I read a blog post at Three Rivers Institute that lead me to the following presentation.

The presentation is about startups and search engine optimization. How to drive visitors to your website.

Dharmesh discusses how to adapt your webpage to generate visitors, also promoting his hubspot seo grader.

Now this got me thinking of a project I’ve been working on. It’s a highly dynamic JavaScript based page, hosted on Google AppEngine. (currently not in a state I’d like to show it off since its still lacking the basic features).

The page is being designed with a few ideas in mind:

  • All dynamic data i served to the page through REST
  • All static pages are served with long expiration, most content is static
  • The main page never reloads, instead JavaScript does AJAX to update the content
  • The JavaScript is designed using SOLID design principles
  • The JavaScript is tested
  • Back and forwards buttons still work
  • Marketing Content is served using Google Sites, to reduce bandwidth but especially to shorten roundtrips when working with Marketing material

Now the idea here is to give a similar feeling as to what GMail feels like. A common trend, in web application development I think. However, after watching the presentation the following thought occurred to me. The GMail application needs to be found by search-engines.

Google has a signup page with content that is searchable, but the main JavaScript client is not designed to be found by Search Engines.

I want my page to be found by search engines, and this means that there are a few of the basic Ideas behind the page that I need to reconsider. Especially the following:

  • The main page never reloads, instead JavaScript does AJAX to update the content - Meaning that the page looks “empty” to search engine crawlers since all content is loaded using JavaScript
  • Marketing Content is served using Google Sites, to reduce bandwidth but especially to shorten roundtrips when working with Marketing material - Right now this is implemented using IFrames, which probably cause trouble for search-engines (yeah yeah, I know frames suck especially IFrames… but there were some cross site issues I didn’t want to fix right now), I need some of my content pages to be searchable, but not the AJAX-driven application in it self. So now I have to rethink some of my decisions which were made from a pure coding view-point, to adapt to marketing viewpoints (and search engine algorithms so its not all bad).