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What is Ajax?

Ajax is quite new web development technology, it became quickly very popular, but still a lot of people do not know what it is and how to make a use of it. In this short article i want to present you my views on it, especially when to use Ajax, because often people use this powerful technology in wrong way which may hurt your SERP rankings.

Are you one of this people? Read on to find out.

To understand when to use Ajax, obviously first we need to know what it is and what it does. Ajax is acronym of Asynchronous JavaScript and XML, this name may be confusing because we can use Ajax without XML, so i guess XML means here only some kind of markup language to describe processed data by JavaScript, not necessary XML data that we know it can be HTML code as well.

How it works? This is simple, using JavaScript you need to create new object XmlHttpRequest, this object can communicate with scripts on your serer and ONLY on your server, you cannot connect to Yahoo.com or Google.com for example, this is security issue and prevents cross site scripting.

So for example if you have your page loaded and created XmlHttpRequest, you can communicate with other server side script without reloading website. This can be very useful, if you know when to use this.

Most important here is that after downloading data (and it can be any kind of data) it is not visible in the source code, so search engine bots can’t see this. So displaying articles using Ajax can hurt your organic search engine traffic, because bots won’t find any interesting content on your site.

Therefore first thing to remember. Do not use Ajax for displaying articles or any other text that can help you rank better in search engine results.

When to use Ajax then. Great example of Ajax in action is GMail, thanks to Ajax it works ultra fast, looks very nice and search engines do not visit email accounts or any other password protected area. If you think now, admin areas and user panels are all great places to use Ajax then i guess you are right.

What about pages that are visible to bots? The first thing that comes to my mind is displaying PageRank, think of it. PageRank is only number, it has no real value for search engines and tame needed for getting PR from Google server can be as long as 2 or 3 seconds, by showing PR on your page you are obviously increasing time needed for sending whole page to user by 2 or 3 seconds, BUT if we use Ajax for getting PageRank from Google then PR will be downloaded in background and website visitor won’t have to wait this additional seconds. This is great as no one likes to wait for page to be loaded.

I hope, after reading this article you realize what Ajax is, when it is good to use it, and when it sucks to use it.

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