The answer is, as you'll hear from me frequently, yes and no.
Noscript tags can be very helpful for your SEO in many circumstances. Unfortunately, when they are used incorrectly, they can also be downright devastating.
Read on to find out how noscript tags influence SEO, how to implement them properly, and how they can do tremendous damage if used incorrectly.
Does Google Index the Content Inside Noscript Tags?
There seems to be a lot of controversy surrounding this topic and there really shouldn't be. We've received a very clear answer directly from a Google employee.
Back in 2007 (yeah, I know) CNET interviewed Maile Ohye, a Senior Support Engineer on the Google Webmaster Team. Here is how CNET paraphrased what she said:
Maile confirmed that Google looks at the content within "noscript" tags, but be careful to mirror accurately the Flash-based content you include within the noscript tags or it will look like cloaking to Googlebot.
In fact, it can lead to disastrous results when used incorrectly.
How Noscript Can Hurt Your SEO
Okay. So I already mentioned that you should be careful not to make it look like you're cloaking. So, you know, make sure your noscript alternates are accurate.
However, there's more to it than that. Consider this webmaster's dilemma:
This isn't the only discussion online where similar things have happened. In some circumstances, Google will display your noscript content in search snippets or even in place of a meta description. This can hurt click through rates, which can inevitably hurt search engine rankings. And, of course, if Google thinks that all of the pages on your site say the same thing because they have identical noscript tags, Google may only display one of those pages in the search results, refusing to display the rest of them in the main index.
So, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Avoid posting identical noscript content across all or many of your pages.
- Use unique noscript content on each page if at all possible.
- Make sure that the noscript content accurately reflects the content in the script.
- As an alternative to noscript, it is ideal to host a static HTML page with a script running on top of it, and pulling its content from the static page.
- Ideally, every page should use at least some unique, static HTML content. A title tag and h1 tag are especially important, but some degree of paragraph text would also be ideal if it can be made useful for visitors.
Oh, and if you were wondering how noscript works in HTML, it looks like this:
Image credit: jenny downing