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Since this post in October 2015, Google claims to be able to crawl JavaScript. Does this mean that single page apps that don't have a server rendering are indexed by Google?

I created a single page app to test this here: scruffian.github.io/spa-crawling-test

A simple Google search for "site:scruffian.github.io/spa-crawling-test" reveals that these pages aren't indexed. Is this because the page rank is low, or because they are loaded with JavaScript?

  • The page you are trying to index might not be qualified for the indexing. To be indexed it should have some content. May be this post will help understanding how SEO works Google guidelines – Suri Babu Jun 2 '16 at 8:19
  • @SuriBabu What about SPAs like devdocs.io that do have lots of content but are not indexed? – drewblaisdell Jun 2 '16 at 22:39
  • If you search "site:scruffian.github.io" you can see the page has been index but if you check the cached version(webcache.googleusercontent.com/…) Page content is not there. So i doubt if it crawled Javascript or not. If you google you will find some techniques to index the Javascript content. – Suri Babu Jun 6 '16 at 5:07
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To answer your first point having reviewed your example site you do not have any indexable content or keywords. To index the content Google needs content to index. As your initial page doesn't have anything except for links Google will not continue down the path of indexing those links as it makes the website appear as not legitimate and a possible blackhat SEO activity to artificially boost SEO based on links with no content.

As for the point you made in comments I have done a check of devdocs.io and they have thousands of records in the Google index so they are most certainly being indexed and searchable though the keywords may be a little tricky as they site appears to be tightly focused on technical manuals for third party frameworks and applications which means those other sites will rank higher.

As for if Google can index javascript driven content or not feel free to take a look at http://searchengineland.com/tested-googlebot-crawls-javascript-heres-learned-220157. These guy's didn't just say something based on what they read, they actually went ahead and did experiments to test Google crawlers with various javascript driven content and this is what they found...

  • Javascipt redirections where treated by Google as authoratative 301 redirects and updated the index appropriately.
  • Javascript links based on onclick and onchange where fully crawled and followed.
  • Dynamically inserted content was was crawled and indexed.

What is important to note from all this is that Google doesn't just crawl links in source code, it also executes javascript and crawls the document object model after the javascript has been executed searching for any additional keywords, links, etc which can be added to the index.

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    "I have done a check of devdocs.io and they have thousands of records in the Google index so they are most certainly being indexed and searchable". Thanks for the answer. How have you checked this? – scruffian Jun 6 '16 at 11:43
  • To do this without access to the search console just go to the google homepage and use the search query site:devdocs.io and this will bring up every page Google has in the index under the domain devdocs.io – Chris Rutherfurd Jun 6 '16 at 11:45
  • @PlanetScaleNetworks Unfortunately, none of the results for site:devdocs.io contains dynamically inserted content. :( – drewblaisdell Jun 9 '16 at 22:50
  • Are you blocking Googlebot from accessing your CSS and javascript? – Chris Rutherfurd Jun 10 '16 at 0:38

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