React JS SEO Guide – Getting Started With React Server-Side Rendering

Today, we see the different issues faced by websites running on React JS and consider the solutions that help deal with the problems for better SEO and website visibility.

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Read time: 15 minutes, , SEO & CONTENT MARKETING

According to reports, approximately 92 percent of the web traffic comes from the first page of the search engine results while about 75 percent of traffic goes to the first five websites on the result. These figures show us how important SEO is for any business. Today, search engines depend on crawling the content on the websites. As the process is automated, it is essential that the website content is structured and organized in such a way that the search engines understand it. SEO is quite simple and straightforward but not for websites built using React JS. Single Page Applications or SPA, though known to enhance website performance and user experience, poses certain issues when it comes to SEO.

Today, we see the different issues faced by websites running on React JS and consider the solutions that help deal with the problems for better SEO and website visibility. 


ReactJS SEO Guide - How To Make React SEO Friendly? 

 
How To Make React SEO Friendly - React JS SEO

ReactJS framework is gaining increasing popularity due to its ability to create faster loading, high-performance websites. However, there are some concerns search engines face while loading the ReactJS-based websites, resulting in a lower search visibility of the business.

Lack of Dynamic SEO Tags

A Single Page Application is designed to load the data dynamically within segments of a web page. When a search engine crawler tries to access a specific link, it does not detect the entire page load cycle. Moreover, the metadata of the web page for search engine ranking does not get refreshed. This results in the web page's invisibility for the search engine crawler which indexes it as an empty page. This is not at all desirable for SEO and traffic.

This problem can be solved by generating separate pages for bots and finding out solution to get the content indexed. This would, however, increase the expenditure on business due to the cost of creating additional pages, making it difficult to get the website ranked higher on search engines. 

Search Engines May Not Run the Javascript 

​ A Single Page Application depends on Javascript for dynamic loading of its contents within different segments of a webpage. It is a common drawback of a search engine crawler to avoid execution of Javascript. A search engine fetches the content available directly without allowing Javascript to load. The bot indexes the website according to the content fetched. Though Google has made an announcement declaring that their crawlers would load JS and CSS as long as they are accessible, it is not always practical. Google crawlers are smarter today than ever before and do run Javascript but other crawlers like Bing, Baidu and Yahoo may still consider JS based sites as empty.

Solutions for ReactJS SEO

 
React SEO and Search engines

  Basically, there are two main methods to resolve the problems faced by ReactJS based websites in terms of SEO.

React Server-Side Rendering

 The perfect solution to create an SEO-friendly website using ReactJS is the use of server-side rendering. Whenever a website is opened, all the operations are executed on the server side and an HTML containing all the required information is sent to the browser. Once the Javascript is loaded, the website converts into a single page app and works accordingly. Server-Side Rendering ensures that a website is crawled for the content even by crawlers that don't execute JS. This helps provide metadata and better SEO.

To implement server-side rendering for ReactJS website,

  • Use 'react helmet' – a document head manager for React and other support document meta, link, title, script, link, noscript, base tags, etc.
  • Consider the webpage like an article with headings using h1, h2, h3 tags
  • Use helmet to give a suitable title to the page
  • Describe the pageOpen Graph Protocol for meta description using helmet

Isomorphic React 

  A website created using Isomorphic Javascript React technology can detect automatically whether JavaScript is disabled on the client side. If it is found to be disabled, the JavaScript runs on the server-side and delivers the final content to the client. Thus, all the required content and attributes are available upon the page load. When JavaScript is detected to be enabled, it runs as a dynamic application having multiple components. This results in a faster loading time than usual, a better compatibility with older browsers and various crawlers and a smoother user experience.

Additional Tools to Improve React Website SEO

 
React Server Side Rendering for search engines

  As ReactJS is not optimized for search engines, a set of products and tools can come handy at creating SEO-friendly React websites.

React Helmet

  One of the most important components for SEO of Single Page Application, React Helmet helps manage the metadata of the web document being served through React components. Helmet is executable on both client-side and server-side as it is a library on the top of React. The main benefit of using React Helmet is easy integration without any major alteration in the source code of the web page.

React Router V4

  This component is used to create routes between different pages or components of a React website. This enables building a website having an SEO-friendly URL structure. It is a standard routing library for React. It makes it easy to navigate through a React application with multiple views. It works as a router to manage the URLs and keeps the URL and application UI in sync.

Prerender.io

It is a service that allows a ReactJS website to be crawled perfectly by search engines. When search engines or social media try to crawl the pages of a ReactJS website, they see Javascript tags. This service renders the javascript in a browser and saves the static HTML to return it to the crawlers. Prerender.io ensures that the javascript is executed and thus increases the visibility of the webpage.  

Browserify

This Javascript tool allows writing browser-side JavaScript in the node.js style using the require function. It is one of the most effective tools designed for bundling JS for a browser.

Websites developed using React JS use component-based rendering to deliver amazing loading times and easier code management. React based applications need additional effort for SEO but a set of perfect tools and strategies can help business owners and web developers turn to Single Page Applications for excellent load times and user experience. We hope this React JS SEO Guide helps you use the framework without any limitations or problems. 

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Saturday, 22 September 2018

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