While there are multiple Web 2.0 technologies that can impact your search optimization efforts, this article concentrates on AJAX. It is increasingly finding its way onto marketers’ radar screens because it improves the on-page experience for Web site visitors.
Two sites that employ AJAX functionality are Google Maps and Kayak.com.
During a recent trip I used Google Maps to seamlessly get directions from my hotel to a restaurant. Another map site would have required reloading based on any directional changes.
Similarly, I was able to use “sliders” in Kayak to adjust and view flights that met my specifications for time, airline and cost. It sure beat having to wait while Expedia searched for flights that met my preferences.
Fear not though. Should you decide to ditch your existing interface in exchange for the improved customer experience AJAX provides, there are various workarounds. All that hard work to get those pages indexed and all those inbound links to point to those indexed pages wasn’t for naught.
Just make sure that your content lives in a place that search engines can access it. Make an HTML version available to spiders and leave the AJAX version for live visitors. This can be accomplished by utilizing user agent detection. It’s perfectly ethical because you’re not presenting different information to visitors than you are to spiders. Everybody wins – search engines can crawl it, and users get a better experience with AJAX functionality.