.js is used to build the whole website and supports mobile applications and web apps as well. The numerous features offered by these frameworks like a single or multi-page web app, user-friendly nature, reduced size, are increasing the popularity of these frameworks among the developer world.

The ultimate goal of any website is to rank high on search engines. JavaScript SEO is a part of technical Search Engine Optimization which makes the websites more Search Engine friendly, or easy to crawl and index. JavaScript has a steep learning curve that makes it a little bit difficult to get accustomed to. But many times, you have to bet between performance and functionality where the main battle starts with JavaScript. This enables the search engines to discover the page through best practices.

 

How does JavaScript affect SEO?

There are some important parameters that every developer should know if they wish to work on JavaScript and want to make SEO friendly page. Following are some of the on-page elements that are critical for SEO:

What are JavaScript-powered websites?

When we talk about JavaScript-powered websites, it is not simply the interactivity of JavaScript with HTML documents. The actual JS-powered websites have the core or primary part which is entered into the DOM via JavaScript.

But how to know whether this is a JavaScript-powered website or not? Well, that is easy enough. You can check whether any website is built on a JavaScript framework or not by using some of the technology lookup tools. Also, in the browser part, there is the “Inspect Element” or “View Source” that can notify you about the core of the website.

 

How Google react to JavaScript:

To make a user-friendly and search engine-friendly website, it is important to know the process and steps of how Google crawl, render, and index any website.

Crawling a webpage is the first thing the search engines do to your new webpage. There is a way of crawling any website and Google has its own unique structure for this. It moves step-by-step and page by page. First, the crawl bot sends a GET request to the server and the server sends the HTML document. Typically, a mobile user is used to send the request to the server. In the later stage, the crawler decides the main resources to render the webpage and prefers to crawl the static HTML documents rather than any CSS or JS file. 

The reason behind this discrimination is, rendering a huge JavaScript is costly. As per the Google Webmaster data, almost 130 trillion web pages have been discovered so far by Google and the work to download and execute a massive number of JavaScript is mammoth. All the unexecuted parts are lined up for later. When the crawling part is done, Google bot renders and indexes the webpage.

This clearly shows that the JavaScript contents are kept aside by the Google crawl bot for the future and that creates a delay in the indexing. Generally, after a certain timespan, the crawler revisits the webpage, but it can take days to weeks.

The main factor of taking a longer time in indexing is the crawl budget. Due to the limited computing resources, there is a limit to crawling any website or how frequently the crawler should visit any specific webpage. Moreover, blocked in Robot.txt, Timeouts, and errors can ask Google crawlers not to visit your webpage ever.

How to make SEO-friendly JavaScript content

It is evident that the JavaScript content makes the job tough for Google. Therefore, it is important for you to take some necessary steps to help Google.

There are THREE major aspects that make Google find your website.

Google crawling: 

This is the step where Google needs to crawl your website in certain steps which makes it easy to find the important and valuable resources of your website.

Renderability: 

To make your website SEO-friendly, renderability is one of the important factors. Rendering is a process in coding and programming that makes the webpage an interactive one. The rendering engine and the software play a key role when it comes to rendering a website.

Crawl budget: 

The time factor that Google needs to crawl your website and render it is important to make your webpage SEO friendly. It generally depends on the size of the website, the complicacy, and health of the webpage. If the number of errors Google encounters while crawling any website is very high, it’s natural that the SEO rank of that webpage is not good.

All these parameters are crucial and have adverse effects on Google indexing if not properly managed. We have enlisted some of the key points that you can use to check whether the search engines can index the JavaScript content of your webpage.

Check the technicality of your website: 

The technicality of your webpage should allow Google and other search engines to render properly. Instead of reviewing it through opening Google chrome, you should do live testing on the Google URL inspection tool. It is available on the Google Search Console. It offers the flexibility to check the screenshot of how Googlebot sees your website and render. This facility is also available with other Search Engines. You can analyze if the search engine is rendering the important contents and modify it accordingly.

Proper Indexing: 

To make it SEO-friendly, Google indexing is very important. Google Search Console offers this facility also. “Site” command is the feature that makes this easier. First, you need to check if the website URL is indexed by Google itself. You can check it by typing “site: URL” in Google and your website will be displayed. If it is displayed, then you can be sure that it’s on Google’s database. To check any fragment of your web content, you can type “site:{your website}{fragment}”. Google will display the snippet of your website and you are done.

This may also happen that your site is not getting indexed immediately. There are some probable causes mentioned below:

Common JavaScript SEO issue:

Core content issues: 

Latest webpages and applications are developed on JavaScript frameworks and there are many popular frameworks like Angular, React, and Vue.js. There are numerous benefits to using this framework in web development. Many times, the webpage looks good when it is seen on Google. But the actual problem lies beneath the hood. It may happen that the same webpage is not found by the search engine bots and therefore, they cannot crawl or index it. This affects the ranking of your website adversely.

