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We're planning on building a HTML snapshot creation service to provide the Google crawlers with static HTML of our JS driven single page application.

Is this still necessary and/or encouraged since Google openly admits it is parsing JS now?

How should I tackle this evaluation?

  • Are there tools to provide data on when it's needed to provide snapshots and when google has sufficent parsing?
  • Is it better because it would be much faster in comparison to the JS incremental rendering?
  • The article you link to talks of a tool coming soon to GWT. – MrWhite Jun 4 '14 at 8:04
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It admits to parsing JS, but it's not nearly as advanced one might think. They parse basic javascript and maybe a little bit more advanced, but no way they can detect an event, which sets a timer, which does a JSONcall, which updates styles.

If SEO is really important, stick to the current standard: No JS for SEO.
Make sure 90% of your content is reachable via the 'normal' procedures.


For a small example how to combine them: I'm working on a webshop. I wanted it to go faster, so when you change overview pages I do this via ajax. This is something a crawler cant do (the clickable options arent anchors).

To fix this, I use history.pushState() to change the url. It looks as if the page does changes the 'old' way. I think Google might detect this. But to make sure, I made the changed url work as well. So if I pushstate from /a to /b, I made sure /b is accessable if a user would type that directly.

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  • It's already finished product. We can't change it, we're currently building a html snapshot service (like described here developers.google.com/webmasters/ajax-crawling/docs/…) with a prerender.io code base. But if you say it's still very basic I think we will stick to our html snapshots. – schlingel Jun 4 '14 at 10:12
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Is this still necessary and/or encouraged since Google openly admits it is parsing JS now?

Yes, it's necessary. Google is not the only webcrawler. JavaScript support for indexing isn't going to happen anytime soon.

Are there tools to provide data on when it's needed to provide snapshots and when google has sufficient parsing?

There are several tools out there for baking dynamic websites into static HTML. Some tools are designed to run in NodeJS, some in the web browser and others are offered as web services for $.

You'll need to find and use the tool that works best for your website.

The popular ones are http://phantomjs.org/ and http://zombie.labnotes.org/

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