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Run AJAX Web Crawls

Ajax Web Crawls

Although they look good and can sometimes act as a platform to show off, web content pages with AJAX elements are difficult for most crawlers and scrapers to mitigate. This hurts where it matters the most on the Web: Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The problem with AJAX pages is its dynamics. This is produced by the browser and since engines can’t run JavaScript, pages remain hidden to crawlers. Regular maintenance is too laborious since it entails manual updating of content.

A great example is Twitter: if you check the source, there are no tweets visible. Just lines and lines of code staring at you making everything you see dynamic! This is where AJAX crawling works. However, potentially new crawling techniques now help search engines to crawl and index such sites / pages.

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How does running AJAX crawls work?

The key is to have your content made available for the crawler in 2 versions: one, JS-enabled at an ‘AJAX style’URL, and, the second which is conventional HTML-type URL. It’s been a while since Google bots started crawling AJAX sites, yet a site still excludes web crawlers that come from other engines.

PromptCloud Solution to Ajax Web Crawls

At PromptCloud we solved this problem with simple GET requests despite the fact that AJAX pages work with POST requests that are not easy to trace for a normal bot. From our experience with numerous AJAX sites on the web, we’ve crossed the tech barrier. Although we solved the AJAX problem, there do remain challenges when it comes to running AJAX crawls. Some of these include:

Javascript Emulations

Solution: Headless browser emulating human interaction with a web page without an interface

Fetch Bandwidths

Solution: Allocating high bandwidths to POST requests to diminish incomplete responses.

.NET Architectures

Solution: Crawler needs to track View State and pass validation; thus to ensure nothing breaks down midway, a mechanism is employed to restore states.

Page Encoding

Solution: Request must be sent in the exact format as expected by the server (Content-type or media type, accept fields, etc.) and similarly responses need to be parsed based on the content-type. Overall, AJAX crawling requires more compute power in addition to the technical expertise. And because there’s no uniformity on the web, there’s always a new challenge to overcome in this landscape. Disclaimer: All product and company names are trademarks™ or registered® trademarks of their respective holders. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by them.

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