Google’s New JavaScript and SEO Video Series Kicks Off

author image Written by: Lia           Categories - In The News, SEO Tips>Technical Tips, Web Design

New Series Provides Greater Insight into How Google Approaches Programming Language

On February 28, 2019, Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst Martin Splitt announced he would be hosting a regular video series on the Google Webmaster YouTube channel. This series is dedicated to exploring how JavaScript, one of the most popular and common coding languages on the web, and how it impacts and interacts with search engine optimization strategies and techniques. Also on the 28th, the first video went live, covering exactly how Google approaches content in JavaScript when it crawls and indexes sites. According to Splitt, the standard procedure for Google’s crawler when it crawls a webpage is to pass the content it sees onto the indexing stage. When links are detected, the index passes them back to the crawler, which then continues its cycle. “But what if some of the content is generated by JavaScript? JavaScript requires an extra stage in the cycle, the rendering stage,” said Splitt. When Googlebot crawls a page and detects JavaScript, it executes that JavaScript while rendering the page. But there’s a catch— “Because this rendering is expensive, it can’t always be done immediately.” Splitt explained that separating the indexing and rendering stages allows Google to index non-JavaScript content as fast as possible. They can then return to index the content that does require JavaScript later. Because of the sheer volume of webpages out there, Google defers the execution of JavaScript to get most of the content as quickly as possible. “But what does that mean for your content? It means that Googlebot can execute JavaScript on your site, but it can take longer for that content to appear or update in search,” explained Splitt. Google also can’t make guarantees or promises related to the time it takes to render that JavaScript content, either, as it depends on “many different factors.” Building off this first video, the second in the series covers “JavaScript sites,” sites that use JavaScript not to enhance and augment existing on-page content, but to “modify or add critical content on the page.” “This is relevant for SEO purposes, as you want to make sure Googlebot sees all the content on the page, including the parts that are being dynamically added using JavaScript.” Splitt recommended inspecting page source code to make sure that indexable content is visible in the markup. Content that isn’t visible and is loaded through JavaScript will have to wait for rendering and indexing. Based on these first videos, it’s clear that there’s plenty to consider when it comes to how something as fundamental as code can impact and affect lasting digital marketing strategies. Splitt will be continuing this series, so it’s worth checking out if you’re a developer or SEO specialist looking for more insight into how these things interact!


Read More: Why You Shouldn’t Use Dynamic Rendering Anymore


New Reports Added to Google Search Console


Tools Provide Greater Insight into Parsing Structured Data, Addressing Issues

Google recently announced the addition of three new reports to Search Console, each one related to structured data. These reports comprise two enhancements to the “Sitelinks searchbox” and “Logo” structured data reports and a brand-new “Unparsable Structured Data” report. These first two enhancements give users a way to display and view overall trend, error, warning, and valid items data on a site. Here’s how they look in action:

Google Search Console's new report enhancements in action.
Image courtesy Google Webmaster Blog.
Clicking the coloured boxes in these reports lets users review each issue separately. To see what pages are affected by these issues, simply click on the rows below the boxes. The “Unparsable Structured Data” report, meanwhile, “aggregates parsing issues such as unstructured data syntax errors that prevented Google from identifying the feature type.” Basically, Google couldn’t parse the data, so they put the errors in this report. Discovering parsing errors in your site could help you identify opportunities to get more rich results in search. The Unparsable Structured Data report can help you spot and resolve issues—once you do, though, make sure you run the URL through Google’s structured data testing tool to validate it.

What is Structured Data?

Structured data, according to Google, is a “common way of providing information about a page and its content.” Basically, structured data lets you pair a name with a value to help Google’s search engine categorize and index your content. Google recommends using schema.org vocabulary for this. They also support 3 different in-page markup formats: JSON-LD, Microdata, and RDFa. In short, structured data lets you create content that Google’s systems will more accurately understand, in turn providing more relevant results for users. Structured data is also one of the best ways to get your pages featured in things like rich snippets or results with enhanced appearances.  

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