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  1. #1
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    Javascript, menus and SEO

    If you have a sitemap (and cancels out the negative implications flash and javascript have for SEO), are there any other reasons why you shouldn't use flash or javascript for your main menu?

    Except the fact that users might have javascript switched off and don't have flash (because that can be tested to see if you have such users).

    Come to think of it, I assume accessibility would be a problem for people with screen readers.
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    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy DaveWoods's Avatar
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    Sorry to answer your question with a question but..

    Why use JavaScript or Flash for a menu when there are other solutions which can look just as good, offer the same functionality, are accessible and search engine friendly?

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    In memoriam gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Schulz's Avatar
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    Dave beat me to it. Why use Flash and JavaScript for this, especially since that is not what the two tools were made to be used for in the first place?

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    Correct me if I'm wrong but I didn't know their were implications using javascript with SEO

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    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy DaveWoods's Avatar
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    Depends how you use it but search engines won't usually read JavaScript, Flash or anything that requires an action like a search form or jump to menu.

    There are exceptions where you use JavaScript to enhance functionality but a search engine reads a webpage without JavaScript, CSS, Flash, Images or any plugins available so if you rely on any of these methods then these aspects will be completely ignored by search engines.

    View your page as raw HTML output and this is the same view the search engines get

  6. #6
    O Rly?? JakeJeck's Avatar
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    You lose out on link juice that those links will be passing to other pages on your site.


    Those types of links (javascript or flash) are a good alternative to putting nofollow on links you don't want to pass any juice.

  7. #7
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy DaveWoods's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JakeJeck View Post
    Those types of links (javascript or flash) are a good alternative to putting nofollow on links you don't want to pass any juice.
    I know some SEO's say this and whilst it has the same effect to search engine's I wouldn't recommend using this technique.

    Yes, it means that search engines cannot follow these links but it also means that people without flash/javascript (including those using some handheld devices) cannot follow these links either... therefore if you don't want search engines to follow a link then use nofollow

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    Quote Originally Posted by csswiz View Post
    there are other solutions which can look just as good, offer the same functionality, are accessible and search engine friendly?
    Even for animated effects? (And I don't mean roll-overs, I mean proper animation) Can you post some?
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    Actually our the main menu would be created with CSS, but the submenu we wanted to use AJAX, that is why I am asking. Because I don't completely agree with the fact that "if you use AJAX on a menu, it is bad for SEO", it is wrong by default. It depends on how you use it. Anyone agrees or disagree?
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    In memoriam gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Schulz's Avatar
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    As long as the menu is available to users when scripting is turned off, then it won't hurt you one iota.

  11. #11
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    So if you use AJAX to hide sub sections of the menu and displays it when clicked on, the menu will be completely open with AJAX switched off and not interfere with SEO?
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    decide which is more important, the user experience or SEs - then bias your design toward the more important one

  13. #13
    In memoriam gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Schulz's Avatar
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    If the dropdown menu is hard-coded into the HTML by default, yes.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by relativity View Post
    decide which is more important, the user experience or SEs - then bias your design toward the more important one
    If only it was that simple, but unfortunately it isn't. Google is all for the user, but unfortunately some of the things used to improve user experience is not good for SEO. I am currently in debate with management who are all for SEO and I am all for user experience. Not that I don't think you should follow basic practices, but when you arrive at a choice of user vs SEO, the user should get the benefit.

    Actually, come to think of it. It just takes some extra effort to change the code and some programmers are just to lazy to go to the effort.
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    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy DaveWoods's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JJMcClure View Post
    Even for animated effects? (And I don't mean roll-overs, I mean proper animation) Can you post some?
    No, but then I personally wouldn't use animated effects for critical content.

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    Quote Originally Posted by csswiz View Post
    No, but then I personally wouldn't use animated effects for critical content.
    Well I think we design for users not ourselves. There is proof that design can have a negative or positive affect on people, irrespective of standards code compliance, text only content, SEO friendly code, etc.

