JavaScript SEO Resources

Patrick Hathaway
Updated 28 October 2020

JavaScript SEO Resources

This is a collection of the best resources for learning more about JavaScript SEO, which we will keep up to date and improve over time.

Understanding JavaScript SEO: Basics

Core Principles of SEO for JavaScript
by Justin Briggs

Justin provides an excellent primer on the most important considerations when dealing with JavaScript in SEO. In particular, he includes a breakdown comparison of crawling HTML vs crawling and rendering JavaScript.

If this topic is new to you, this is absolutely required reading.

Evidence of the Surprising State of JavaScript Indexing
by Will Critchlow

Will provides some background and commentary regarding JavaScript indexing, then goes on to share some interesting results of tests they have run at Distilled.

JavaScript & SEO: Making Your Bot Experience As Good As Your User Experience
by Alexis Sanders

This is another excellent primer, Alexis explains a lot of the fundamentals and history of JavaScript crawling, and includes some very useful definitions for terms which may be unfamiliar (e.g. DOM, headless browsers, AJAX).

JavaScript and SEO: The Difference Between Crawling and Indexing
by Barry Adams

Barry digs into the fundamentals of what we even mean by 'crawling JavaScript', explaining how Google handles JavaScript for crawling and indexing.

The SEO's Introduction to Rendering
by Jamie Alberico

An excellent primer on specifically how rendering works, and how this impacts the way that search engines consume content. 

SEO Best Practices and Requirements for Modern Sites
by John Mueller (Video presentation)

This is actually a presentation from the developer conference AngularConnect, with John speaking on how to develop websites using JavaScript frameworks (like Angular), with SEO best practice in mind.

JavaScript SEO (Video Series)
by Google Webmasters

This is a series of short videos on JavaScript SEO, including some introductory explanations, some testing methodologies, and some specific advice for React, Angular and Vue technologies.

Understanding JavaScript SEO: Advanced

Rendering on the Web – The SEO Version
by Jan-Willem Bobbink

This is an excellent resource to help you understand the various options when it comes to server side rendering, taken from an SEO perspective.

"Rendering SEO" with Martin Splitt 
by Onely (Webinar)

This webinar is primarily a chat between Martin Splitt (of Google fame) and the Onely tech wizards, inspired by some original research previously published by Bartosz (below)

Rendering SEO Manifesto - Why we need to go beyond JavaScript SEO
by Bartosz Góralewicz

Bartosz explores the effect of rendering on indexing and argues that we should actually be considering 'rendering SEO' as a replacement for 'JavaScript SEO'.

What We Do in the Shadow DOM
by Jamie Alberico

Think again! If you thought you understood what the DOM was, think again! Jamie explores a whole nother level of JavaScript SEO.

Auditing JavaScript

How to Crawl JavaScript Websites
by Patrick Hathaway

Yes, I wrote this one (why would I not include my own stuff in this list?!). In this post I cover how to set up Sitebulb to crawl and audit JavaScript websites, and some methods for detecting the presence of JavaScript in the first place.

Auditing JavaScript for SEO
by Justin Briggs

Using a more manual method, Justin breaks down how to audit a single page that depends on JavaScript, mainly using Chrome DevTools.

View Source: Why it Still Matters and How to Quickly Compare it to a Rendered DOM
by Barry Adams

Barry explains how you can get a handle on what page content is being changed by rendering, with a quick and easy method for comparing raw HTML to the rendered HTML.

How to Diagnose and Solve JavaScript SEO Issues in 6 Steps
by Tomek Rudzki

Tomek shares a methodology for understanding what might be going wrong on JavaScript powered websites, and how you can fix it!

JavaScript Experiments

We Tested How Googlebot Crawls Javascript And Here’s What We Learned
by Adam Audette

This post is a couple of years old, but serves as useful validation for how certain functions are handled by Google, such as JavaScript redirects and dynamically inserted content.

Long Term Hidden Text Experiment
by Shai Aharony

Shai presents a very comprehensive experiment they carried out on hidden text, which helps answer the question "should all text content be visible on the page?"

Everything You Know About JavaScript Indexing is Wrong
by Bartosz Góralewicz

Required reading alert. Bartosz is pretty much the 'go to' guy for JavaScript experiments, so he's heavily featured in this section. In this article he kinda debunks some findings he found in other experiments, and lays out a framework for troubleshooting JavaScript indexing issues.

Going Beyond Google: Are Search Engines Ready for JavaScript Crawling & Indexation?
by Bartosz Góralewicz

Bartosz has built an experiment which tests all the popular JavaScript frameworks to see if content rendered using them can be indexed by all the major search engines (Hint: it's mostly just Google. Mostly).

SEO and JavaScript redirects: Evidence they do pass PageRank
by Adam Gent

A nice little test, which shows that JavaScript redirects can pass PageRank, at least as a proof of concept (it remains to be seen whether this works over a larger timeframe or at any kind of scale).

Building SEO-Friendly JavaScript Websites & Applications

The Basics of JavaScript Framework SEO in AngularJS
by Richard Baxter

Richard explains how to make your Angular site crawlable and SEO-friendly.

Optimizing AngularJS Single-Page Applications for Googlebot Crawlers
by JR Ridley

The article focuses more specifically on Single-page Applications (SPAs) and how to make them crawlable for search engines.

Community Resources

JavaScript Sites in Search Working Group (Google Group)

This group was put together by John Mueller as a central place to discuss JavaScript sites in Google search. Ask or answer questions, and read community responses (including John's an other Googlers). I'd suggest this as the first place to try if you are having problems with a specific JavaScript site in Google. To view and participate with this group, you need to subscribe as a member (free).

/r/BigSEO Subreddit

This subreddit isn't focused just on JavaScript SEO, but is full of technical SEOs willing to help with JavaScript issues or other SEO issues. It is also a great place to learn, ask and answer questions from the community

Patrick Hathaway

Patrick spends most of his time trying to keep the documentation up to speed with Gareth's non-stop development. When he's not doing that, he can usually be found abusing Sitebulb customers in his beloved release notes.

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