Google Still Has Problems with Javascript

SEO isn’t just about high rankings, boosting page rank, getting keyword anchor text links and it’s far from dead despite the onslaught of Google Ads. Site architecture which involves the crawling and indexing of pages isn’t the first thing that springs into a clients mind, though it’s importance for onsite SEO shouldn’t be overlooked.

Recently after another re-development and site migration I was asked to review a site that was experiencing problems. It won’t be the last site to experience a drop in traffic after a redesign, as poor site migrations seem to be standard practice. The client was able to spot an issue fairly quickly, not least because there was a drop in the conversions.

Google Analytics also showed a big drop in traffic year on year, and looking in Google Webmaster Tools there was a noticeable drop in the number of indexed. Some important pages weren’t being indexed.

drop in number of pages indexed in google

How come?

Google obviously still has problems with Javascript. The developers rather than using a direct link to special offers, used a button that once clicked called a Javascript function to redirect to the special offer page, and Google wasn’t able to crawl and index these pages. No new sitemap had been created and the old sitemap was still registered in Google Webmaster Tools.

With 150 or so pages of special offers not getting indexed this was a big problem.

To make sure all your important pages are getting indexed you could;

a) just copy the URL without the www. and paste into Google search. If it’s not there, it isn’t indexed. If there’s a page/category page that links to the page, do the same with that page, then click on the cache link, and check the text version. If there’s no link to the page, then there’s a problem.

cache button in google

see the text-only version in google

b) Another solution would be to simply run the Screaming Frog crawler and check if the pages show up.

That’s it, we got the developers to simply change the buttons to direct links. We built a new sitemap, registered it in GWT, and requested a fetch and submit in GWT. Within a few days, the pages were back indexed in Google, problem solved!

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Michael Wall

Michael Wall is an experienced SEO based in Belfast N.Ireland currently running his own SEO Agency.

Michael Wall is available for Internet Marketing, Google Adwords PPC and SEO work. Please call Belfast 02890 923383 or use the contact form.

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