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Google Updates Webmaster Guidelines – Here’s What To Do

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    Google Updates Webmaster Guidelines
    Google has announced that they have updated their Technical Webmaster Guidelines. This is an important announcement for SEO as it directly affects your ranking on Google!

    What’s It About

    The update has to do with their recent change in page crawling. Previously, Google was only looking at the raw textual content in the HTTP response body and passed over any JavaScript as it was unable to interpret it. A lot of content that was rendered this way wasn’t being crawled and displayed to searchers.

    Google is all about the searchers, so they have updated their indexing system to render websites with JavaScript and CSS enabled.

    This is great news for websites that have dynamic and rich content. Google will now see your website more like modern web browsers, include the external resources, execute JavaScript and apply CSS.

    The new guideline from Google specifies that you should allow Googlebot access to crawl your JavaScript, CSS and any image files that you have for optimal rendering and indexing of your site.

    They give a very important warning for those who refuse to do this:

    Disallowing crawling of Javascript or CSS files in your site’s robots.txt directly harms how well our algorithms render and index your content and can result in suboptimal rankings.

    What You Should Do

    No one wants to hurt their rankings, so here are some helpful tips from Google on how to best optimize your site moving forward:

    • Make sure your server can handle the additional load of delivering requests for resources to crawlers.
    • Try to include progressive enhancement on your site. This helps users enjoy your site if their browsers don’t have compatible JavaScript implementation. This also helps search engines that can’t execute your complex JavaScript yet.
    • Optimize your JavaScript and CSS files by serving them as a compressed file. Gzip is recommended.
    • Get rid of unnecessary downloads.
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    Now that Google will be able to see your JavaScript and CSS, it will start delivering pages that have better content and better user experiences for their searchers. Even more important, it will be able to directly tell which sites are optimized for mobile. This is something that you should be taking advantage of, as mobile searches are steadily increasing every year.

    You want to avoid losing rankings, so start allowing Googlebot access to your JavaScript and CSS files ASAP!

    If you need help with your optimizing your site for search, feel free to contact us for a free 25 minute consultation today!