As it adds an extra layer of complexity when building your website, it’s recommended to implement hydration, static rendering, or server-side rendering instead.
This means web development teams and the technical SEO community must understand the dynamic rendering process and why it should only be considered a temporary setup.
What Is Dynamic Rendering?
Fully-rendered content (a static HTML version of the pages) is sent to search engines, while regular site visitors are served with normal (client-side rendered) content.
As it provides relevant websites to users and search engine bots, dynamic rendering helps minimize the crawl time needed for each of your pages.
Not all sites need dynamic rendering, but how exactly does it work?
How Dynamic Rendering Works
Implementing dynamic rendering can be challenging, resource-intensive, and time-consuming.
- An external dynamic renderer, such as Prerender.io, is installed on the server to identify search crawlers.
- Requests from crawlers are routed to the renderer, which serves as a translation of the content suitable for the crawler (such as a static HTML version). This page is then cached for later.
- A human user request is handled normally, sending them to the website. You can also use this part of the dynamic rendering process to determine if they require desktop or mobile content.
What Problems Can Dynamic Rendering Solve?
This means search engines receive pages faster, allowing them to get through more pages on your site – making more of your pages visible in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
This makes the technique ideal for large websites that generate lots of content that is updated frequently (for example, an ecommerce store with a revolving inventory).
More content indexed in Google will help your content marketing efforts and organic search channel investment.
Should You Still Use Dynamic Rendering?
It’s also beneficial for companies who need to get the most out of their crawl budget and are low on engineering resources.
Because it’s faster and less resource-intensive than server-side rendering, it’s also easier to deploy.
There are three instances where web developers should consider temporarily using dynamic rendering:
- If you have a large site with rapidly changing content that requires quick indexing – this helps with rankings and driving traffic and revenue.
- If your website relies on social media sharing and chat applications that require access to page content – embeddable social media walls, widgets, etc.
Is Dynamic Rendering Cloaking?
Google describes cloaking as “sending different content or URLs to human users and search engines with the intent to manipulate search rankings and mislead users.”
It is considered a black hat SEO tactic – for example, showing a page about dogs to users and a page about cats to crawlers.
Even though dynamic rendering sends different content to both parties, it is solely to pre-render your content for bots.
If you implement dynamic rendering, minimize the differences between the version of the page you’re sending to search bots and the version going to users.
Serving the same end content to crawlers and human users enables Google to index easily, quickly, and economically.
How To Use Dynamic Rendering As A Workaround
On the other hand, dynamic rendering creates additional, superfluous complexities and resources for Google. As it generates many prerendering requests, it can significantly slow down your server.
Dynamic rendering isn’t a viable long-term option, as it requires you to maintain two separate versions of your site.
You’ll need to verify separately that your website is well-optimized for users and search bots, taking up precious time for your SEO and development teams that could be better spent elsewhere.
- Is your website indexable?
- Does your content change regularly?
- Are you facing budget constraints?
- Does your engineering team have too much on their plate to implement server-side rendering?
Dynamic rendering exists to correct web pages that don’t show up on search engine results pages, but we’d always recommend server-side rendering.
After all, it’s easier to maintain with only one version of a website and more time-efficient, as you don’t have to verify if the versions for users and Googlebot are identical.
Once you’ve weighed up your development resources and technology capabilities, look for opportunities to switch to server-side rendering so all user agents receive the same content.
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