    Programmers, web designers, etc. mindsets and the things they like are definitely not a representative of the average web user, or your spesific users (they might be if they are your target market, but to generlise one group of web users to all site designs is irresponsible).
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  17. #17
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy DaveWoods's Avatar
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    That was exactly my point.

    I always design for users. I never use JavaScript or Flash for critical functionality or content because not all users and devices have access to these. You mention standards compliant code, text only content, seo friendly code but isn't the overall goal accessibility for all users?

    Whether that be someone who works in an office, who's company block JavaScript and don't provide admin rights to install the flash plugin or whether that be bots spidering the content, the overall aim is to ensure that a website is accessible for all users i.e. everyone/thing.

    I don't have a problem with using Flash/JavaScript for enhancing the behavior/appearance of a site and would also ensure that a site has the best visual appeal possible but this shouldn't be to the sacrifice of accessibility to human's or the search engines.

  18. #18
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    No, it is for YOUR users. Not all products targets all users. Actually a lot of business target niche groups, so why you want to please everybody if everybody is not your users? It is this mentaility of wanting to please everyone, that we get stifled. As a human being we should know that pleasing everyone is an impossible task.
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  19. #19
    Error 404: Life not found silver trophybronze trophy
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    Quote Originally Posted by csswiz View Post
    No, but then I personally wouldn't use animated effects for critical content.
    Neither would I, I was interested to see SE friendly animations if they existed though.
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  20. #20
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    I think you can use mouse-overs which changes the link text to another color, thats it.
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  21. #21
    In memoriam gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Schulz's Avatar
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    You're better off using CSS for that, AJKock.

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    I was kidding Dan. Sorry JJ, looks like there is none.
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  23. #23
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy DaveWoods's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AJKock View Post
    so why you want to please everybody if everybody is not your users?
    Because we can and it's against the law to discriminate so my question would be "why not please everybody?"

    Quote Originally Posted by AJKock View Post
    As a human being we should know that pleasing everyone is an impossible task.
    Why is it impossible? Why not create a site with semantic markup and then provide decorative elements around this to enhance the presentation or a bit of JavaScript to enhance the usability.

    The days of all flash and javascript sites are behind us as there's no need to use these methods. Yes you could use Flash for navigation which may be perfectly acceptable for a niche but why not create a navigation which everyone can use and looks professional whilst also being accessible and available to search engines?

  24. #24
    He's No Good To Me Dead silver trophybronze trophy stymiee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JJMcClure View Post
    Neither would I, I was interested to see SE friendly animations if they existed though.
    It's definitely possible. It would require javascript to do so the search engines wouldn't see it the animations (and why would they want to anyway?) and if added as a progressive enhancement won't affect the accessibility of the navigation (and thus be SE friendly).

  25. #25
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    Emulate this user experience with semantic markup and some decorative elements.

    So if my target market is Goths, I should make my website white so that everyone can find it pleasant, remove all religious memorables so not to offend certain religious groups, etc. etc.?

    It is impossible because for every person out there, we have a particular combination of tastes. More so, taste change frequently; technology changes, some people update quicker, others slower, etc. etc. You are trying to kill a bush fire with your hands.

    For this etopian world of yours, you can start with standardising the browser and then we can talk again.

    Ah so the politicians of this decade made it illegal to "discriminate". Do we make cameras for blind people? I guess in a political correct world we do, but pretending a disability doesn't exist doesn't make it go away. Instead of forcing everyone (impossible task) to follow one set of rules, why not instead improve your readers for blind people. If I am allergic to curry, then sorry but I can't eat it. Period! Why even show me curry? Political correctness leads to mediocracy.

    Now before everybody think I am a coldheart *******, I am not. I am just playing devil's advocate so that I can hear your point of view on this matter: "Realistically, can we make everybody happy and should we try to?"
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