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Aug

03

2014

Googlebot Now Runs JavaScript (And Why You Should Care)

google

The internet is full of dynamic websites (some of which we were proud to help create) that make use of JavaScript.

Recently, Google announced that it will now be executing JavaScript (JS), which essentially means that they have expanded its capability to render richer websites. In layman's terms, this means that Google will see your content more like you do as the end user since it is now executing JS and applying CSS.

javascript

But before we get into the dirty details of this change, let's take a step back and look at the bigger picture.

What is Googlebot?

Googlebot crawls the web (which is why it's often referred to as a "spider) in order to discover new content and get it indexed on search engines. It's called a "bot" because it's a self-regulated system that runs automatically much like a robot. Googlebot scans information all over the web with an absurd amount of computers to help index content. It uses an algorithmic process which helps determine which sites to crawl, how often, and how many pages to fetch from each site.

Previously, Googlebot didn't run JavaScript, meaning that it didn't "play well with others," in that sense. It's significant that it now executes JavaSript because content can now be added more easily to websites. For example, if you have dynamic JavaScript-generated content on your site, it previously wasn't seen by Googlebot (depending on how the web page was built). 

This change will allow developers more flexibility when building a single page application (i.e. Googlebot can now see the content of that app).

What does this mean for you, our beloved clients?  

Several things, really:

  • It gives us more flexibility to create apps for different organizations and helps that content get more fully indexed.
  • It makes the jobs of developers a whole lot easier because they have more flexibility.
  • It means more opportunities for your content to get indexed so that may help with search visibility.

Bottom line: You no longer have to worry about how you structure JavaScript-driven content. Because Googlebot is running JS, Google will be able to index it just like other content. And we happen to think that this is great news! 

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