Dynamic Rendering: What Is It And How It Impacts Your Website's SEO

Brandon LazovicApril 23, 2021

The role of dynamic rendering in search engine optimization is an often overlooked factor that can have a significant impact on the search engine visibility for your websites.

In this article we will discuss what dynamic rendering is, how it impacts your website's organic search visibility on Google, and some tips to make sure you're using it correctly!

What Is Dynamic Rendering?

Dynamic rendering is a technique that involves dynamically generating the HTML and CSS code based on user interaction with the website, rather than pre-rendering everything beforehand.

The benefits of dynamic rendering include faster page loading times and increased scalability.

Who Is Dynamic Rendering For?

Dynamic rendering is great for websites that are large and have crawlability issues. This type of rendering is much less resource intensive and cheaper to run than rendering server-side.

Here are a few questions you should ask yourself if  you're considering if dynamic rendering is right for you:

  • Do you have a large website with many pages that need to be crawled?
  • Is the server load on the page too heavy or are there other technical issues related to rendering dynamically?
  • Does your content frequently change, like e-commerce site inventory?
  • Do you have limited budget for implementation of server-side rendering, or is your engineering team limited in bandwidth?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then it may benefit from dynamic rendering. Dynamic rendering is also great for those who want their websites ready as quickly as possible because they can get up and running in no time at all.

What Does Dynamic Rendering Require?

Dynamic rendering is a feature that allows your web server to detect crawlers, so requests from crawlers are routed to a renderer. For example, with Googlebot’s user agent as an identifier, requests from this spider will be fed to the dynamic rendering engine and all other requests will be propagated over HTTP.

Why Does Google Recommend Dynamic Rendering?

Google recommends dynamic rendering because it improves the experience for both crawlers and search engine users. This is especially useful when you have a limited engineering bandwidth, or are looking to create your website as quickly possible.

Normally search engines have difficulty rendering and indexing javascript content. They rely on static HTML content, so when it encounters Javascript-heavy pages, it may push off rendering in batches or elements, causing key parts of the page to be missed or rendered incorrectly. 

It's important that web developers know about dynamic rendering so they can make the best decision based on their needs and constraints. 

The main benefit of using this feature comes in the form of improved SEO visibility, especially with Googlebot spiders. With static websites, all requests from these spiders go through an indexing pipeline before being served by Apache servers which will delay serving time for other crawler requests such as Bingbot or YandexBot (based on user agent). 

Dynamic sites allow only those specific spider’s requests to be served, so they're provided a fully rendered version of your web page to crawl and properly index without eating up a lot of resources in the crawl budget. 

What Is Rendering In SEO? 

Rendering is a process where Google takes your webpages, runs the page code, and assesses your content to rank its quality. This information is used when people search on Google to determine which sites are the most relevant for their query.

How Does Dynamic Rendering Impact SEO?

How does dynamic rendering impact SEO? Dynamic web pages are rendered on the server side, so all Googlebot spider's requests go through this pipeline before being served by Apache servers. This approach delays serving time for crawler requests such as BingBot and YandexBot (based on user agent). When a static website is crawled, it sends a request to the indexing pipeline which loads files from disk and prepares them for crawling.

Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (AJAX) isn't supported in those pipelines because of browsers limitations that doesn’t allow low-latency asynchronous page updates over long distances but when using dynamic rendering these restrictions do not apply. With dynamic rendering enabled your site will only serve crawlable versions of your pages quickly, so you're ensuring that Google isn't encountering rendering issues with certain elements of your web page and getting a full picture of the content / features on your web page.

This helps promote both crawlability (serving Google easier resources to crawl, thus preserving crawl budget and encouraging its search spiders to crawl and index more of your site pages) and indexation of your web pages so they can rank effectively on Google.

How Does Google Crawl Dynamic Content?

When Google crawls your website, it drills down into the content of each page to get a comprehensive understanding. Dynamic rendering helps you deliver an important part of that dynamic experience without sacrificing SEO and with barely any extra development work.

Is JavaScript Bad For SEO?

JavaScript complicates the search engines' ability to read your page, potentially straying them from finding quality content. When a search engine downloads a web document and starts analyzing it, the first thing they do is determine what type it is.

They then use their structured data and knowledge about the document's content to figure out how it should be indexed.

When you have a lot of JavaScript in your page, search engines will often assume that the whole site is dynamic (e.g., chat) or client-side rendered (e.g., single-page app). In these cases, they may not index any of your web pages because they don't know what type of website this is supposed to be--or if there are even any more web pages at all!

Therefore, while most SEO experts still recommend against using too much JavaScript on every page for fear of getting penalized by Google, adding some strategically placed code can actually help increase your organic visibility, ranging from pre-rendering pages to serve search crawlers static assets while providing users with dynamic rendering when they land and interact on your web pages.

How Does Dynamic Rendering Help With Indexing JavaScript? 

In order for search engines to be able to see content loaded by JavaScript in the browser, they have to render it. They do this because rendering pages at scale requires a lot of time and computational power, so the bots defer rendering until they are free of these tasks.

The rendered data is not always consistent with what you see in your personal view on your screen, but there is a reason for that – something we refer to as 'render budget.'

Render budget is similar to crawl budget in that details of your page might be missed by search engines, like if you have frequently changing inventory on your site, or are publishing a bunch of articles daily.

Dynamic Rendering Vs. Server Side Rendering

You may be wondering what the difference  is between dynamic rendering vs. server side rendering.  Dynamic rendering is a largely client-side technology that relies on the browser to do all of the computation, and server side rendering is one where your web pages are rendered by servers before being delivered to users in their browsers.

These two approaches have different advantages--for example, dynamic rendering can be used to pre-render entire sections of pages for search crawlers so they don't waste time parsing through large amounts of JavaScript code; however, if you use this approach, then it's not possible for visitors coming from certain parts of the world with slower internet connections or low end devices (which lack support for HTML) to interactively experience what those high res images might look like.

For these reasons and more, most SEO experts recommend server side rendering, but the main downside is the cost. It can be incredibly expensive to implement server side rendering on a website, as well as time intensive to ensure it's running smoothly, so if you aren't a large business with millions of dollars or manpower to dedicate to implementation of server side rendering for your site pages, then your next best solution is dynamic rendering.

Is  Dynamic Rendering Considered Cloaking? 

In short, no, Google doesn’t consider dynamic rendering to be cloaking. As long as you’re serving Google similar data about a page that helps them to crawl and index it more quickly, they don’t deem it to be a blackhat cloaking tactic, and it won’t get you penalized.

What Is Dynamic Rendering And How It Impacts SEO
What Is Dynamic Rendering And How It Impacts SEO

Dynamic rendering is a technique that dynamically changes the cached version of the page in response to user interaction. This means that when you click on a link, rather than returning an entirely new page, your browser will request some additional data from the server and render the page in real-time with those updates.

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