As customers demand more expansive and interactive multichannel engagement, a lot of conventional content management systems are being found lacking in the kind of rich media experiences that brands need in order to stay ahead of the content curve. This has led to a rise in the need for additional plugins to speed-based CDNs and even the rise of entirely separate content marketing platforms that plug into already existing architecture to expand rich media capabilities.
Script Served Content On Google & Yandex
That isn’t the end of the story, however.
SCRIPT SERVED CONTENT On Other Search Engines
This includes notables like Bing and Baidu which can’t be ignored, even if they aren’t a focus for your particular search strategy. Baidu is of course the only real priority for mainland China, and Bing’s search market share is growing rapidly (the most recent stats from Comscore confirm that Bing has hit over 20% search market share in the US, and considering that Bing also powers Yahoo that actually gives it the better part of 35% of US search market share all told. That’s over a third of a pretty powerful search audience that no brand in its right mind should ignore.
The bad news is that Bing and Baidu’s bots aren’t anywhere near as smart as Google or Yandex, and they can’t parse or index content that is served via a script. Does that mean you need to reject these rich content platforms or sacrifice at least a potential third of your search audience?
Not at all.
Firstly, make sure you ask about the search indexing capabilities of your content platform when you’re early into the process of potentially acquiring one. You’ll need to get your development team involved as early as possible to make sure your existing website systems can talk to an SEO-friendly integration of the new content platform. What you’re looking for is being able to embed an inline HTML equivalent of the content served via the script into the output source code of your pages. This doesn’t even necessarily need to contain all the styling and other elements, but make sure it contains key markup like H tags and fully readable text content.
But wait, I hear – isn’t this a form of cloaking? Hiding text and links in divs only designed to be read by search engines rather than users? Am I sitting on a Google penalty waiting to happen?
For example, one common use of an external content platforms is to add rich media headings to the top of categories or product listing pages on eCommerce sites. In this case you should end up with output source code that looks something roughly like this (the script part will of course vary depending on the platform you’re using for your rich content delivery, the example code below is based on some output from our chums at Amplience):
Provided this guideline is followed, there’s no violation in place and all is well. Just make sure you use that <noscript> tag as a clear indicator to all search engines that you’re not up to anything cheeky, and of course ensure that you’re only replicating exactly what would otherwise be rendered by your rich content platform in the text – no trying to sneak in anything different (or additional) or you will be ripe for a Google slap.