Google Publishes Recommendations for JavaScript Sites

Earlier this month, Google’s John Mueller posted an update on how the search engine giant handles JavaScript websites and progressive web apps in its Search index, along with recommendations for webmasters who use JavaScript.

A Little Bit About JavaScript…

JavaScript was created by Brendan Eich while working for Netscape Communications Corp in 1995. The “technologist” and co-founder of Mozilla had created the programming language in just ten days time. At the time, however, the language was called Mocha, with Eich and his team later renaming it to LiveScript. It wasn’t until several years later when the language was renamed to JavaScript.

In addition to HTML and CSS, JavaScript is one of the most widely used programming languages powering the Internet. In fact, a W3Techs report estimates that 93.1% of all websites use the language in some way, shape or form.

But JavaScript doesn’t always provide the best possible experience for website visitors. If elements are poorly coded — or if too many JavaScript elements are used on a single webpage — it can lead to increased load times, device compatibility problems, broken elements, and poor search engine visibility.

Here are some of the key takeaways from Google’s recommendations for JavaScript sites:

  • Use the rel=canonical tag when serving the same content from multiple URLs.
  • Avoid using the AJAX crawling scheme on new websites.
  • Avoid using “#” in URLs. According to Mueller, Google typically does not index URLs containing “#.”
  • Use Google Search Console’s Fetch and Render tool to view your website from the perspective of Googlebot.
  • Ensure that JavaScript files are not blocked in your website’s robots.txt file.
  • Use a limited number of JavaScript files and other embedded resources.
  • JavaScript can be used to provide Google with page titles, Meta descriptions, tags, and other data.

As noted by Mueller, JavaScript frameworks can be daunting for newcomers to the language. Once you learn the ropes, however, you can use the language to create some pretty impressive websites.

If you haven’t done so already, head over to Mueller’s Google+ profile to read his complete post on JavaScript recommendations. In addition to JavaScript site recommendations, he also talks about Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), which is a new initiative that’s used to create blazing-fast mobile webpages. AMP allows webmasters to publish content using an open-source framework that’s rightfully known as “AMP HTML.” In essence, this framework simplifies HTML, CSS and JavaScript while stripping away unnecessary code to promote faster load times and greater mobile compatibility. Reports indicate that sites built using the AMP HTML framework experience a 15-85% performance increase on average.

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