JavaScript Flyout Menus, Why Are They Bad for SEO?

- October 21, 2009

One of the many items we look for in our website Optimization Reviews is whether or not a website is using JavaScript flyout menus. JavaScript dependent flyout menus are not ideal navigation solutions for a number of different reasons. First and foremost, search engines cannot crawl JavaScript menus. This means that if you are relying on a menu system for users to find certain pages, while they may be able to, search engines will not. JavaScript menus also contribute to a page’s code bloat, by automatically adding numerous lines of irrelevant code to a page’s HTML output. Additionally, if a user has JavaScript turned off on their web browser, whether intentionally or not, not only will the search engines not be able to see the navigation, but neither will the user.

It just so happens that the most widely used menu system that we come across is the one that comes bundled with the most popular web development application, Adobe Dreamweaver. While this menu system is very easy to setup, style and implement, it’s a JavaScript menu. An alternative to JavaScript dependent menus would be a menu that is created using a combination of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and jQuery (a JavaScript). CSS and jQuery navigation systems will perform just as well, if not better, than a pure JavaScript menu and they are 100% SEO friendly. Also, if the user has JavaScript turned off, then the menu will degrade nicely to pure CSS.

If you are concerned about SEO and are considering using flyout menus on your website, then it is important to explore non JavaScript dependent menu systems so that your site can easily be crawled by search engine spiders.

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