Some behaviors are shared by more than 90% of internet users and search engines. For example, we search something on Google. It shows results (websites). We usually click on the first one. If that page doesn’t load or is displayed incompletely, we don’t wait too long and leave that site and go to the second link.

This behavior of ours is very important and decisive for search engines and site owners and SEO experts. In fact, it is very expensive for websites and SEO experts and it is their nightmare. Because users and search engines love speed. Before the user can see a page completely (all its content), the search engine must see and read it (Crawling and Indexing).

There are millions of pages on the web that search engines need to see and read. It should be noted that their number is increasing every moment. So search engines have a very, very hard job. Imagine that the speed of the site is low and does not have the necessary efficiency. It is clear that the search engine will not visit that site at all and will not waste its time to see it.

It is precisely for this reason that one of the branches of SEO (Technical SEO) is dedicated to optimizing the site for search engines to enter and to see and read the site’s pages. Technical SEO is more related to website design than SEO. That is, the site must have features to provide standard speed and performance for search engines and users. So the SEO expert must be aware of these features and their effects on the site’s SEO.

The subject of this article, which is related to technical SEO, is the introduction of one of these features: SSR (Server-Side Rendering). What is this feature (ssr)? What does it do on the site? What are the advantages and disadvantages of SSR and its impact on SEO? Should the SEO expert of any site recommend the owner of that site to use the SSR method?

SSR and its impact on site SEO

Before going into the definitions and details, allow us to answer two important questions so that the relationship between this topic and the SEO of the site is completely clear:

  • Does ssr (whatever it is) have an effect on site seo? Yes.
  • Is its effect positive or negative? It is generally positive.

All sites (static or dynamic) have a more or less common structure: with the HTML markup language, the main structure of the site and its pages are created. Pages and content are styled with CSS. Finally, pages become more interactive and dynamic with Javascript (front-end programming language). Of course, today there is another very popular option for creating front-end and user interface of websites: JavaScript frameworks.

However, when a user or search engine bot wants to view a page, all of this code must be executed (translated) and displayed. Users’ browsers do this. The faster and more complete these codes are processed and executed, the faster and more complete the page and its content will be seen by crawlers (bots) of search engines and the user. So the SEO expert must make sure that the processing and display of all the codes is done without any problems, this assurance is achieved with JavaScript (JS) SEO.

What is JavaScript SEO?

In fact, JavaScript SEO is the work that is done to ensure that the code is correctly translated and processed, indexed and ultimately ranked by the content of a page (which runs with JavaScript) in search engines.

There are two types of translation, processing and display of codes (Rendering): Server-side rendering and Client-side rendering. These two types each have their own advantages and disadvantages and effects. First, we define ssr (which is the older type) and then compare it with csr (which is a more modern method for rendering).

What is SSR or Server-Side Rendering?

Basically and usually, all site information is stored in the server database. When a page is requested from the site (user or search engine bot), first the server sends the html so that the browser can read and process it, and then the CSS and JS. Finally, the page will be displayed with all its content and style.

This process is the exact opposite of what happens in CSR. In CSR, all codes are processed in the browser and through JavaScript frameworks (such as Vue.js). It means that the site server does not do anything. All work is done by your and mine browsers without the need for codes.

SSR vs. CSR from the point of view of search engines and site SEO

So why is it important to read and process the site’s html file first? What does it have to do with SEO and search engines? Search engines have trouble indexing pages built with js frameworks. When the search engine wants to see and index the page created with the framework and processed by the browser, it actually sees nothing but a blank page! Because there is no code that bots can read. This means there is no SEO.

Of course, only Google has invented a way to solve this problem: Two-wave Indexing System. That is, Google bots come first and extract the site’s HTML & CSS codes. But it is not indexed. The site remains in the queue so that Google can also read the JavaScript of that site and then index it (second step). This second stage may take weeks. This means that your site will not appear in Google search results for weeks.

So this is where ssr becomes important and useful for SEO: search engines want to index the site code, that is, the same html file that is sent to the browser in the first ssr. Google indexes it and has nothing to do with JS. The user sees the page with all its content without any problems.

Benefits of SSR for SEO

The great advantage of this method for SEO of the site was determined. But this method has other advantages:

For search engines, ssr is the second most acceptable option for processing and displaying JS. The most important advantage is that the speed of indexing pages increases. The faster a search engine can see a page, the faster it can index all the pages on your site. This not only improves the indexing of your site, but also improves the user experience of your site.

Speed

With SSR, because Google has easy access to the html code, indexing is fast. On the other hand, this means that in a short time your site will appear in the search results and can be ranked.

UX

User experience is also important for site SEO and has become one of the standards of search engines. SSR takes less time to load the page and improves page performance and efficiency to some extent. This means that the user does not have to wait for the entire page to load.

Core Web Vitals (CWV)

A set of other criteria that must be followed in the SEO of the site. SSR is useful for promoting these metrics as well.

Optimization for Social Media

This method not only helps to optimize the site for search engines, but also optimizes the site for social networks. That is, if someone shares a link on Facebook, a preview of that page will be uploaded along with it.

Disadvantages of SSR in SEO

After all, if ssr was all useful and good, there would be no need to create another method called CSR. SSR is not suitable for all sites. What are the disadvantages of this type of rendering that does not make it the best choice for all sites?

  • Using this method is expensive and increases the cost of maintaining the server.
  • It is more difficult and complicated to implement and requires more time and energy from the website design team.
  • It is true that it was said that the page loads quickly and the user sees its content sooner; But there is a problem. If he wants to click on something or make a request, it doesn’t happen as fast and that’s where he has to wait (though he might not wait and leave the site). Because SSR increases the site’s response time.

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