When the topic of websites comes up, there’s always the question, “What about AJAX?” Novice website owners jump right onto the idea of adding some splash to their website with AJAX applications. How does AJAX work? Well, when you press the submit button on a webpage or make a selection and click ‘go’ or ‘send’, normally the page will have to refresh and reload based on the selections we made or the information that we requested. When AJAX is implemented to handle such actions,the website can quickly display the required results without having to refresh the page. This means that visitors don’t have to wait as long to get what they want – they can receive the required information or move to the next step more quickly -which improves the user experience immensely.
However, not many website owners realize that the AJAX applications they incorporate can actually damage the site’s SEO value. The reason for this is that AJAX uses Java Script – and search engines cannot read Java script. Search engines ignore content delivered through AJAX. If you think that your navigation menu would look better if created with AJAX, stop for a moment and consider the fact that it will not be seen or crawled by search engine spiders. Your website’s navigation menu is a huge part of your site and very important forSEO. If complete crawling of such an important element is not possible, you are going to be working against yourself in terms of SEO for your website.
If you want to make your website search engine friendly, you should ensure that every page of your website shows up in HTML. You should be able to check whether your website is serving HTML pages by switching off the Java Script in your web browser. If you don’t get any error messages even when the Java Script is switched off, then you are seeing what the search engines see and all is well – your full content is being crawled.
AJAX uses an intermediary engine and does not refresh the page – which means the content delivered through AJAX does not correspond to the URL displayed, since it is snagged from a secondary engine to save time. This means that such a page cannot be reached by search engines, and that no browser history will be found for web pages delivered through AJAX.
Does all of this mean that you cannot use AJAX for your website? Of course not. It’s like Flash – you simply have to know how to deal with the complexities, and make sure you have crawlable content. If you have the right resources to handle it for you, you’ll be fine – for example, deal with the URL issue by adding a # symbol when you get the page updated, using Java Script. There are a myriad of ways to make your AJAX delivered pages search engine friendly – you just need an experienced pro to help you select and implement them!