How to Make React JS SEO-Friendly

Making a website SEO-friendly is the upfront task of any site developer. In this article we’re going to cover how one can make React SEO-friendly.

How to make React JS SEO friendly

Tired of applying different strategies to get a higher search engine ranking for your React JS website? Are you still wondering why almost none of them are working efficiently? Well, no worries. You have arrived at the right place. In this article, we will not just showcase the whys and hows of making React JS SEO-friendly but will also take a deep dive into how the Google bots work, how important SEO is, what are the underlying challenges, and how you can resolve them.

Table of Contents

Significance of SEO

According to Statista, Google had an 83 percent share of the global search market as of July 2022, with Bing accounting for nearly nine percent. In comparison, Yahoo accounted for 2.55 percent of the market. In light of this, it is advantageous to develop your SEO strategy according to what Google considers best practices. We need to understand the process of Google ranking before we can learn how to enhance React JS SEO. 

Google uses a bot called Googlebot to crawl the site. These web crawlers go through all the content to index a site. Let’s make it simpler. Your site’s pages are crawled by these bots to discover new ones. A robots.txt file allows you to specify which pages should be crawled when creating a website. You can also hide some pages on your site to stop bots from overcrowding it. 

After crawling, Google bots index. Google bots analyze web content to determine what a page is about in this process. Outcomes of this process are kept in the Google index – a gigantic database of information about all web pages. All web pages are indexed automatically, so it’s crucial to logically arrange and display all content so a machine can understand it. Serving and ranking processes are part of the third step. Google uses its index to find relevant results when a user searches for something. So what is so challenging in React JS? Well, the answer lies in the language that is JavaScript, used in this popular frontend technology. 

Below is the block diagram from Google Documentation to help us understand how Google processes web apps and websites. Please note that it is a simplified explanation. Googlebot is considerably more advanced. 

The following points should be noted:

  • Googlebot maintains a crawl queue that contains all the URLs it needs to crawl and index in the future.
  • Whenever the crawler is idle, it picks up the next URL in the queue, requests it, and retrieves its HTML.
  • Following parsing HTML, Googlebot determines that JavaScript must be collected and executed. When it does, the URL is added to a queue for rendering.
  • To render the page, the renderer gathers and executes JavaScript, ultimately returning the rendered HTML to its original location.
  • All URL tags on the web page are extracted and added back to the crawl queue by the processing unit.
  • Google indexes the content.

We hope now you have a clearer picture of how actually Google bot works. So let’s move on to identify the obstacles that arise while optimizing search engine ranking and overall performance with React JS web apps and websites. 

Read more: Top React Frameworks to Consider in 2022 and beyond

What Makes React JS SEO Challenging

In this brief overview of Googlebot, crawling, and indexing, we have only touched the surface of the subject. Nevertheless, software engineers need to be aware of problems search engines may encounter when trying to crawl and index React JS pages. Our next concern is how developers can address and overcome some of the challenges associated with React JS SEO. It is suitable to hire React JS developers who have acumen of developing intuitive digital products when tackling a heavily SEO-reliant project.

The Indexing Process is Complex and Slow

We are aware that React JS sites frequently experience issues with Google search and depend primarily on JavaScript. The WRS runs the JavaScript code once a bot has downloaded the HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files. Next, the WRS retrieves data from APIs, and only then does it deliver the content to Google’s servers.

The bot cannot find new connections and add them to the queue for crawling unless all of these conditions are met. This method is linear and moves much more slowly than indexing HTML pages.

Limited Crawling budget

The maximum number of pages that search engine bots can crawl in a given time frame is known as a crawling budget (typically five seconds for one script). As a result of Google having to wait too long (over five seconds) for scripts to load, process, and execute, many websites developed using JavaScript have indexing issues. If your site has slow scripts, the Google crawler will quickly exhaust its crawling budget and quit before indexing it.

