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Google and Javascript
HQ Webmaster

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 6379 posted 3:57 pm on Oct 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

I just lost my #1 Google ranking because I converted a bunch of HTML code to javascript. The site looked the same to the end user and it loaded about twice as fast (because it was twice as small). I was smart and I optimized my site to enhance the end user experience and Google cut me out. I do not even exist in Google anymore. The only results are cached older versions of the site (not the same cached versions that had #1 ranking).

When is Google going to respect Javascript? By optimizing my site, cutting down on my server bandwidth bills, and allowing 56k users to download my site twice as quick, I lost a HUGE portion of my income.

 

HQ Webmaster

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 6379 posted 1:19 am on Oct 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

dauction, THANK YOU. This is exactly what I want. They could check their caches and see that my site still looks the same when it had the #1 ranking as it does now. How do I contact Google to do this? Is it even possible?

HQ Webmaster

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 6379 posted 1:26 am on Oct 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

Sorry, I am new, what are "SERPs"?

And to answer another misunderstanding, no I did not convert to JS to improve my page in relation to SEs. I already had my #1 spot. I converted my pages to JS to improve the experience with my surfers AND to have my webpage fully and quickly adaptable to new content by mearly appending variables in arrays in the JS code.

Chris_D

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 6379 posted 1:40 am on Oct 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

Text based browsers don't execute scripts, HQ.

Blind people using text based browsers like Lynx and speech synthesisers don't execute scripts either - so your new javascript site - if you were in England or Australia - would probably be in breach of the law - ie the Disability discrimination act (DDA) in both of those countries.

Think of yourself as an architect. You may think a 'gone with the wind' style staircase is pretty cool as the entrance to a new shopping centre - but the law (the planning authorities) say you must not discriminate against eg disabled people. Your website design is no different. And your 'I'm hip and its 2002 get a new browser' ain't an option for many people.

Read the applicable laws in your country - and the W3C accessibility information. Comply with best practice and the law.

Why do you think most savvy webmasters embed email addresses on webpages in Javascript? Cause they aren't able to be spidered by most robot agents.

Macguru

WebmasterWorld Senior Member macguru us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 6379 posted 1:43 am on Oct 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

>>My point is that it sucks that Google does not parse JS and I want to draw attention to it.

HQ_Webmaster, it is pointless to try drawing attention to it since 99 % of members here already know that. JavaScript has never been the way to go with search engines Google, or others.

I dont think any amount of prayers, debate or else here is going to change anything in the next months.

hiker_jjw

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 6379 posted 1:52 am on Oct 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

HQ, you're not going to be able to persuade Google or many of the members here.

Instead, think about this phrase...

"What would Google do?"

Deodato

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 6379 posted 2:23 am on Oct 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

Hehe - the guy's running a porn site and you're worried about it being accessible to the blind?

Sasquatch

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 6379 posted 2:51 am on Oct 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

You could always try filling out this form
[google.com...]

and letting them know that you demand that they manually give back your ranking.

It is the one form that GoogleGuy has repeatedly said that they read.</sarcasm>

You are asking google to spend a huge amount of resources to parse AND execute javascript on every page that they crawl. They do not even bother to see if it is possible to render the HTML. And want them to do this to save YOU money.

If you don't want to play by their games, there are a few billion other sites that will.

[edited by: Marcia at 6:03 pm (utc) on Oct. 30, 2002]

MHes

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 6379 posted 9:05 am on Oct 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

Hi

Why not put your previous site version in <noscript>? or am I missing something?

gsx

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 6379 posted 11:43 am on Oct 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

Here are some reasons why Google (or any other engine) cannot parse javascript:

1) If a site uses frames (or does not want to be framed) and search engines index files (not framesets), how can JavaScript refer to the parent variables with a spider? They cant.

2) If a script uses browser detection techniques, which one should Google be?

3) If a page uses a script to validate a form and then submit the form, what should Google index? (After all the fields may all be blank)

4) If JavaScript uses an message box, should Google view this as an error and ignore it? Or does it serve the user some useful information?

Following on for "why doesn't Google index JavaScript", why doesn't it follow form actions?

Instead of complaining the Google does not (and never has) indexed JavaScript you should have looked at alternatives, because you said it - you have 0% content and 0% content can mean no listing.

If you want to serve smaller, faster files, look at zipping them up and changing your server settings to serve compressed files if the client will accept them.

HQ Webmaster

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 6379 posted 2:26 pm on Oct 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

Hahaha, good one Deodato! I prefer to call it an adult-related website! :)

Funny, this morning I woke up and my #1 position was restored for one of my websites (the bigger one). Weird. It was gone for over a week. Is this common? Perhaps i blew up too soon.

