Saturday, October 10, 2009

Making AJAX Page States Crawlable - Google's Proposal

There's been some trouble with the young technical darling called AJAX. When the state of the page is coded into the URL by using a hash mark (#) it works for the human visitor - but search engines do not consider the # mark to indicate a different url, because that character is also used commonly as a page fragment identifier.

Google's proposal is to insert a new token after the hash mark. That would alert crawling technology that the following information creates a new page state, often by going to the server to update only part of the page content.

The new token Google proposes is an exclamation mark added immediately after the hash tag, so a stateful AJAX url might look like this:!state

This approach would allow stateful AJAX urls to be shown in search results. More detail is available in the Google Webmaster Central Blog article

- MAINLY helps ONLY their SE.
- Could possibly change it's original intent AFTER the rest of web decides to use it how the web wishes, instead of how Goog wishes.

Google used up all their "benefit of the doubt" and "this is how we'd like to improve the web" points with their constant change in philosophy of rel=nofollow. At the end of the day, AJAX only really helps Google. NOT the 99.9% of the web who doesn't use or even know what AJAX is.
There was a Tweet I saw yesterday that apparently had this story wrong. It said Google was going to start serving everyone AJAX results pages. That's a whole different critter. This is about search engines INDEXING ajax content on OTHER sites. It's not about Google SERVING their own ajax pages - that's something Google is already testing.

The Tweet thing circulated a rumor that may have originally been about this proposal, but it was not accurately understood at all, and it came out garbled. By SEO BOOK NEWS
Google only engine not listing,
Google supports for future SEO,
Google Understanding health-related searches

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