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JavaScript Debugging Tool Coming To Google Webmaster Tools

Google reported on their Webmaster Central Blog today that they will be launching a new tool in the next few days to help users better understand how Google renders their JavaScript-coded website.

This new tool is designed to let webmasters know whether or not Google is running into difficulties with crawling or indexing their website due to the way JavaScript has been implemented.

Google says they have been making improvements in the way JavaScript is viewed by Googlebot. Previously, Google was only looking at raw text elements and weren’t able to interpret what a browser would see when running JavaScript.

This means that Google wasn’t able to return valuable content rendered in JavaScript to searchers.

To correct this problem, Google has been improving the way they execute JavaScript:

We have been gradually improving how we do this for some time. In the past few months, our indexing system has been rendering a substantial number of web pages more like an average user’s browser with JavaScript turned on.

To help out site owners, Google offers the following solutions to potential issues that Googlebot runs into with JavaScript.

  • If resources like JavaScript or CSS in separate files are blocked (say, with robots.txt) so that Googlebot can’t retrieve them, our indexing systems won’t be able to see your site like an average user. We recommend allowing Googlebot to retrieve JavaScript and CSS so that your content can be indexed better. This is especially important for mobile websites, where external resources like CSS and JavaScript help our algorithms understand that the pages are optimized for mobile.

  • If your web server is unable to handle the volume of crawl requests for resources, it may have a negative impact on our capability to render your pages. If you’d like to ensure that your pages can be rendered by Google, make sure your servers are able to handle crawl requests for resources.

  • It’s always a good idea to have your site degrade gracefully. This will help users enjoy your content even if their browser doesn’t have compatible JavaScript implementations. It will also help visitors with JavaScript disabled or off, as well as search engines that can’t execute JavaScript yet.

  • Sometimes the JavaScript may be too complex or arcane for us to execute, in which case we can’t render the page fully and accurately.

  • Some JavaScript removes content from the page rather than adding, which prevents us from indexing the content.

If you’re concerned that your site may be impacted by any of the above issues, look forward to Google’s JavaScript debugging tool to be launched in the “coming days.”

Category News
SEJ STAFF Matt G. Southern Senior News Writer at Search Engine Journal

Matt G. Southern, Senior News Writer, has been with Search Engine Journal since 2013. With a bachelor’s degree in communications, ...

JavaScript Debugging Tool Coming To Google Webmaster Tools

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