Crawlable AJAX Websites = International SEO Opportunities

Crawlable AJAX Websites = International SEO Opportunities
Dimitris Glezos
October 21, 2015
4 min read

Last week, Google made an official statement saying they are no longer recommending the AJAX crawling proposal made back in 2009. Google’s depreciation of their AJAX crawling scheme doesn’t only mean enhanced experiences for users, but transparency for Transifex users who are interested in sharing digital content with a global audience.

AJAX Basics

In the early 1990s, most websites were based completely on HTML pages. When a user took any action, such as clicking from one page to the next, all the content had to be re-sent and the entire page had to be reloaded from the server. This was the case even when a small portion of the page’s information had changed. As you might imagine, the process of constantly loading pages placed additional load on the server, used excessive bandwidth, and caused slow load times.

To help solve the issues associated with loading HTML-based pages, a group of web technologies, more commonly referred to as AJAX, can be used to implement a web application (using XmlHttpRequest objects) by communicating with a server in the background (through JavaScript). This means full page reloads can be avoided and the state of the current page, including behavior and display, aren’t affected.

Understanding AJAX Crawlability

AJAX-based websites are popular among users because they allow for quicker user interaction with the website, provide easier navigation, and create richer web pages that can handle several multipurpose applications and features. Traditionally, search engines aren’t able to access content on AJAX websites because most web crawlers don’t execute JavaScript code. This means a web application must provide an alternative way of accessing the content that would normally be retrieved with AJAX.

In the above mentioned 2009 proposal, Google shared how search engines would crawl AJAX files so web developers could make appropriate adjustments and ensure their content was displayed correctly and indexed.

Google Recognizes That Times Have Changed

In today’s web-based world, developers want to make their applications as responsive as possible in order to satisfy the end user. Achieving this goal, however, comes at a huge cost. Crawlers are unable to see any dynamically-created content. Because of this, Google says, “the most modern applications are also the ones that are often the least searchable.”

Understanding that times have changed, Google has released information stating that, “as long as you’re not blocking Googlebot from crawling your JavaScript or CSS files, we are generally able to render and understand your web pages like modern browsers.” In recent years, Google has taken a strong stance to provide the best possible results and experience to users, so it’s not surprising they’re changing some outdated AJAX recommendations. If you’d like to learn more about how AJAX-based websites are currently being crawled, click here.

Transifex Live, JavaScript, and SEO

Google’s announcement is great news for Transifex Live users! Although translated website content generated through Transifex Live was crawlable by search engines using AJAX crawling specifications, Google’s reversed stance makes it even easier for the translated versions of your website to be indexed.

When you include our JavaScript snippet (live.js) in your website’s pages for localization, Transifex Live can take your original content and render it in your target languages, which is now crawlable by search engines. This also provides a solution for international SEO. If the keywords in your source language are the same as the keywords in your target language, content translated by Transifex Live can be indexed, meaning enhanced visibility and higher search engine rankings on a global scale.

Interested in seeing Transifex Live in action? Request a demo! Or check out our website at www.transifex.com for more information.

Dimitris Glezos
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