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Google: No Need to Worry About Using JavaScript

As there are no fundamental differences between JavaScript and static content, Google says JavaScript shouldn’t be a problem for search.

This topic is discussed in the latest episode of the Search Off the Record podcast.

Which features Google’s Martin Splitt, John Mueller, Gary Illyes, and Daniel Waisberg.

In discussing building websites using static sites generators, Mueller realizes he and Splitt use the exact same tool, Hugo.

Hugo generates

Pages using the Markdown language, but this has the limitation that no links or nofollow tags can be used in HTML.

Muller is building a personal website that requires redirects, and he can only do it with JavaScript in Hugo. Then he asks Splitt, Google’s resident JavaScript expert, if there are any reasons to be concerned about using JS.

Splitt says:

Splitt insists that there’s no reason to be concerned, explaining that: “No, you don’t have to be worried about that… A question that I often also get with JavaScript is if we treat JavaScript content differently.

We do have annotations for content– what we think is the centerpiece of an article or what we think is content on the side and stuff. 

But as far as I know,

As far as I can see, we crawl a page and then put the content into the document in our index, and then we render the page, and then we complete the content from the DOM.

There’s nothing that is fundamentally different between JavaScript generated content and static content.

Except for when there’s edge cases, and we can’t see content that is generated by JavaScript.”

Splitt mentions “edge cases” without going into detail about what they are.

Javascript and SEO:

The search engine giant has discussed in the past how JavaScript can cause SEO problems

JavaScript should not be used in a way that forces users to interact with an element on a page in order to view content. 

An example of this would be hiding content behind a button that users must click in order to render the content. 

When Googlebot crawls web pages, it doesn’t interact with anything, so that’s a problem for Search Engine Optimization.

If content is hidden behind a JavaScript element that users must click or tap on, Google will simply not see it.

As a result,

The content cannot be used to understand the page and rank it in search. 

If site owners plan to use JavaScript in this way as a design choice, they must ensure that the hidden content won’t be crucial to understanding what the page is about. 

There is a simple way to find out if JavaScript prevents Google from seeing your content on your pages. 

Get an idea of what Googlebot can see when it crawls your site using the Fetch as Google tool in Search Console.

The Fetch as Google tool should be able to render all critical content. Split says there’s no need to worry.

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