Googlebot Does Support JavaScript Redirects In Evergreen Version

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Google said in May that it was switching its Googlebot web crawler to an evergreen form, meaning it will update itself automatically every time Chromium updates. Since then, webmasters have been asking questions about how Googlebot works, and one of the latest questions about whether it supports JavaScript redirects.

As part of their video series on questions from website administrators about search, Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller addressed this question: “Can Google evergreen Chromium detect client-side JavaScript redirects? I’m not able to submit GSC [Google Search Console] indexing request to pages that have client-side JS redirect to a subscription page.”

In the video, he reminded viewers that Google updated the crawler it uses to find public, crawlable pages. They had been using a special, older version of Chrome for Googlebot, but now they have started using the newest version of Chrome to make sure they can see what users actually see when they view pages in their web browser. Googlebot now runs on what they call an “evergreen” version of Chromium, which basically just means they’re always using the latest version of it, similar to how PC users keep their web browsers constantly updated.

Mueller explained that web administrators who use JavaScript redirects are telling Google they would rather have a different URL indexed in place of the one Googlebot crawled. He also said they support these redirects.

“We support JavaScript redirects of different types and follow them similar to how we follow server-side redirects,” he said. “JavaScript redirects are important for… unsurprisingly, JavaScript-based sites, which we also work hard to support.

He also explained that it doesn’t make a lot of sense to submit a URL that redirects for indexing because the redirect tells Googlebot the website administrator would rather have the other URL indexed. Thus, he recommends that webmasters simply submit the URL they want to have indexed or, better yet, make sure Googlebot is able to discover the URL automatically. He added that if the URL is properly linked inside the website, Google will automatically discover it through regular crawling.

He also pointed website administrators to Google’s documentation on JavaScript problems here. You can also check out ValueWalk’s JavaScript SEO guide here.

We have embedded the YouTube video here in its entirety:

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