To work around a problem with a third party documentation writing software I need to redirect a page to another page but only if a user in browser is looking at it. I want the google bot to see the original page but the user to see the redirected page.

The webpages are hosted as raw HTML/css/javascript on a server with no .htaccess. I can only use Javascript to do the redirect.

I have good legitimate, non-spammy reasons to do so. Any solutions welcome!

The longer detail

Documentation writing software that I am using outputs pages that look like this:

enter image description here

It is structured (by the Documentation software) to be a Treeview with table of contents on the left, then an iFrame on the right hosting the actual content.

As a result, google bot cannot see or crawl the actual content from the iFrame version. Instead it crawls the inner page hosted in the iframe, which is here:

enter image description here

That would be fine but now when a user clicks on a link in google:

enter image description here

... they are taken to the page above (no iFrame, no nice tree view) so are unaware any other documentation exists.

To workaround this I've put a short in place which displays a button at the top of the page prompting the user to redirect to the iFrame version.

enter image description here

I'd much rather have an auto redirect though, which would give a better user experience, but I need to preserve Google seeing the original page to ensure that the site gets indexed.

1 Answer 1


This is high risk practice. IMHO... You will sooner or later probably get banned in google because of sneaky redirects. Are you sure you want to try it anyway?

if (!(/bot|googlebot/i.test(navigator.userAgent))) {

JavaScript code above relies on navigator.userAgent variable. We are preparing regular expression with words "bot" and "googlebot", that is case insensitive (/i modifier thou). Then we are testing navigator.userAgent variable if it matches. Exclamation mark negates this result, so code in curly braces is being executed only if userAgent does not match regular expression.

document.location.href="..."; is one of standard methods of redirecting in JavaScript. There might be another way of doing it which would better suit your needs.

  • This is what my SEO expert told me and I don't want to get banned or risk an SEO penalty./ I'm wondering about another solution: to have a 'Remember this choice' option on the popup for user to redirect, and use cookies to remember it? Thoughts? Commented Feb 4, 2019 at 10:05

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