AJAX is at the heart of the WEB 2`0 suite of applications, using it, web
developers can create faster loading pages where only a small portion of the
content is changed upon clicking a link. Gmail is one example of a site which
That`s great news for people who are tired of waiting an
interminable length of time for pages to load. But AJAX also presents an SEO
dilemma since such sites are typically not able to be recognized by search
Some code tweaking can help with this but some may prefer alternatives such as Flash, Java or Ruby on Rails.
Each has its good and bad points and it`s up to the developer to decide. There has been news that Google
might be working on a process which would allow the indexing of AJAX enabled sites.
So what exactly is AJAX?
It`s not that easy to explain but let`s give it a go. AJAX is a
part of what is considered to be Web 2.0 and is essentially a way for a browser
is that, when a link is clicked on a page, only a certain amount of content is
The entire page does not have to be loaded again, leading to a more
interactive and enjoyable experience. Gmail is one such site which uses AJAX.
That`s why, when you click on a message in your inbox, only that part of the
page changes. You don`t have to wait for the whole thing to reload.
That sounds great, doesn`t it? No more long wait. No more visitors heading away
from your site because they`re impatient. No more need to place keywords on a
whole bunch of pages. You can just have one main page with SEO optimized
content, and dynamic content which doesn`t matter much. All of that is true,
but that`s where the dilemma comes in.
While AJAX can help with SEO in terms of faster loading pages and keyword stability, there`s also a down side.
AJAX has been known to produce some not so good results. It`s a definite
problem when it comes to book marking because the content changes so there`s no
guarantee that what you`ve saved is what you want. However, the huge problem
with AJAX is the fact that such pages are typically not recognized by search
the browser to the server? Search engines are incapable of following such
which use AJAX remain practically invisible to the search engines. That can
There is one way to work around this, although it may not be applicable to all
browsers. It also relies on the use of CSS stylesheets so if you`re not using
those it won`t work. The key here is to maintain the CSS links while enabling
AJAX, but making sure that the two don`t work at the same time. To do this
you`d have to set up your pages so that they look like
http://www.sitename.com/index.php?page=page_name. The index.php script should
then be altered so that URLs with the GET variable of ajax_caller=true set only
return unique content. The AJAX caller function then needs to be configured to
accept the page parameters and the appropriate URL called. Finally each link
should have the ‘href` attribute set to
http://www.sitename.com/index.php?page=page_name and the ‘onclick` attribute
set to ajaxCaller(page_name);return false.
This process might sound complicated but it`s one way for a search engine to be
able to follow your links while users are still able to see the more advanced
interface. If you couldn`t be bothered with going through this process and
would rather avoid AJAX altogether, there are some alternatives.
Ruby On Rails:
Ruby on Rails one of the newer applications to be developed over the past few
years and is used on quite a lot of database-driven websites. It emphasises the
need to eliminate inefficient duplication while sticking to known conventions,
instead of playing around with configurations. Once it`s installed it`s easy to
use AJAX as the program has intrinsic support.
There`s no denying that Flash websites can reach great heights if creativity
and embedded Flash coding is one way to change snippets of content on a web
page while leaving majority intact. There is one problem with Flash when it
comes to SEO though. Search engines don`t like too much of it. If you`re going
to use Flash on your website, do so in moderation.
This was once the standard for creating dynamic content on web pages, as is
still in use today. It runs on practically any platform and is good from a
security standpoint in that can only access the memory allotted to its
‘sandbox`. However, java applets can sometimes have a very slow loading time
and this can turn off users who have become used to instant gratification.
The bottom line of it all is that the final choice lies in the hands of the
developer. Practically all of the methods of creating dynamic page content have
their advantages and their drawbacks. AJAX creates fast loading interact active
pages but, unless you do some tweaking of the code, your site may not be
indexed. There might be some hope though. SEO blogs are buzzing with the news
that Google might start indexing AJAX pages soon, if they