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React SEO: Best Practices To Make Your Web App SEO-Friendly

There is no doubt about the applicability of ReactJS. Techpreneurs rely on ReactJS to develop web apps. Unfortunately, it also invites some hindrance in making your web app SEO-friendly. And without SEO, you cannot even think of making it a successful venture. In this article, we are going to discuss challenges and React best practices to make it rank on Google.

What Is React?

React is a front-end JavaScript library for creating user interfaces. It is used to create reusable, performant, and composable components. React provides you with an easy way to build reusable components that can be reused in different projects or projects that require different UI elements from one another. It allows developers to write applications with both dynamic and static content.

We can use React to build: Multi-page apps with one or more views, including layouts, components, and page transitions. UI elements can be reused in multiple applications (e.g., menu items from one application can be used on another application).

What Are SPAs, And Why Is ReactJS The Best Option To Build SPAs?

Single-page applications are the most popular web application nowadays that don’t need to reload pages when in use. They are created using HTML and get updated dynamically. The advantage of using SPA is that users can take advantage of the natural environment without waiting for a page to reload.

For instance, it may be a store for buying and selling products or a chat room where you can create new topics, join existing topics and respond to them. Since single-page applications are based on HTML, CSS, and ReactJS coding, and they have very simple syntax.

Apps such as Facebook, Google Maps, Twitter, Gmail, Google Drive, and GitHub are examples of single-page applications.

React is the first choice of developers when it comes to the development of SPAs due to the following features of React:

  • Easy to reuse code
  • Component-based architecture
  • Large components can be divided into smaller ones
  • Easy to maintain large SPAs with React
  • Delivers high-performance
  • Supported by modern browsers

SEO In SPAs

React-based single-page applications (SPAs) offer the flexibility and smarts of a web application without the development costs. However, they require an additional set of development tools such as Redux and gulp.

SPAs are becoming popular among some of the largest tech companies globally, such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter.

SPAs developed with ReactJS are responsive, fast, and animation can be provided, making a rich user experience.

Now let’s see how Google processes your application for SEO:

Crawling – The server receives GET requests from Googlebot for the URL in the queue.
Processing – Processes URL within “a href” within the HTML

Rendering – Google Bots runs javascript code with a headless Chromium browser to know if there is any additional content within the DOM

Indexing – Caffeine gets information from Googlebot, processes all the information, precomputes ranking signals, and gets ready to index in search results.

Website Performance Metrics

Website performance is a very important aspect for any developer. There are different metrics to measure website performance, which are as follows:

Bounce rate: It is a measure of how many people come to your site and leave it within a certain time period. Users bounce when they are unsatisfied with the content or functionality of your site. If users bounce from your app/website too often, then consider making changes to it.

The bounce rate is calculated in Google Analytics or by using other tools available in the market like Webmaster Tools, WordStream, SimilarWeb, etc.

TTFB: It is a metric that measures the amount of time it takes for a website to load the first bit of content. A website with a low time to the first byte will be able to load pages faster, which will lead to higher conversion rates.

The concept of Time to First Byte (TFB) is a metric used to measure the speed of a website. It is based on the idea that if a website loads faster than its competitors, it will eventually become more popular with its users, meaning that more people will visit the page and convert it into customers. This leads to higher conversion rates and revenue from customers.

This metric is measured in seconds.

Time To Interact: It is the measure of time it takes for a visitor to interact with a website. The time to interact is measured in seconds. The lower the number, the faster the user can interact with your site. This metric is measured in seconds.

Bundle Size: The total number of bytes downloaded and code executed before the page becomes fully functional and visible.

Largest Contentful Paint: It is the time required to make the page visible. According to Google, LCP should be less than 2.5 seconds.

Challenges Encountered While Optimising SPAs For Search Engine

Though React is one of the most advanced libraries for developing SPAs, it is still not search engine-friendly. Let’s understand why it is difficult for React developers to develop SEO-friendly applications.

No Facility of Dynamic SEO Tags

SPAs load information on pages dynamically. Hence, when crawlers fetch a particular link, the page load cycle causes difficulty. The Metadata remains as it is and ends up indexing an empty page.

This is not good for ranking; now, you might be thinking why a developer cannot create separate pages for crawlers, but again, the problem is additional IT infrastructure is required.

Only One URL For All Pages

This is one of the major limitations of SPAs. It won’t be a problem if there is one URL for a single-page website. But here, the story is quite different. The application loads dynamically, and there is only one URL attached to it, which poses a challenge to index and rank an app.

Strategies To Make SPAs SEO-Friendly

Following are the approaches that you should adopt to make your React app SEO-friendly :

Isomorphic React apps

To simply put it across, Isomorphic is a JavaScript app (React app) that runs on the client-side as well as server-side.

All credit goes to isomorphic JavaScript; it can run the React app and fetch the rendered HTML, which is normally rendered in the browser.

This HTML can be shared with Google Bots.

Pre-Rendering

This approach is used when Google Bots fail or are ineffective in rendering web pages. It is a unique approach because the pre-render sends a cached static HTML version of your site if a request comes from a crawling bot. When requested by the browser, the page gets loaded normally.

Over To You

So this was all about optimising your React app for search engines. Now you must be knowing what challenges SPAs can throw and how to overcome them. We hope you would make a stunning SPA and apply our React best practices for React development. If you plan to develop a React app, consider us for offshore development.

EnProwess is a global offshore development company. It is on a mission to help start-ups, SMEs, and budding techpreneurs with their development requirements against affordable prices. For more information, contact us on our website.

Chirayu Joshi

Chirayu Joshi is the CEO of EnProwess - an emerging custom software development company that offers mobile development, web app development, dedicated developers, and software testing service at a competitive price. His bold leadership and foresight have taken the company to great heights. He loves to read and share his insights on the tech industry.

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