The benefits of dynamic rendering for SEO

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A new article on Search Engine Land says that Google is getting better at crawling JavaScript, but there are still limitations.

JavaScript frameworks have been growing in popularity over the last few years, thanks in no small part to the flexibility they offer. "JavaScript frameworks allow for rapid development. It offers better user experience. It offers better performance and it offers enhanced functionality that traditional frameworks -- non-JavaScript ones -- sort of lack," said Nati Elimelech, tech SEO lead at Wix.

"So, it's no surprise that very large websites or complex UIs with complex logic and features usually tend to use JavaScript frameworks nowadays," he added. At SMX Next, Elimelech provided an overview of how JavaScript works for client-side, server-side and dynamic rendering, and shared insights for auditing gained from rendering JavaScript on over 200 million websites.

Client-side vs. Server-side rendering

Different rendering methods are suitable for different purposes. Elimelech advocated on behalf of dynamic rendering as a means to satisfy search engine bots and users alike, but first, it's necessary to understand how client-side and server-side rendering work.

Client-side rendering

When a user clicks on a link, their browser sends requests to the server that site is hosted on. "When we're talking about JavaScript frameworks, that server responds with something that's a bit different than what we're used to," Elimelech said. "It responds with a skeleton HTML -- just the basic HTML, but with a lot of JavaScript. Basically, what it does is tell my browser to run the JavaScript itself to get all the important HTML," he said, adding that the user's browser then produces the rendered HTML (the final HTML that is used to construct the page the way that we actually see it). This process is known as client-side rendering.

"It's very much like assembling your own furniture because basically the server tells the browser, 'Hey, these are all the pieces, these are the instructions, construct the page. I trust you.' And that means that all of the hard lifting is moved to the browser instead of the server," Elimelech said. Client-side rendering can be great for users, but there are cases in which a client doesn't execute JavaScript, which means it won't get the full content of your page. One such example may be search engine crawlers; although Googlebot can now see more of your content than ever before, there are still limitations.

Server-side rendering

For clients that don't execute JavaScript, server-side rendering can be used. "Server-side rendering is when all of that JavaScript is executed on the server-side. All of the resources are required on the server-side and your browser and the search engine bot do not need to execute JavaScript to get the fully rendered HTML," Elimelech explained. This means that server-side rendering can be faster and less resource-intensive for browsers.

"Server-side rendering is like providing your guests with an actual chair they can sit it on instead of having to assemble it," he said, continuing his previous analogy. "And, when you do server-side rendering, you basically make your HTML visible to all kinds of bots, all kinds of clients . . . It doesn't matter what the JavaScript capabilities are, it can see the final important rendered HTML," he added.
#benefits #dynamic #rendering #seo
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  • Profile picture of the author JolantaAgata
    Do they really not get full content of your page?
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11705179].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author WF- Enzo
      "Client-side rendering can be great for users, but there are cases in which a client doesn't execute JavaScript, which means it won't get the full content of your page."

      Originally Posted by JolantaAgata View Post

      Do they really not get full content of your page?
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11705234].message }}
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