HQ Webmaster

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 6379 posted 2:28 pm on Oct 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

"2) If a script uses browser detection techniques, which one should Google be?"

gxs, very good point. I never thought of this. Script will have to be written to accept 'general' browsers. But that would not work as you could create a different version of your site for the googlebot. I guess Google would have to pretend it is IE, if even allowed.

HQ Webmaster

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 6379 posted 2:30 pm on Oct 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

"Instead of complaining the Google does not (and never has) indexed JavaScript you should have looked at alternatives, because you said it - you have 0% content and 0% content can mean no listing."

I only have 0% content when JS is disabled. I think that is why I lost the listing, but now that I am back at #1, I am not sure. Perhaps my #1 spot has to do with the Google Dance?!

"If you want to serve smaller, faster files, look at zipping them up and changing your server settings to serve compressed files if the client will accept them."

Sorry, but this is not an option as I do not own the content that I give to my visitors.

HQ Webmaster

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 6379 posted 2:33 pm on Oct 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

"Why not put your previous site version in <noscript>? or am I missing something?"

MHes, yes you are missing something. If I did that, then even the JS users have to load all that content (which is never displayed) so there is no save on bandwidth, and the site does not load faster. If I did this, I would remove the JS code completely.

In the world of trading adult traffic, the speed of which your site loads is extremely important. I traded 40k hits yesterday (which is a lot of me, but low compared to some) and a few extra seconds of load time could have cut that down significantly.

Also, the noscript tags would remove my functionality of my scripts to easily add more content as it becomes available to me.

rogerd

WebmasterWorld Administrator rogerd us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 6379 posted 2:41 pm on Oct 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

HQ, it looks like you have to make some choices - are poor search engine rankings a good trade for quicker loads with javascript? Most people would say no, but perhaps the economics are different in your case (i.e., if most of your traffic arrives via links, etc.)

I still vote for server-side scripting that would make your content changes fast and easy but would present straight HTML to both human visitors and robots.

andreasfriedrich

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 6379 posted 3:13 pm on Oct 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

If saving bandwith is such a major concern think about using mod_gzip or any other technique available to you to pack the documents you serve.

Andreas

x_m

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 6379 posted 3:53 pm on Oct 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

HQ, only thing I can say to your problem is what is so often to be read on adult webmaster boards: Want to get listed? Accept the rules. Complaining doesn't help.

You have to decide if your site will be optimized for thousands bookmarkers or fresh visitors from Google.
And don't tell me you can't afford more bandwidth your site is on the cheapest hosting provider I know about ;)
XM

ciml

WebmasterWorld Senior Member ciml us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 6379 posted 4:03 pm on Oct 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

HQ Webmaster
> ...Perhaps i blew up too soon.

HQ, you wouldn't be the first person to see changes and attribute them to something. It can take two updates (from four to eight weeks) to see the effects of a change properly.

That written, you may well see a considerable drop in rankings after removing all indexable content from your site. There's no requirement for a World Wide Web user agent to parse Javascript. The Web Accessibility Initiative [w3.org] provides lot of advice for making content accessible to people (and robots) that do not browse the Web in the way that you do (including me).

HQ Webmaster

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 6379 posted 8:01 pm on Oct 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

x_m, www.rackspace.com is not cheap! You must be talking about my image host, www.oxeo.com.

HQ Webmaster

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 6379 posted 8:04 pm on Oct 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

ciml,

I am still not sure if I am going to keep my #1 ranking or not. Why would I lose it for a whole week? My change from regular HTML to mostly JS was done a while back, so it was not like Google instantly reacted to it. I believe I may still have lost my #1 ranking, but I will have to sit and wait. I normally do not jump the gun. If I lost my #1 ranking for something other than JS, then there is not way for me to find out what that is, as I have done nothing different.

Hmmm... I have gateway pages for first time visitors to my websites but I take them down for trades. So perhaps Google thought I was cheating them. But this type of thing is allowed right? The gateway does nothing more than show a few ads and says, "No Thanks. Please let me see XXXXXXXXX." at the bottom in which you can click on. Is this type of thing allowed? (I think it is, and I have read that it was, but I now want to make sure.)

HQ Webmaster

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 6379 posted 8:06 pm on Oct 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

"If saving bandwith is such a major concern think about using mod_gzip or any other technique available to you to pack the documents you serve."

andreasfriedrich, the content is not mine, so I can not do this. I can only link to the content. The bandwidth I am speaking of saving are the actual links to this content! I might break 50k hits today, so my b/w bills are steap, even for plain text HTML code.

