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SEOs have traditionally recommended using search engine friendly menu systems such those based on HTML styled with CSS instead of those written in JavaScript. The primary language understood by search engines has been HTML, but now several search engines have learned how to read JavaScript. I recently found an example that reveals how much progress has been made. My observations confirm what software engineer Janis Stipins’ said at SMX East in October 2008, that Google is doing a much better job spidering JavaScript.
Comments8 Comments  

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from amabaie 2058 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Good, easy to follow analysis.  This makes it a bit easier to make a decision on whether to redo menu systems.  Perhaps a text menu at the bottom for Yahoo is a good temporary fix to such problems until Yahoo catches up.

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from dbascom 2057 Days ago #
Votes: 1

I agree that the search engines have made progress in following JS links, but I’m not sure it works in all cases. And it’s certainly not the same as non-JavaScript links. I think it also depends how the JavaScript is coded. Maybe we will end up looking at JavaScript like Flash. Google can supposedly index Flash now, but it’s still not the same as good old fashioned HTML with plain text links.

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from acopicltd 2055 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Doh - I take back what I said. That’ll teach me to read the article properly before commenting!

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from semanjoe 2055 Days ago #
Votes: 0

So crawling and indexing has improved somewhat for JavaScript. What about flow of PageRank and use of keyword’s in anchor text?I can not see SEO best practice for linking changing quite yet.

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from acopicltd 2055 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I agree with semanjoe that using Javascript for menus is definately not best practise.  I don’t see the need for it in 99% of cases.  If you really want to use it then you can still use valid HTML markup and just apply the javascript as needed.

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from compiler 2055 Days ago #
Votes: 0

The website is Cloaking the "new" menu.

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from MariosAlexandrou 2055 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I agree with the conclusion since I’ve seen evidence of JS being crawled. However, I disagree with the way the conclusion was arrived at. As compiler has pointed out, the site is cloaking. Change your user agent to Google and you’ll see the menu that is cached by Google.

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from Jehochman 2055 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Hmm. It seems that this "feature" is built into DNN. I did not consider the possibility they’d do something so convoluted when a NOSCRIPT tag might produce the same results. Perhaps Google and DNN should have a chat. Since the Google-specific content is equivalent to the visible content, this technique probably wouldn’t be considered black hat, but it certainly isn’t best practices. Add to the above article the fact that you need to check your DNN menu system to see if it is cloaking. I wonder if Google is going to ban all the DNN sites that have this "feature". Your thoughts, Matt Cutts?

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