Errors in JavaScript code

Processing errors are done differently in HTML and JavaScript. Indexing may not be possible due to a single mistake in the JavaScript code. This is due to how error-intolerant the JavaScript parser is. The parser immediately stops processing the present script and displays a SyntaxError if it encounters a character in an unexpected location. Due to this, a single error or typo could render the script completely useless. The Google bot will view the page as empty and index it as a page without content if this scenario arises while the page is being indexed by Google.

Issues of Indexing SPAs

 SPA (single-page apps) are web applications that have a single page that loads only once. All other data is dynamically loaded as required. SPAs are quick, responsive, and give consumers a linear experience, in contrast to conventional multi-page programs.

Nevertheless, SPAs have a serious SEO constraint in spite of all these advantages for end users. Such web applications can provide content even after the page has loaded. The bot will see an empty page if it is crawling the page before the content has loaded. The site won’t have much of it indexed. As a consequence, your website will rank substantially lower in search results.

Best Practices for React SEO

Following are a few of the best React JS SEO optimization techniques we can utilize to improve the search engine optimization of our React JS applications: 

  • Utilizing isomorphic React JS apps
  • Prerendering

Utilizing Isomorphic React JS Apps

Isomorphic means corresponding or similar in form and relations. This indicates, in terms of React JS, that the server and client both have a comparable form. In other words, the same React JS components can be used on both the server and client.

As JavaScript loads and runs in the background, the server may display the React JS app using this isomorphic approach and deliver the rendered version to users and search engines so they can view the content immediately.

This strategy has gained popularity thanks to frameworks like Next.js and Gatsby. We should be aware that isomorphic components can have a very distinct appearance from regular React JS components. They may, for instance, use code that executes on the server rather than the client. They might even contain API secrets (although server code is stripped out before being sent to the client).

You have control over whether the client may run scripts by using isomorphic React JS apps.

If JavaScript is disabled, the server or browser will render all the code. As a result, all of the content and meta tags contained in the HTML and CSS files will be accessible to the browser or bots.

Only the first page is rendered to the server if JavaScript is enabled. The browser thus makes use of the HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files. JavaScript then begins to operate, enabling the rest of the material to be loaded dynamically. The user interactions are smoother as a result of the first-page loading quicker than in any generic JavaScript framework.

Server-side Rendering Technique: NextJS Features vs Gatsby Features

Next JSGatsby
Allows for full server-side rendering and Includes a lot of ready-to-use parts.Enables the transmission of data from any location.
Supports the creation of static pages at build time.The tool that is already performance-driven.
Facilitates Hot Module Replacement: Real-time monitoring of all modifications.Broad open-source system.
Capable of loading only JavaScript and CSS.Proper record keeping.

Prerendering

One popular method for making single- and multi-page web apps SEO-friendly is pre-rendering.

When search engines can’t properly render your pages, pre-rendering is used. Pre-renderers are specialized programs that intercept requests to your website and, if the request is from a bot, send a cached static HTML version of your website in these circumstances. The typical page loads if the request came from a user.

The following benefits come with using this method to optimize your website for search engines:

  • All kinds of modern JavaScript can be run by pre-rendering programs and converted into static HTML.
  • All the newest web innovations are supported by pre-renderers.
  • This strategy involves either very little or no changes to the codebase.
  • It’s effortless to put into practice.

Although, there are some disadvantages to this strategy as well:

  • Regarding pages that show frequently changing data, it is not appropriate.
  • If the website is big and has plenty of pages, pre-rendering may take too long.
  • Services for pre-rendering are not free.
  • Every time you alter the content of your pre-rendered page, you must rebuild it.

Conclusion

The difficulty of successfully fusing SEO and React JS has diminished over the past few years. Single-page applications, the kind of websites most frequently created using React JS, are still difficult to guarantee to be SEO-friendly. You may choose pre-rendering or server-side rendering to make an Application visible to Google bots and accessible for indexing. Both strategies need more time, money, and effort to ensure SEO friendliness, but if you intend for your website to appear highly in Google search results, you should absolutely use them. If you still want to explore all the aspects of React JS development, then contact us and get the best of the best experts to resolve all your queries.

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