Noscript Tags

The NoScript tag is an important tool for web developers, providing content on pages enriched with JavaScript, Java, Flash or AJAX for users whose browsers do not support dynamic content hosted in these forms. Notices like “Your browser is unable to read JavaScript” when trying to load a website is an example of the NoScript tag in action.

Websites use text within a NoScript tag to provide an accurate transcript or description of the contents contained inside the non-HTML based program. This not only informs the user of the contents of the video, but also provides the same information to search engines, offering a valuable opportunity to place relevant keywords in a prime search spider location.

However, search engines are now better at crawling content within multimedia content, which increases the risk of them considering NoScript tags as being used as a new black hat SEO technique, with the same keywords (or even the same content) being used in both the multimedia and NoScript elements of a page. This could potentially lead to your website incurring severe penalties and considerable drops in rankings; a Google employee has recommended only making use of a NoScript tag if it does not contain “important content”.

By using NoScript tags to display messages along the lines of “Javascript should be enabled in your browser” on every page of your website which uses that programming language, you may also be giving search engines the wrong impression about the contents of your site. Think of it this way—the word “Javascript” will appear at least once on each page as part of this automatic message. Consequently, it is important to use unique content on each page so as not to risk being penalised for duplicate content.

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