React JS SEO Guide – Getting Started With React Server Side Rendering


Websites in the past worked in a way in which the browser would request each web page individually compelling the server to create HTML pages and send them back. In this way, every new request to the server resulted in endless page reloads. Overtime, Single Page Applications (SPA) started emerging with a purpose of delivering user experience resembling desktop applications.

These SPAs use dynamic loading of pages without the need of a server roundtrip. The result is faster load times and better user experience. However, the problem with SPA is something that’s common to all sites using Javascript to create the pages. Search engines do not handle Javascript efficiently and this makes the pages uncrawlable and rendered as blank.

Today, we discuss the problems faced by React JS websites and the possible solutions to rank the sites higher on search engines.

ReactJS SEO Guide – How to Make React SEO-Friendly?

To address the rising demand for faster loading times, developers came up with ReactJS-based Single Page Applications which improve the website performance to a great extent as they do not reload the entire content; they refresh only the content that differs from the current page. Though SPAs improve the user experience and website performance drastically, there are some inherent issues with ReactJS when it comes to SEO.

Search Engines May or May Not Run Javascript

Search engines deal with an old SEO problem that occurs when the web page is created using Javascript. Data depending on ajax calls and Javascript execution is historically inaccessible by search engines. Though there are some methods to deal with this problem, you cannot rely on the search bot or crawler as it can avoid executing Javascript at all. A crawler can fetch the website content directly without running Javascript and would index the website on the basis of the available content. Google’s announcement of 2015 about indexing the JS and CSS based websites cannot guarantee that all the ReactJS websites would be crawled by all the search engines. There are crawlers like Bing, Baidu and Yahoo which consider Javascript pages as blank. To solve this problem, one should render the content of the page on server-side so that the search bots always have something to read.

Lack of Dynamic SEO Tags

Due to the dynamic loading of the page in chunks in case of an SPA, a search engine crawler cannot identify the entire page load cycle when it tries to access a specific link. The page metadata meant for the search engine also does not get reloaded. This results in a complete invisibility of the single page application for the crawler and it indexes it as an empty page.

This would certainly affect the website’s SEO and ranking negatively. One solution to this problem is the creation of individual pages to serve the search engine crawlers. Finding some way to get the content of the page indexed correctly can help. This would result in increased expenditure due to the cost of additional page development, making it highly expensive and difficult to rank the website higher on the search engines.

Solutions for SEO of React Sites

React Server Side Rendering

The most effective way to create an SEO-friendly ReactJS website is to use server-side rendering. Server-side rendering will always make sure that there is some plain HTML that search bots can easily read. Whenever the ReactJS site is opened, the operations are executed on the server and an HTML containing all the information is sent to the browser similar to the static websites which search engine crawlers can readily index. Once the Javascript is executed, it starts running as a single page application.

Server-side rendering can be implemented with the use of ReactDOM.renderToString in place of ReactDOM.render. One can use React Helmet to render elements like meta tags.

Isomorphic React

A ReactJS website created using Isomorphic technology is able to detect automatically whether Javascript is deactivated on the client side. In such a case, the Isomorphic Javascript would execute on the server-side delivering the final content to the client. As a result, the necessary content and attributes are readily available upon the page load. And if it detects that Javascript is enabled, it runs the website as a dynamic single page application. This results in quicker loading times, better user experience, SPA functionality and compatibility with a wide variety of browsers and crawlers.

Tools to Improve React Websites SEO

A set of tools can help a dynamic ReactJS website get crawled perfectly by search engines.

Prerender is an open source tool that works with crawlers to make sure that the page is rendered when the crawler tries to access it. Such a process makes sure that the cache is always complete and pages are returned quickly. Prerender follows the Google-compatible crawling specification to ensure that the website is crawled in the right manner by Google and other search engines.


It is a tool that downloads all the web pages automatically and renders them in a browser. This ensures that all the Javascript is executed and Ajax calls are made. Brombone then saves the HTML corresponding to them. Google is able to index the page properly as Javascript is already run. Brombone is easy to integrate into the code using an XML sitemap.


This tool makes the JavaScipt based application crawlable by Google ranking it on the search results. It is possible to integrate this tool into the server by simple copy and paste. Adding the website to the SEO.js dashboard enables the tool to visit the pages and put together their HTML snapshots with the dynamic content to be completely rendered by the bot. It also ensures that the snapshots are updated constantly to reflect the latest changes.

React Helmet

One of the most important components of SPA SEO, React Helmet helps manage the metadata of the page that is being served through ReactJS code. It is a library on the top of React and is capable of executing both on server and client side. It offers the benefit of easy integration without having to make any major modifications in the page code.


Component-based rendering of Single Page Applications based on React JS offers outstanding load times and easier code management. Though SEO of such applications demand additional effort, it is possible to use some proven strategies and a set of tools to avail the benefits of SPAs without sacrificing the search engine rankings and visibility.