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No Script.

The no script element, also known as the no script tag is used to give information to users with browsers that do not support a script such as Javascript or Flash. It should be used with caution as it’s been abused by SEOs in the past and, when used incorrectly, can be viewed as a spam signal by Google.

Use of the no script tag

It was very useful back for Google in their early days, when their crawlers weren’t able to render javascript very well. As such, (much like their inability to accurately read images and therefore use the alt attribute for a description) the no script acted as a description of the content that wasn’t being rendered.

In a 2014 Google Webmaster Central Blog post, Google announced that they’ve made leaps and bounds in their ability to render Javascript. It was an advancement in response to websites utilising more and more Javascript to display content to the users. However – as you can read in the post – it’s by no means a perfect system and as such, the no script can be valuable in providing Google with information about the content that they fail to render.

No script content can also be useful for the user when their browser doesn’t support javascript or any other script used to display content on your site. But bear in mind that most modern browsers do support non html content. (In 2013 this was less than 1% of internet traffic.)

SEO considerations for no script

As previously mentioned, the no script was an abused aspect of SEO. It was an area in which Black Hat SEOs decided to keyword stuff. In 2014, John Mueller mentioned in a Google+ Hangout that it’s traditionally been an area for spam and that, if people are using it to place content that’s important for the site, the content should really be placed in the body html.

John was fairly ambiguous (using words like ‘probably’ and ‘picky’ as to whether Google completely discounts content in no scripts due to the fact that the user rarely sees the element (like they do for meta keywords). Key takeaways from what John Mueller said were:

  • If it’s really important content, then just make sure that it’s visible to the user and is included in more traditional content
  • No scripts can be used if necessary from a technical point of view
  • Google’s algorithm doesn’t automatically red flag no script content, but due to the amount of spam previously associated with the tag, it will be picky about the content that it indexes

 

So what are the best practices?

Is it relevant?

Only use no scripts where necessary and if the content contained within the no script is displayed to the user elsewhere then it’s likely to be spammy. It must be a relevant and accurate description of the content displayed by the script. For example, if your website was using javascript to display content about how to use Facebook advertising, then the no script should be relevant to Facebook advertising.

Be specific

From another discussion on Moz, site wide no scripts (i.e appearing on every page) can be misleading for Google in that they may consider the content within the no script to be associated with the site, for example ‘javascript’. Read the full thread here.

To avoid being flagged as hidden text or cloaking, the text within the no script should also be viewable in the static content and to users that don’t have javascript enabled on their browsers.

With the ambiguity as to whether or not Google actually indexes the no script as well as the potential for cloaking, and the subsequent caution that Google uses in regards to the tag, it’s a very touchy subject. If you’re unsure as to whether or not you should be using a no script or, what content should be contained in the element, we would advise not using it. It was originally used to provide value to users with older browsers but with advancements in browsers and Google’s ability to render certain scripts it’s becoming more and more obsolete.

How to I add no script to a video?

If you are going to implement the tag, the code for a no script is:

<script>

document.write (“Facebook advertising”)

</script>

<noscript>walk through of Facebook of advertising</noscript>

 

Is all this talk of no script confusing?

At Yellowball we have an expert team of technical SEOs that can audit your site and improve your SEO foundations.

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