JavaScript-is-More-Popular-Than-You-Think - JS-is-More-Popular-Header

JavaScript is More Popular Than You Think

07 Nov 2019

Onely has helped numerous big brand websites deal with their Google indexing JavaScript content issues, which got us thinking: just how popular is JavaScript anyway?  

According to our data, as much as 80% of popular US-based e-commerce stores use JavaScript to generate crucial content (product description or links to related items). 

WebsiteWhat type of content is generated by JavaScript?Example URL
BestbuyLinks to related itemshttps://www.bestbuy.com/site/apple-macbook-pro-15-4-display-with-touch-bar-intel-core-i7-16gb-memory-amd-radeon-pro-555x-256gb-ssd-space-gray/5430541.p?skuId=5430541
AppleProduct descriptionhttps://www.apple.com/shop/buy-watch/apple-watch/40mm-gps-space-gray-aluminum-pinksand-sport-band-sm_ml
VerizonWirelessProduct descriptionhttps://www.verizonwireless.com/smartphones/apple-iphone-11-pro-max/
BarnesAndNobleLinks to related itemshttps://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/age-of-propaganda-anthony-pratkanis/1119469522?ean=9780805074031

Here are more examples provided in a handy spreadsheet: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1zK0r1ttzbHipoUtCEQW089PjPEDIQLB-ySmkTPivhqA

Indexing JavaScript in Google is NEVER guaranteed

Our data shows that Google doesn’t index all JavaScript content.

Using our own tailor-made software, we checked a randomized sample of popular e-commerce and news websites. 

On average, in the case of 25% of the pages, their crucial JavaScript content was not indexed in Google.  

If you’re curious as to why this information could be dangerous for your website, jump to the “What is the risk?” section. 

Want some examples? Here you go! 

  • Nike – 22% of the indexed pages have unindexed JavaScript content
  • Sephora – 55% of the indexed pages have unindexed JavaScript content
  • H&M – 65% of the indexed pages have unindexed JavaScript content
  • Trustpilot – 77% of the indexed pages have unindexed JavaScript content
  • Yoox – 92% of the indexed pages have unindexed JavaScript content

Need some good news? Based on the sample we checked, Google indexed:

  • 99% of the JavaScript content of Boohoo.com
  • 100% of the JavaScript content on ATT.com and ALLRecipes.com

How to interpret the data

Let’s use Sephora as our example. 

EVERY product on Sephora’s website uses JavaScript for generating links to similar items.

JavaScript-is-More-Popular-Than-You-Think - 1.-Similar-products

The fact is that 55% of Sephora’s indexed pages have unindexed JavaScript content

This means that Google can discover Sephora’s JavaScript content in almost 50% of the cases.

That’s a lower probability than a coin flip! 

JavaScript-is-More-Popular-Than-You-Think - 2.-Coin-flip

Unfortunately, there are many websites performing even worse! 

What is the risk?

If Google cannot see the crucial part of the content on some pages of a website, it may have a significant impact on its ability to rank well in Google. 

If Google can’t see the amazing content of a website, it may choose another website with content it can index.

Things may get even worse when Google cannot see the links to related products.

It can negatively affect Google’s ability to discover new content and may lead to the possibility of many products not being indexed in Google. 

If a product is not indexed in Google, your clients won’t find it using Google. 

As a consequence of not having their content indexed, as well as not ranking for desired keywords, e-commerce websites are bound to lose a considerable amount of traffic and, as a result, revenue.

The case of Yoox

Yoox is a popular e-commerce with 14 million monthly visits (according to SEMRush). 

The problem with Yoox is that only 8% of their JavaScript content is indexed. This leads to the issue that 75% of their products aren’t indexed in Google. 

Meaning, nobody will find these products in Google. Nobody.  

I can’t even begin to imagine how much money Yoox loses because of that. 

This is happening because Yoox’s website uses JavaScript to generate links to similar items.

JavaScript-is-More-Popular-Than-You-Think - 4.-Link-generated

In the vast majority of cases, Google cannot see these links for Yoox. 

In addition, Google cannot discover their links to the second page of pagination because they don’t use proper <a href> links.

JavaScript-is-More-Popular-Than-You-Think - 5.-empty-href-value

While these issues may seem superficial at first glance, it’s important to remember that  Google doesn’t index 75% of the product pages of Yoox because of this. 

What can you do?

If you use JavaScript and you don’t care if Google can properly index it, it’s like driving over 200km/h (125mph) and suddenly taking your hands off the steering wheel. 

Both can lead to disaster. 

JavaScript-is-More-Popular-Than-You-Think - 6.-I-have-no-idea-what-Im-doing

Here are some steps to help you keep your hands on the wheel: 

  1. Check if Google can index your crucial JS content in 100% of cases. You can use the following command: site:url “fragment”.  
  2. Identify what elements are generated by JavaScript using our tool: WWJD (What Would JavaScript Do?)

What Would JavaScript Do?

If you are curious about what elements of a page are generated by JavaScript, you can easily check it with WWJD.

Simply go to the link above, type the URL of a page, and click Submit:

JavaScript-is-More-Popular-Than-You-Think - 7.-WWJD-Onely-tool

Keep in mind the tool is in the beta stage and you may have to resubmit a page if it doesn’t work. 

I recommend reviewing the Screenshots section, which offers a visual comparison of what a website looks with and without JavaScript enabled

JavaScript-is-More-Popular-Than-You-Think - 8.-Screenshot-WWJDC-Onely-yool

By comparing these snapshots, you can see what content is dependent on JavaScript so you can start avoiding the issues cited by the e-commerce websites above. As you can see in this example, there’s a section on Yoox’s website with links to related products (More By This Designer) generated by JavaScript.

 As my research shows, Google cannot see this section in 92% of the cases. That’s a huge issue that definitely needs to be addressed by the SEOs at Yoox.

Summary

As I have shown you, as much as 80% of popular e-commerce stores use JavaScript to generate crucial content.  

It’s clear that it’s JavaScript’s world and we’re living in it. 

If you do notice that your website is losing traffic from Google, you should check if it’s related to Google not indexing crucial elements generated by JavaScript. 

Want to know more?


How Much Content is NOT Indexed in Google in 2019?” is an expansive look at this topic from Onely’s CEO Bartosz Goralewicz. There’s a reason why big brands turn to Onely first when it comes to JavaScript SEO.

 

How-Much-Content-is-Not-Indexed-in-Google-in-2019 - How-Much-Content-is-Not-Indexed-in-Google-in-2019-Headerm

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