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Analyzing Server-Side Rendering: Impact on SEO and Beyond

4 min read

This is known as server-side rendering, when your site’s content is rendered on the web server rather than the browser. Learn about the benefits and drawbacks of the server-side procedure.

For Google to retrieve your webpages, interpret the code, and comprehend the content and structure of your website, rendering is essential to its functionality.

This code is then rendered into an interactive webpage for users to interact with.

Selecting the most efficient rendering type is crucial when building a website because every webpage should be created with the end user in mind.

As every rendering method has advantages and disadvantages, we will discuss server-side rendering (SSR) in the first installment of our JavaScript series.

Please continue reading to learn what server-side is, how it operates, and its benefits and drawbacks.

 

How Server-Side Rendering (SSR) Enhances Web Performance and SEO

 

Server-side rendering (SSR) refers to generating a webpage’s content on the web server instead of in the user’s browser. In SSR, the server assembles an HTML file containing personalized data and transmits it to the user’s device.

Upon receiving this HTML file, the browser interprets the content, promptly presenting a fully formed webpage. This approach eliminates waiting for JavaScript or CSS files to load, delivering a seamless user experience. While SSR is often perceived as advantageous for SEO over client-side rendering, let’s delve into SSR’s mechanics to understand its workings better.

 

The Process of Server-Side Rendering

 

As mentioned earlier, server-side rendering expedites website content display by eliminating the necessity of downloading and executing application code.

But how does your HTML get rendered on the server when a user navigates?

  1. The user initiates a webpage request through their browser.
  2. The server generates rendered content in HTML and promptly transmits it to the user. Although the CSS is visible in the browser, the page remains inactive.
  3. Concurrently, the browser fetches the page’s JavaScript, readily available on the server.
  4. The user gains the ability to interact with various elements on the site.
  5. The browser executes the JavaScript (completing the Document Object Model or DOM rendering).
  6. The page achieves total loading capacity, enabling responses to the user’s journey interactions.

Several prevalent JavaScript frameworks, such as Angular and React, leverage server-side rendering for enhanced performance.

 

Advantages of Server-Side Rendering

 

Enhanced Speed of Loading

SSR selectively updates specific HTML sections, resulting in swift page transitions between pages and notably faster First Contentful Paint (FCP). This agility benefits users with slower internet connections or older devices, enabling immediate Interaction with your web content.

Remember, the less time users spend on loading screens, the more beneficial it is for your SEO.

Simplified Indexing

Search engines find indexing SSR sites simpler compared to client-side rendered sites. The content undergoes rendering before page loading, eliminating the need to execute JavaScript to read and index it.

Optimal for Static Websites

SSR is an ideal solution for static webpages due to its efficiency in pre-rendering static or unchanging pages on the server before delivering them to the client.

Enhanced User Metrics Accuracy

With SSR, promptly and precisely collecting metrics supports maintaining a well-optimized website. Unlike client-side rendering, SSR informs the server about user movements across pages. Assessing their navigation and content interactions facilitates continual enhancements to the user interface and experience.

Superior Social Media Optimization

SSR optimizes webpages for social media sharing. Sharing webpage content via social media platforms results in a polished preview featuring the page title, description, and image, enhancing the overall presentation of shared content.

 

Drawbacks of Server-Side Rendering

 

Increased Server Load for Larger Applications

Handling user and bot requests entirely burdens the server. Rendering more extensive, complex applications on the server side may elongate loading times due to the singular bottleneck.

Rising Costs

As SSR grows intricate and challenging to maintain and debug, it becomes more error-prone and costly. Employing your company’s server to install an SSR application escalates operational expenses.

Compatibility Challenges

SSR might encounter compatibility issues with specific third-party libraries and tools, particularly with JavaScript code integration.

Delayed Interaction Due to Slow Page Rendering

Although users can initially view the page, they must await the completion of JavaScript downloads before interacting with it.

Inefficient Caching Practices

Efficient caching significantly influences data retrieval performance, yet SSR generates different HTML for each page, posing challenges for caching on a content delivery network (CDN). Users loading a non-cached page on the CDN might experience prolonged page load times.

 

Frameworks for Server-Side Rendering

 

Efficiently delivering rendered content to the browser is a cornerstone for rapid frontend loading in SSR applications.

Numerous frameworks we’ve spotlighted support executing the same application in Node.js, crafting it into static HTML, and ultimately revitalizing it on the client end.

Here are some prominent frameworks extensively used to facilitate SSR in web development:

  1. Angular Universal: Facilitates rendering Angular applications on the server side.
  2. Ember.js: A JavaScript framework emphasizing scalable single-page applications.
  3. Gatsby.js: A React-based framework tailored for constructing static websites.
  4. Next.js: An open-source JavaScript framework built atop React that offers versatile functionalities.
  5. React: An open-source JavaScript framework and library renowned for constructing reusable UI components.
  6. Vue.js: A JavaScript framework widely adopted by developers to fashion interactive user interfaces.

 

Is Server-Side Rendering the Superior Choice?

 

SSR is highly efficient in enhancing SEO performance as it indexes web pages before browser loading.

SSR offers the advantage of monitoring engagement metrics for the organization behind the web application, empowering continual enhancements for end clients.

Ultimately, the comparison with client-side rendering or dynamic rendering falls to your discretion when selecting your web framework and architecture, considering the specific features you prioritize.

If navigating this seems complex, explore our monthly SEO packages and let our experts assist you.

Shilpi Mathur
[email protected]