React SEO Best Practices: Tips & Techniques
Learn about why developers should familiarize themselves with SEO best practices.
How does Google Search Engine work for Rankings?
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How many times have we heard about the importance of SEO aka Search Engine Optimization? Many times, perhaps. Remember that fad skirmish coming from across the hallway. That’s right. That’s the battlefront occupied by writers and SEO experts. Even though they strive hard to achieve one common goal, the lethal encounter is still inevitable.
If you think the battle is only limited to writers and SEO experts, then my friend, you better walk out that door before it gets ugly. Because SEO knowledge is as important for web developers as it is for others.
Why Should Developers Familiarize Themselves with SEO?
For one, SEO is a significant part of digital marketing and goes hand in hand with your web app’s success, and second, developers are responsible for the technical aspect of it – making sure the website is optimized and ready to entice Google with quirky meta titles and tags. But it’s not easy to lure Google with just your charms – it takes a little bit more than that.
Therefore developers are supposed to work in close collaboration with SEO experts to make the website SEO worthy. Sure you can spend all kinds of money, but at the end of the day, nothing can beat organic search and traffic to maximize your profitability.
What is React SEO?
Moreover, websites powered by React are gaining a lot of popularity. Why? Because on the plus side, they are known to develop fast, robust, and reliable web apps. Some of the most popular global giants like Facebook, Twitter et al leverage React technology to build world-class engaging applications.
Plus this framework is best for building single-page web apps. Now on the downside, they are very challenging to work with when it comes to SEO. Are you thinking what I am thinking? Why can’t we just simply ignore SEO? Only a fool would do that, trust me. Even though React can be quite problematic – in order to improve the search engine rankings of your online businesses; you need it to work.
Sooner or later, it all comes down to choosing the best framework but along with that – a website that can be easily optimized for Google search engine. In this blog I will share some of the most important React SEO best practices, so hang tight.
How does Google Search Engine work for Rankings?
- Googlebot keeps a repository of all the URLs that it needs to crawl and index (where google tries to understand the content of the page and after which the bot makes it discoverable on the search engine)
- Considering the amount of content that is floated on google every day – the crawler finds a new piece of content, picks up on the URL, visits the entire content and visual layout to decide where it is grandee enough to appear on the search results.
- Now, Google gives you the liberty to choose the pages that you want to be crawled indexed. All you have to do is list them in the robots.txt file.
- So, if the URL is not allowed to be crawled the google bot does not make an HTTP request instead it skips the URL altogether and moves to the next.
- After precisely and comprehensively analyzing the web page, Googlebot queues all pages for indexing and rendering by a system called caffeine, unless a robot’s meta tag or header tells Googlebot not to index the page.
- Just remember that the entire indexing process is automated therefore it is of utmost importance to thoroughly structure and format all your content.
The process does sound as easy as pie. But React would disagree.
React SEO Optimization Issues
There are a lot of concerns surrounding SEO friendliness when it comes to the React framework. Let’s go through them one by one and later in the blog post, you can find some doable solutions to get your own way.
A long and complex process
React affects the page load time
Error in code causes indexing issues
Single-page websites are challenging to index
SPAs are becoming quite popular nowadays because they are very easy to manage. Some of the most popular benefits of developing SPAs are: the web page does not need to be reloaded to render the information, which makes it faster and less time-consuming.
Additionally, it has cross-platform adaptability. You can easily check development issues and perform debugging. Last but not least, deployment and post-development maintenance and updates are super easy and quick. Now you would think that single-page websites are free of faults and other concerns accompanied by web development. This is true to some extent but are they good for SEO too? Not so much. They do have certain limitations when it comes to search engine optimization.
Google relies on unique meta tags and individual URLs to index pages but since SPAs are developed without unique and search engine-friendly URLs, it becomes cumbersome for Google to crawl and index pages.
No inbuilt modus-operandi to develop sitemaps
A sitemap contains all the collective and structured information of all your web pages including images, videos, and other related files. Traditionally Googlebot makes use of sitemap to easily crawl through the website. But surprisingly, React lacks inbuilt tools to develop a sitemap which can cause problems for the Googlebot. You can generate sitemap.xml by React Router configuration but it requires additional tools and efforts.
How to Resolve React SEO Issues?
But all hope is not lost – if you consider React SEO best practices mentioned below, you are in for a treat no matter if its a static website or dynamic:
One of the most popular React SEO best practices is SSR. Server-side rendering is one of the techniques that makes SEO for single web page websites far less intimidating. To understand SSR better, first, you need to know about client-side rendering.
Whereas server-side rendering is when a website is rendered on the server instead of the browser. Then the fully rendered page is sent to search engine bots to crawl, fetch, and index. Google bot does not need to wait for the resources to become accessible when they can get their hand on an already rendered page from the start. Gatsby.js and Next.js frameworks to build upon React for easier Server-Side Rendering.
If you have a similar SPA structure or architecture, you would agree that when we first enter the page, it needs to be downloaded along with all its assets. Talking about SPAs, it takes a moment to load. While the assets/ content is loading the page is in unrendered form. This is primarily known as a “flash of unstyled content” (FOUC).
The main job of isomorphic apps is to stamp on FOUC without messing with the server API. In short, It enables content rendering even after the page loads on the client-side for optimal customer experience.
The Bottom Line – React SEO Best Practices
Okay, the bottom line is that I am exhausted trying to make you understand that yes React may have some challenges when it comes to SEO but with the right strategy, React SEO best practices, resources, and tools – you can most precisely tempt google for a nice rank on its search engine.