The approaches described below are not how-tos, but suggestions. Additionally, they include some degree of overlap. Find a method that works for your site, and go forward with confidence.
Doing fallback pages correctly can be tricky and time-consuming. You can choose a very basic approach to fallback content by featuring only the most essential text and formatting features.
- HTML (content and page framework)
- CSS (style)
Each ingredient adds an important part of the recipe but does so without obstructing any level of accessibility or crawlability.
Here’s how A List Apart diagrams it:
Progressive Enhancement (PE)
Progressive Enhancement is mostly a methodology, rather than an actual goal. One of its biggest advantages is that it is geared to be mobile-friendly.
The coding methodology behind PE is labor-intensive, because it requires making several complete versions of the same page. But the upside for SEO is clear. The content, regardless of the requesting client, is fully available to spiders and is indexable for the search engines. Because the basic content of the page is HTML, it’s readily picked up and indexed by any search spider.
Serving Search Engines Alternative Page Versions
GASP! Is this cloaking? Actually, yes.
And isn’t cloaking one of the seven original sins of SEO? Yes again. But in this case, the cloaking is white-hat and healthy.
By way of disclaimer, I don’t typically recommend this methodology first. I consider it a last resort only suggested for applications that are exclusively Java-based.
When your page or app is requested by a spider, you forward that request to a separate application that pulls the site in an SEO-rendered way and serves it back to the spider. Third-party applications such as BromBone and Prerender can facilitate the delivery of status codes and headers.
Here’s how it works.
If you choose this method, make sure to slavishly adhere to Google’s guidelines. Here is the official statement of how Google’s crawlers will access dynamic content.
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