Website Development Techniques – What is AJAX?

Many of the more popular website development techniques used by website design firms or Internet marketing companies are chosen to increase site speed and usability.  These days advanced functionality and unique technology need to be inetgrated with proper optimization strategies.  All of this ensures that the sites will rank in the SERPs when SEO techniques are applied AND that the user experince is optimal.

One of the website development techniques more popluar these days is the use of AJAX.  AJAX basically combines the use of technologies such as HTML, XML, CSS, and XMLHTTPRequest all tied together through the use of JavaScript (though JavaScript is not the only scripting language that can be used for implementing AJAX applications.

Using AJAX, web applications on a given website can retrieve data from the server without interferring with the appearance of the web page changing for the user.  AXAJ can also improve site speed by only changing certain parts of the page (when a user is navigating through the site) while maintaining other areas that do not need to change (such as headers, navigation, and certain design aspects).  When the applications are communicating with the server, things like the CSS (cascading style sheet) only have to be requested one time rather than each time a user goes to a new page.  Bascially, the drastic reduction of server connections improves site speed and usabiltiy for the user.

From a search engine optimization perspective some of the disadvantages and work-arounds should be noted.  Sometimes a good website design company will focus more on design than optimization.  Great design and functionality is not always synonymous with good organic optimization or conversions.  A professional Internet marketing company will encompass all aspects of the campaign from concept to implementation.

When using AJAX some of the disadvantages to keep in mind are as follows:

  • Pages that are dynamically created do not register with the browsers history so clicking “back” will take you to the previous page (but not the previous version of the AJAX enabled page)
  • Search engine crawlers do not usually respond well to JavaScript code so the web developer or SEO engineer need to make sure that the content is accessible in another way so it can be indexed
  • Users that do not have browsers that support AJAX may not be able to read the JavaScript enabled content

Website development used to be kept separate from orgainc search engine optimization, and often still is by some companies.  A good design firm will develop sites that have at least the basic principles of SEO optimization such as proper site structure, use of title tags, H1 tags, internal link structure, proper use and placement of content, etc.  Additionally, as the world of Web 2.0 and e-commerce have progressed, sites are no longer online calling cards.  They are interactive experiences design to generate customers, expose branding, and increase revenue for companies.  Therefore, proper conversion optimization needs to be addressed to ensure the marketing efforts are providing an appropriate ROI.

Any time an Internet marketing company takes on a new client for SEO, the first thing that should be done is a website audit and usability assessment.  You can’t send traffic to site not designed to capture it and foster conversions (or at least you shouldn’t).  So, when designing sites using techniques such as AJAX a good firm still needs to assess optimization aspects so the site can rank in the SERPs.

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