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JavaScript / CSS / JQuery - tabbed, scrolling/marquee, pop-up, fold out, hidden, toggled etc. ::: Auto-Response :::

Autocrat Jun 4, 2010 1:02 PM
Posted in group: Webmaster Central Help Forum

Categories: Crawling, indexing & ranking :

Please - do Not post your questions in this topic!

This is an Auto-Response for the (moderately) common question/issue regarding Clever Content,
things such as JavaScript (inc. JQuery/MooTools/ProtoType etc.), CSS (Styling) and interactive content;
* Dropdown menus
* Fold out menus
* Concertina/Tree/Collapsable menus
* Tabbed content blocks
* Scrolling / Marquees / Carousels
* Font Replacement technices (SIFR/Cufont etc.)
* Toggled/On-Off and display on click
* Display on Hover/Focus
etc. etc. etc.

This is an attempt to compile information for questions/issues such as;
* Is using JavaScript/JQuery (et-al) bad for SEO
* Is using JavaScript/JQuery to make dynamic content against the Guidelines
* Is using JavaScript Menus going to get my site penalised
* Is hiding content until hovered over bad
etc. etc. etc.

=============   It Depends!   =============

No - seriously - it does.

Google isn't likely to slam you for using X Widget or showing images with Y Plugin etc.
It's not that simple.

Instead - it's based on what it can see, and how it see's it.
So instead of assuming things are spammy ... think of it like a set of scales.
Each bit of "cleverness" you have "may" tilt the scales towards "possibly spammy" etc.

(Note: I said "may" and I mean "may" !!!)

If you have loads of JS/CSS cleverness, and your content isn't overly accessible,
it may lead to lower rankings.
This could be due to it being seen as spammy, or that it is basically not accessible,
and Google cannot figure out what your site is about anyway.

But it shouldn't be a primary concern or problem ...
... because like the good people that you are,
you have ensured your site is Accessible - haven't you!

So, lets go over some of the things that are important to start with.

--- Google and JavaScript ---
Google "normally" doesn't do JavaScript.
Yes - over the last few years, it may/can attempt to extract URLs from JS code etc.,
but we shouldn't rely on it.

--- GoogleBot is Disabled ---
Basically - that's how you should be thinking of it.
As per the general idea of Accessibility,
your site/content should be viewable/usable without JavaScript, CSS or Images.
With those three things "off", people (including GoogleBot) should still be able to see your content and use your site.

--- Quick Tests ---
So, here's how you basically test things.
In your browser, disable Images, CSS and Javascript.
Then load up the page.
Though plain and ugly ... it should still have everything there - including links, and alternative text that makes sense for images etc.
If not - you have a bit of work to do!

You then go through and do the variants ...
CSS Off, JavaScript Off, Images On
CSS Off, JavaScript On, Images Off
CSS On, JavaScript Off, Images Off
CSS Off, JavaScript On, Images On
CSS On, JavaScript On, Images Off
CSS On, JavaScript Off, Images On
CSS On, JavaScript On, Images On

You should be able to see/use your content/site/menu in each and every test!