Dynamic rendering is the process of serving content based on the user agent that calls it. This means serving a client-side rendered version of your site for human users and a separate, server-side version for search engines.
"Dynamic rendering is one of the most important technical SEO initiatives that Google has rolled out in the last decade."Geoff Atkinson, Founder-CEO of Huckabuy
When deciding whether it makes to implement dynamic rendering for your website, it can be helpful to ask the following questions:
If you can answer “yes” to any of the questions, consider using dynamic rendering for your website.
Implementing dynamic rendering on your own is difficult, time-consuming, and resource-intensive. A competent and experienced team of developers is required to set up a system that checks the identity of every agent visiting the website and determines which type of content to serve. It is a cumbersome process. Fortunately, Huckabuy has a software service, the Huckabuy Cloud, that takes care of this entire process for your business. After a brief period of working with your developer team, the implementation process is complete. Furthermore, our service preserves your preferred development operations. In fact, you can use the latest technologies like Angular and React without worrying about negative SEO impacts.
Think about cloaking like a classic “bait and switch.” A website might serve a page to the Search Bot about cats, but the user sees content that is fundamentally different – for example, content about dogs instead. Google takes issue with these types of cases and penalizes them accordingly. But dynamic rendering is not cloaking. It is about giving Google similar data about a page in a format that they can crawl and index quickly, easily, and cheaply as they desire.They acknowledge and support this methodology in their documentation here.
"Googlebot generally doesn’t consider dynamic rendering as cloaking. As long as your dynamic rendering produces similar content, Googlebot won’t view dynamic rendering as cloaking."Google Documentation on Dynamic Rendering
It’s a pretty simple concept. Pages load dynamically based on what calls them. For example, if you go to a URL on your mobile phone, you’ll get one experience and if you go to the same URL on your desktop, you’ll get a slightly different experience. A site will be dynamically rendered to best fit the user experience for whatever device they’re using — mobile, tablet, desktop, and anything in-between.
Google made a huge change when they announced that you could provide an optimized version of your website, just for them. So why did they do that?
"Unsurprisingly, if you give Google what they want, they’ll send you a lot of traffic."Huckabuy Founder-CEO Geoff Atkinson
Geoff Atkinson recently appeared on the Search Engine Journal Show to talk about the importance of dynamic rendering and how it can be incorporated into a 2020 SEO strategy.You can find the rest of the episode show notes here. Here are some highlights of what he had to say:
So, you can strip that stuff out in a dynamically rendered version. So for our Huckabuy Cloud, for example, if we were to take a customer that’s on our product and look at their actual page, in the Huckabuy Cloud, or that dynamically rendered version of the page, it almost looks identical, but it’s like 20-40%, as the size of the previous page — it’s wider, it’s faster. It’s flat HTML, it looks very similar, but you are going to see some of the dynamic stuff getting pulled out. So, chat boxes and things like that.
The dynamically rendered version is really a simplified version that’s queued up for them so that when they come and crawl with their HTML crawler, they can literally download the entire site really quickly and don’t have to kick however many pages you have indexed over into this rendering queue — which takes processing time and a lot of money on their end. That’s why [Google’s] a fan of it.”
Dynamic rendering means that your site will render differently depending on what calls it; users see the normal client-side version of the site while search engine bots see a version designed specifically for them. It’s one of the biggest changes Google has made in the past decade.
Yes! Not only does Google approve of dynamic rendering, they strongly recommend it and even coined the term.
You can dynamically render your website through our Huckabuy Cloud software service. We convert your complex site into flat HTML, add world-class structured data to each page, and host your pre-rendered site in a caching layer to give Google the optimal crawling experience.
It is possible, but it will cost more and quality will likely suffer. This is the type of service that is better to outsource than to train for and risk being done at a lower quality. First, you have to have at least one capable developer that can alter your tech stack and wire together some form of rendering service. So, time and maintenance are going to cost you some amount. Second, if you do it wrong or Google changes things and your development team is slow to make an adjustment, your website suffers the consequences. On your own, you are completely in charge of how the most important visitor, the Google Search Bot, engages with your website. If you decide to dedicate one or two engineers from your development team to this process, it is imperative they are experts.
No! It has no effect on users.
Yes. Only your publicly indexable content is exposed to search engine bots. Dynamic rendering also doesn’t interact with cookies or authenticated URLs.
Dynamic rendering is a technical issue, and a lot of SEO organizations aren’t focused on technical SEO initiatives or don’t have developers working on their teams.