Does Google Automatically Flag Sites Using The noscript Tag?

Jun 19, 2014 • 8:33 am | comments (7) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

noscript tag

Last week at SMX Advanced, Maile Ohye of Google warned SMX attendees of using the noscript tag on their web site. She said something like it is an "automatic" issue of some sorts.

I decided to dig deeper and ask John Mueller more about what is meant by "automated." So I asked John in a Google Webmaster Hangout on Google+ and you can listen to it at 49 minutes and 10 seconds in.

John implied that there is no "penalty" for using the tag but spammers have historically tried to stuff and spam in the noscript tag. So Google simply ignores or does not trust content within the noscript tag. So if you have important content and links, make sure that you just don't have it in your noscript tag.

John didn't go as far to say you shouldn't use the noscript tag at all, he said you can but don't put important content in there.

Here is the video:

Back in 2010, John gave similar advice on the noscript tag.

Forum discussion at Google+.

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James McNulty

06/19/2014 01:14 pm

But their 'doubleclick' script contains noscript...


06/19/2014 03:23 pm

Its not that noscript == bad... its that noscript is use a lot to cloak keyword stuffing. Until about a couple years ago HTML comments had the same effect. But you can do what overstock, target, etc... have done in the past and name you javascript vars with keywords and stuff every title,alt,name,id attribute with keywords. You can inline javascript and just set variables to keywords... Search google for "games" look at #1 932 keyword matches in source... thats not an accident. If a keyword is in your domain name then use absolute URLs everywhere to get more keyword matches. These tactics are called "Spliffs" because of the sound it makes when you snowball google. They technically don't violate the guidelines but clearly go against the spirit of the guidelines. But its not like google is going to punish viacom and others for doing it.


06/19/2014 04:29 pm

almost forgot the best one... name you CSS classes with target keywords.


06/19/2014 07:39 pm

Their doubleclick script also drops sneaky LSO cookies onto users computers. When it comes to Google it's do as I say and not as I do.

Michael Martinez

06/20/2014 02:59 am

I think the need for noscript is all but non-existent now. It was intended for ancient browsers, of which very few are left in use. And as the search engines become better at interpreting and indexing the rendered results of noscript there seems to be no SEO value left in it either. I am sure I have legacy pages on some sites still using it but I'm not worried about those pages.

Jim Robinson

06/20/2014 03:52 pm

I haven't used noscript in a long time, but lately I've been tempted to use it to compensate for image source being omitted (or actually using a common image) with the lazyload technique. A lot of developers want to use lazyload these days and noscript seems like a viable way to make image URLs available, but I'm not comfortable recommending it when Google's putting out guidance like this.

Elie Orgel

06/20/2014 07:20 pm

What about using the tag in lazy loading images. As far as I know, using the noscript tag with lazy load is the only way to make the page deprecates gracefully for non JavaScript browsers. See example here:

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