SEO In React. Top Strategies And Practices

SEO In React. Top Strategies And Practices

An introduction to search engine optimization in React and some common methods used to make apps more SEO-friendly

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What is Search Engine Optimization?

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is an integral part of creating an effective app as it is the process of improving certain elements of the site in order to help the search engine recognise it better and to generate more traffic. SEO is an important marketing tool as it helps users to organically discover the website through a hyper-targeted customer centric approach which in turn results in an increased return in investment. It can also be said that SEO is a durable and long term marketing strategy, which when implemented in the right manner can play a huge role in optimizing and improving the user’s experience.

SEO and React

React is an open source library which has been developed and maintained by Facebook for building interactive UI components for both mobile apps and Single Page Applications (SPA). It runs on JavaScript and is popularly used by developers as it boosts productivity during the development process while also facilitating in the building of applications that are efficient, scalable and organized. In 2015, Google had made an announcement that their search engine had the ability to crawl and index websites based on dynamically generated content on JavaScript website but as time passed it came to light that this strategy was not as flawless as planned which is when the importance of implementing SEO strategies in React applications came into picture.

To understand how to make a React application SEO friendly, let’s first get down to understanding the difference between Client Side Rendering and Server Side Rendering. The main difference between both these rendering techniques is that in CSR, the entire code needs to be rendered on the client’s side every time the app is loaded whereas SSR automates this process on the server side.

In this article, let’s talk about some popular strategies that are being used to make React sites more responsive and SEO friendly:

Server Side Rendering (SSR)

Server side rendering of React applications is a method where the HTML version of the app is presented to the user instead of the JavaScript version in order to enable websites to crawl and index it in a better way. In this technique, the application is loaded on the server’s side instead of the client resulting in a fully rendered HTML.

There are multiple search engines in existence with most facing issues when it comes to indexing JS; SSR not only makes the app more responsive to organic searches but also results in an application with a significantly lesser load time as HTML takes much less time to load as compared to JavaScript.

This method of rendering is also very beneficial as the faster load time brings in significantly more traffic from search engines but it also makes the app lighter as it is transformed from the code-intensive JavaScript, hence improving the user’s experience and boosting the metrics. Another additional benefit of implementing Server Side Rendering on React applications is that not just optimises the page for search engines but also for social media which helps to bring in more traffic when it is shared.

Isomorphic React Applications

Now that we have spoken about both client and server side rendering, let us come down to the topic of creating Isomorphic Applications on React as an effective SEO strategy.

Simply put, Isomorphic applications in web development are referred to those apps which can be rendered both on the server side as well as the client side. While in most real life scenarios, creation of isomorphic apps can be a lengthy and tedious process, there are some excellent frameworks available for React such as Next.js using which a React application can be made crawlable by creating sitemaps and adding metadata which in turn will return an HTML.

Advantages of Isomorphic React Applications:

  • Isomorphic applications take much less time to load which is an added benefit resulting from the direct workings of the rendering process wherein the first request is fulfilled on the server side but the rest are attended to on the client side making the process much more efficient.
  • Moreover, isomorphic applications also come with the added advantage of simplifying the code which results in a faster loading time which improves the experience that user has with interacting with the React app.

Conclusion

A higher SEO score can help a business to attract more potential customers by improving the app’s ranking on search engines which plays a huge role in gaining the customers trust. Implementing the right SEO strategies and practices for your React application can go a long way in ensuring its success by helping you improve your brand’s visibility on online platforms which in turn can help you to attract more traffic and drive more conversions. Similarly, an application’s performance depends largely on the kind of experience that it offers to its users because of which it becomes critical to evaluate and implement an effective search engine optimization strategy which will help to make the app truly seamless.

 
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