Problems with Lazy loading images: 

The search engines can also find problems crawling the lazy loading images due to JavaScript issues. The crawl bots can realize and support the images but when the time comes to render and crawl through the image, the bot manages its virtual viewport and found it longer during the webpage crawling. It is very important for webpage SEO that the search engine bot can crawl all the contents as well as the images.

SEO for loading speed: 

JavaScript is also responsible for the loading speed of your webpage. This is one of the key factors in ranking in Google. The slower the loading speed, it gets tougher to rank well in Google. To manage the time and resources, Google also avoids loading the JavaScript, and therefore, to safeguard the ranking, coding and delivery should be efficient.

How to solve the common JavaScript SEO issues:

Though there are many common SEO issues found with the JavaScript framework, every problem has a solution. If you keep some simple points in mind, you can make the JS more SEO-friendly.

Unique Title and snippet: 

Unique and descriptive titles can help the users find their actual content and best results. The same applies to the meta description also. There is flexibility in the JS framework where you can alter the Title and Meta description at your convenience.

Compatible Code: 

JS is a popular and evolving programming language. Though Google bot has some limitations, JavaScript supports the bot to crawl and index. You need to write compatible codes that help the Googlebot reach and render your webpage.

Meaningful HTTP status code: 

Usually, the server, which is hosting the website generates the HTTP status codes. Whenever there is a query from the client, these status codes are generated. Googlebot uses these HTTP status codes to find errors or issues during crawling the webpage. It is required to mention a meaningful status code even if you do not want the bot to crawl the site. Also, it happens much time that the webpage has moved to another location, and you need to update the proper status code to inform Googlebot about that so that it can be crawled and indexed properly.

Use history API: 

When Googlebot crawls a website and all the contents, images, internal and external links, it moves page-by-page. When it finds any link, the URL is considered in href attribute of HTML links. To build routing between different views of your web page or single-page application, instead of using fragments, use history API. Using fragments in this case can hamper your web page speed and the crawler will not crawl the links.

Carefully use meta robot tags: 

A wrong meta robot tag can restrict the Googlebot from crawling your webpage. You can incorporate a meta robot tag to a page by using JavaScript.

Long-lived caching: 

It is a general practice of Googlebot to cache the data frequently and aggressively so that it can fetch it fast and optimize resources. Recalling the data and resources from the network is a slow process as well as expensive. It requires many to and fro motions between the browser and the server. To load a webpage properly, all the critical resources should be downloaded properly and that is expensive. Therefore, to avoid unnecessary network requests, the primary action you must take is to cache the browser’s data.

Create Structured data: 

Google search engine faces a tough time collecting the content of any webpage. A lot of data is created every day. Structured data always helps to make the webpage SEO friendly. Structured data is a standard format to share information about any webpage content and also classify the core part. Like a general people, Google finds it easy to understand the whole topic if it is formatted step-by-step in a proper sequence. Through a structured data form, you actually help Google to understand the content in a meaningful way.

Best practices for web components: 

During rendering any content of a webpage, Googlebot is used to flatten the light and shadow DOM content. The shadow DOM brings in a lot of new fundamentals in webpage development. Actually, the Googlebot can only see the rendered HTML. 

You need to make sure that after the rendering process, the bot can see your actual content. To make sure about this, using the mobile-friendly test or the URL inspection tool of Google helps a lot. You can see the rendered HTML content. It is not possible for the Googlebot to index your webpage if the HTML content is not evident.  

Fix lazy images and slow content: 

After creating an amazing webpage and content, the main objective is to make it visible to the user and fast to load. But before reaching the user, you need to make it compatible with the search engines. Neither the search engines nor the users are going to like your webpage if it has lazy images and content. 

It consumes bandwidth and reduces the performance of your website. It is generally the best practice to defer the non-critical or non-visible images to improve the result of your website. But to manage this, you need to be careful as it can hide the main content from the Google crawler.

 

Takeaway

In the end, there is no doubt that JavaScript is not that much SEO-friendly as it causes several issues to the search engines to crawl and index your website. But you cannot avoid the JavaScript framework to build your web pages and application. This is feature-packed and provides so many in-built facilities that developers cannot move without this. 

Therefore, knowing the best way to combine both SEO and JavaScript can not only help you to build an SEO-friendly webpage but also allows you to avail all the JS features. Hopefully, this article has provided the needed insights into the issues and solutions.

 

 

 

Jigar Agrawal

Jigar Agrawal is Digital Marketing Manager at eSparkBiz. He is Passionate about anything related to Digital Marketing. Wants to unlock the world of technology and Social Media where every day there is a chance of new possibility as well as innovation. 

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jigar-agrawal-seo-expert

Twitter: https://twitter.com/agrawaljigar1

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