HQ Webmaster

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 6379 posted 8:08 pm on Oct 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

"are poor search engine rankings a good trade for quicker loads with javascript? ... [cut]... I still vote for server-side scripting that would make your content changes fast and easy but would present straight HTML to both human visitors and robots."

rogerd, I think you are right. The money I make from the SE traffic is worth the bandwidth bill. It is just hard to determine the amount of visitors lost via a slower site. But I suppose I am losing all non-JS users anyway, so that kind of cancels each other out.

mortalfrog

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 6379 posted 8:10 pm on Oct 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

mod_gzip is all about reducing the size of plain-text html - sounds like it would be perfect for cutting down on your bandwidth bills for your simple links page. I've seen it chop pages from 20k down to 4k. I'm sure others can back me up on this - it's definitely a necessity for any high-bandwidth site.

ir_spamur

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 6379 posted 8:35 pm on Oct 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

I don't think it will ever be possible for google to parse javascript, for this reason: Say I'm mad at google, so I write an infinite loop javascript (or some other cpu-intensive script) and put it on hundreds of pages. Everyone who got pr0 or is mad at google (or just a bad javascript programmer) might be doing the same thing, and google's cpu usage goes through the roof as googlebot stops in its tracks.

Evolve, adapt, or die.

HQ Webmaster

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 6379 posted 2:57 pm on Oct 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

mortalfrog, how does mod_gzip work?

HQ Webmaster

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 6379 posted 2:59 pm on Oct 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

It *IS* possible for Google to parse javascript. Every problem you guys have come up with has a solution. Do not visit forms. Do not parse browser dependant javascripts. Do not parse infinite loops (IE detects infinite loops, why couldn't Goolge?) Perhaps the power is not there yet, but it will be. It will happen, it is just a matter of time.

gsx

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 6379 posted 4:23 pm on Oct 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

Really? So what's the solution to the parent variable?

And if there is such a solution, why haven't they implemented it yet? (And for that matter, why hasn't any other engine?)

Simple, it is easy to spam using such techniques. Same reason they don't follow frames: I mean; it is just as easy to follow <frame src="..."> as it is to follow <a href="..."> isn't it? But they don't.

It isn't Googles problem, it's yours - it's you that is losing the visitors and Google don't care.

hiker_jjw

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 6379 posted 5:31 pm on Oct 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

Perhaps the power is not there yet, but it will be. It will happen, it is just a matter of time.

HQ, you're sour attitude amazes me. I'm not sure if you are actually looking for a solution or just a forum to gripe in.

Several people here have tried to tell you how it is. Several others have given you solutions to your problem. If that's still not good for you, why don't you go take it up with Google.com.

Listen one more time, HQ.
Evolve, adapt, or die.

GoogleGuy

WebmasterWorld Senior Member googleguy us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 6379 posted 5:42 pm on Oct 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

HQ_Webmaster, I don't think just removing some .js from your page would trigger any problems with Google. You could try putting it back, or check to see if anything else changed on your pages. In general, many webmasters adopt the attitude that everything they do is an experiment, and that Google can change its rankings/index over time. That often serves people well, because if one change causes problems, a webmaster can see what else they can change to improve their site and rankings.

Hope you find the right balance for your sites,
GoogleGuy

Marcia

WebmasterWorld Senior Member marcia us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 6379 posted 6:13 pm on Oct 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

This looks like a good place for a brief reminder. The WebmasterWorld Terms of Service (link at bottom of every page) states:

Since this is interactive, and everyone who participates in Webmaster World.com is "in it together", please treat others the way you wish to be treated. One way to guard against misunderstandings is to read over your response before you post it. Flaming: flaming or personal attacks are not allowed or tolerated. Should anyone use inappropriate language, start a personal attack, or engage in hate speech, they will be barred from all further discussions.

Please let's avoid bickering and personal arguments and try to stay with the issues.

Thanks all, for your cooperation.

HQ Webmaster

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 6379 posted 6:16 pm on Oct 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

hiker_jjw, I have no sour attitude. Google will parse javascript eventually. That is a pridiction of the future which I am sure will come true. If this is taken as an attitude, then that is your mistake. Maybe you missed the post where I got my #1 spot back. So who is complaining? I am here to learn and spread knowledge, not to complain and gripe.

The only thing left for me to learn is why I lost the rankings to begin with. Perahps it is just the Google-dance that takes place, so I lost it, got it back, and will soon lose it again, all due to the removal of all my content (generating it with javascript instead).

Only time will tell. I will post the results here for everyone else.

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