Yesterday Benj wrote a great article about making AJAX SEO friendly. One of the recommendations he made was to “Solution 1: Serve Alternative Content” and he suggested that providing an alternative navigation to “actual pages on their own URLs that would load the same content as what would load in the AJAX links.” This SEO solution will work fine for some folks, but others may need a solution that allows the alternative content to exist on the same page as the AJAX application. That solution is the no script tag.
The content inside the no script tag (which looks like <”noscript”> <”/noscript”> but without the quotes) is invisible to browser users who have Java script enabled. Those users will be able to use the AJAX application as intended. But for users for do not have Java script turned on (like search engine spiders), the content that exists in the no script tag is visible. You should format it the same way you would normal html.
It’s really important to understand that this tool has the capacity to get you in trouble for spamming. Don’t use this tool for that purpose. The only content that should ever be contained in no script tag, is content that users with Java script turned on would be able to see. Don’t ever put anything in the no script tag that doesn’t exist on the page for all users. In other words, don’t cram a bunch of spam links in the noscript tag that are not representative of the links found in your AJAX.
Incidentally, the no script tag works great for old school pull down java script jump menus that search engines can’t normally see. This will really help you if your primary navigation is a jump menu (I don’t recommend that but I see it all the time). Navigation links in general have a big effect on your search listings if your links are keyword focused. So implementing this tag on all your Java navigation links will open those links to the search engines for the first time.
From a search engine optimization standpoint, using a noscript tag makes a lot of sense also because it keeps your content aligned with your link popularity and Page Rank metrics (versus creating an alternative set of Web pages that won’t have the same link connectivity).
Stay tuned because Benj will have another great article soon about SEO friendly Flash.
Have a great weekend.