Noscript Tags – What Are They and How Do They Affect SEO?

Noscript Tags – What Are They and How Do They Affect SEO?

Nowadays, it’s hard to imagine a website without JavaScript that makes it noticeably more attractive. Although it doesn’t happen on a daily basis, the browser preferred by users visiting your website may not support JS or the functionality may be disabled. In this case, it’s crucial to provide visitors with an alternative website version with noscript tags. What are they and how do they affect SEO?

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Table of Contents:

Noscript tags – what are they?

JavaScript enables the implementation of various solutions, however, it may also increase your website loading time, thus, it has to be applied moderately. It’s also crucial to take into consideration cases when the Internet user’s browser doesn’t support JS or the functionality is disabled. Here, defining alternative content will solve the problem.

Frequently, website content can be manipulated with JS – without JavaScript, it may not be displayed at all. In this situation, it’s crucial to benefit from noscript tags.

If you want to see website elements shown to users who don’t have JavaScript, you can do it in a number of ways.

In Chrome, do it in the following way:

1. Select “Settings”.

2. Click “Privacy & Security.”

how to check java script chrome

3. Click “Site Settings”.

nonscript tags - checking java script on chrome

4. In the JavaScript section, change to “Don’t allow sites to use JavaScript.”

dsiabling java script

The same can be done in a different way:

  • Click F12.
  • Click F1 or Settings.
  • Uncheck JavaScript.
  • Click F5 or refresh the page to see the results.

Quick JavaScript Switcher, a plugin for Chrome, is the third solution that makes it possible to disable JS with one click.

Results? If your website looks the same with and without JS, it means that you and the web developer did a great job. On the other hand, if the versions are different, your page needs thorough analysis. If valuable content is missing, consider removing JavaScript if it’s not necessary or apply <noscript>.

Users don’t disable JavaScript frequently, however, you should be prepared for such a situation, regardless of its reason.
technical seo and m commerce

Where should you place noscript tags on your website?

Locations where it’s beneficial to apply noscript tags include:

  • sliders – meaning carousels that display images on the page;
  • sections like an accordion – they’re usually encountered in FAQ sections where it’s possible to unfold answers to questions;
  • pagination – “see more” sections that complement page content.

Generally speaking, noscript tags are applied every time you need to deal with website elements that aren’t displayed or are displayed incorrectly without JavaScript.

If your page includes numerous elements that operate thanks to JS and you worry they may not be shown to users, it’s worth applying noscript tags.

However, keep in mind that doing it improperly can do more harm than good, therefore, if you have any doubts or you aren’t familiar with the field, consult a specialist.

Noscript tags vs. SEO

Google algorithms are becoming better and better at JavaScript indexing, however, it’s hard to expect that they’ll do it as well as in the case of HTML language. Theoretically speaking, the noscript tag should make it easier for algorithms to understand the content. But is it really the case? Does Google index the tag content?

As stated by Maile Ohye, a former Google support engineer, Google analyzes the content of noscript tags. However, they should accurately reflect the content of JS scripts, otherwise, the bot may perceive them as cloaking.

The diagram showing how Google processes JavaScript:

non scrip tags google
Source: https://developers.google.com/search/docs/advanced/javascript/javascript-seo-basics?hl=en

Does it mean that if Google indexes noscript content, you should always place alternative content in the tag to make sure that it’s indexed? Not necessarily – incorrect use of this solution can have negative consequences.

Perhaps you’ve visited websites that asked you to enable JavaScript to fully benefit from their potential. If you apply noscript tags in the wrong way, such a message can appear on each of your subpages. Then, Google may consider this sentence one of the most popular phrases on your website. And you certainly don’t want some random content to be displayed everywhere on your site. It would definitely have a negative impact on your domain authority.

Moreover, as a result of this situation, Google might display the content of the noscript tag in rich snippets or in the meta description. This, in turn, may negatively affect your conversion rate as users will notice that a visited subpage doesn’t contain content they’re looking for.

Search engine robots may also decide that all your subpages include the same content. Consequently, Google may display only one website element and dismiss the remaining subpages.

How to use noscript tags properly?

Follow these rules:

  • Don’t use the same noscript tag on all or numerous subpages.
  • If you want to display the same element every time, provide the message in the form of an image. This way, Google won’t index the same text on every subpage.
  • Make sure that the content of noscript tags corresponds to elements of JS.

Applying noscript tags with the abovementioned rules in mind certainly won’t have a negative impact on your visibility in Google.

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Delante is an online marketing agency specialized in generating website traffic from search engines and paid ads (SEO / SEM). Over 80% of our clients are from rapidly growing e-commerce industry.

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