Google Will Render AJAX & Stop Using Old AJAX Crawling Scheme

Dec 5, 2017 • 7:20 am | comments (0) by | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

Google Ajax Crawling

A couple months ago, Google hinted they would stop crawling and indexing content from the old AJAX crawling scheme, which was technically deprecated two years ago.

Well, that day is coming in the second quarter of 2018 says Google's John Mueller on the Google blog. John wrote:

As a reminder, the AJAX crawling scheme accepts pages with either a "#!" in the URL or a "fragment meta tag" on them, and then crawls them with an "?_escaped_fragment_=" in the URL. That escaped version needs to be a fully-rendered and/or equivalent version of the page, created by the website itself.

With this change, Googlebot will render the #! URL directly, making it unnecessary for the website owner to provide a rendered version of the page. We'll continue to support these URLs in our search results.

We expect that most AJAX-crawling websites won't see significant changes with this update. Webmasters can double-check their pages as detailed below, and we'll be sending notifications to any sites with potential issues.

In short, if you are on Google Search Console and you have an issue, Google will notify you beforehand. So you should be okay if you get no notification. But Google is getting better at indexing JavaScript and AJAX, and they no longer need workarounds.

Here are the tips from Google on this change:

  • Verify ownership of the website in Google Search Console to gain access to the tools there, and to allow Google to notify you of any issues that might be found.
  • Test with Search Console's Fetch & Render. Compare the results of the #! URL and the escaped URL to see any differences. Do this for any significantly different part of the website. Check our developer documentation for more information on supported APIs, and see our debugging guide when needed.
  • Use Chrome's Inspect Element to confirm that links use "a" HTML elements and include a rel=nofollow where appropriate (for example, in user-generated content)
  • Use Chrome's Inspect Element to check the page's title and description meta tag, any robots meta tag, and other meta data. Also check that any structured data is available on the rendered page.
  • Content in Flash, Silverlight, or other plugin-based technologies needs to be converted to either JavaScript or "normal" HTML, if their content should be indexed in search.

Forum discussion at Local Search Forums.

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