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AJAX & SEO - Are They Compatible?

Many travel and holiday websites are now utilizing AJAX. AJAX is not new, but it is developing into a major buzzword in IT departments and at web developers. It's also a potential source of friction between IT/development and marketing. AJAX is short for Asynchronous JavaScript and XML, a development technique designed to create interactive web applications. AJAX makes web pages faster loading and more responsive by exchanging small amounts of data with the server so that the whole page does not have to be reloaded each time the user requests a change. This is meant to increase the web page's interactivity, speed, and usability.

One of the "classic" AJAX applications that most people are familiar with is Google Maps. There are some major benefits to implementing AJAX on a travel or holiday websites. It can assist in delivering an improved user experience through faster loading, improved page interactivity and enhanced visual presentation. There is also the benefit of reduced bandwidth usage as smaller packets of data are downloaded rather than whole web pages. However, there is a price to pay for delivering this enhanced user experience.

The problem is that search engines can't see your AJAX delivered content or navigation as they are unable to run the Javascript code necessary to generate the HTML content. If the search engines cannot access your content or follow your navigational links you could be seriously restricting your site's exposure in the search engines. There is no doubt that AJAX is here to stay, at least until something better comes along. It's also likely that the major search engines will become more adept at spidering and indexing AJAX generated content. However, until they do, the simple solution is to avoid using AJAX where it is not needed on your site. If you do intend to use AJAX make sure that your IT department or web developer create real links and HTML content to feed the spiders with.


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