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Bing joins Google in upping AJAX game

John Murray

Microsoft search engine Bing has just announced that it has followed the path of Google in introducing HTML5 pushState support, which should facilitate the implementation of search engine optimisation techniques on AJAX sites.

When building sites through AJAX, a broad group of technologies used to help websites exchange data in the background without affecting page displays, SEO can be notoriously difficult as search engines struggle to crawl though such sites – especially if they feature multiple tabs.

Owners of tabbed sites could opt to render each tab through AJAX or to use cascading style sheets (CSS), but both techniques could lead to slow loading of pages. Since 2009, Google has been able to index AJAX sites by adding the characters #! to URLs, but this is not easy to implement for either webmasters or search engines. Google has therefore supported pushState for over a year now, making URLs appear separate for each tab, but allowing tabs to function as if they are all AJAX-rendered.

Bing has now followed suit, with its blogger Fabrice Canel telling the website Search Engine Land:

“We are still supporting the #! crawlable AJAX method but as I said, we do not recommend it at all and we really prefer pushState which is far easier for webmasters and web developers to adopt and maintain.”

In a video released this month, Google head of webspam Matt Cutts also spoke of the search engine’s preference for pushState. Of course, this is another example of how those interested in climbing search engine rankings need to keep track of changes to ensure that quality content does not go amiss as a result of due consideration not being given to site design.

Statistics compiled by analytics group comScore in February of this year show that Google is used for nearly two thirds of searches, while those performed via Bing and other Microsoft platforms make up just 2.5% of the total.

John is every inch the wordsmith and loves a game of Scrabble above all else. With experience writing for newspapers, John’s time at university was spent studying Creative Writing – something which comes across in his love of the pun.

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