JS and its frameworks allow developers, and thus businesses, create unique opportunities for users to improve their user experience, and more. However, the rapid adoption and evolution of this technology complicates the job of search engines that have to deal with a whole new challenge: Rendering.
Search engine crawlers work similarly:
- They find a link
- Download all necessary files to render the page
- Find all links on the page and follow those too
This process is what allows search engines to discover new pages and build associations between them.
There are two things to consider:
First, the crawl budget. Google has limited resources, so they need to distribute them as efficiently as possible, and having to perform an extra heavy process takes away resources from this budget.
Second, the volume of pages Google crawls and renders every second. Spending one or two extra seconds per page doesn’t sound as much, but multiply that by millions, and you have a problem. However, the time gap between JS and HTML content is significant. The technical SEO agency Onely ran an experiment to measure how long it takes for Google to crawl JS content compared to HTML content.
Here’s the experiment’s premise:
Now imagine this in a 100k to 1M pages website. Rendering issues are bound to happen, and as your Render Ratio starts to fall, so does the quality of your site (in Google’s eyes) and your organic traffic.
What is Render Ratio?
In short, your website’s render ratio is the percentage of content that has been rendered by Google, calculated by dividing the total pages shown in Google search results containing a “rendered phrase” and the total number of pages displayed in the SERP containing an “HTML phrase.”
As you can imagine, this is a highly manual process that requires you to:
- Look for an element (in the same set of pages) that’s always available in the HTML portion of the page (HTML phrase).
- Perform an advanced search on google: site:yourdomain.com “HTML phrase”
- Do the same, but with the render phrase: site:yourdomain.com “render phrase”
- Divide the number of results for the render phrase by the number of results for the HTML phrase
- Multiply the result by 100, and you have your render ratio
The higher the render ratio, the more content Google has been able to render.
Why is Render Ratio Important?
Unrendered content is the same as not having that content for search engines. Yes, users can access and enjoy the content, but if search engines can’t, they won’t consider these URLs for ranking purposes.
In fact, this missing content can do the contrary.
As Google crawls your pages and fails to render the content, the end result is a clearly unfinished or broken page that can be tagged as thin or duplicate content – if the other pages in the series use the same HTML elements. This is also an easy way to waste your crawl budget. As the Googlebot finds these pages without relevant content, you’re wasting your resources on pages that’ll do more harm than good. Moreover, Google can deprioritize your website as a trustworthy source if the issue is severe enough.
Fixing Render Ratio Issues with Prerender
Google won’t need to send your page to the “Renderer” – nor use crawl budget on fetching JS files or waiting for new links to render – all content will be accessible, and JS-injected links will be ready for crawlers to follow instantly. To make Prerender even more cost-efficient, you can pre-render dynamic and publicly available pages. In other words, only the pages you want Google to find and rank.
After the first request from a bot, all your pages will be cached, increasing your “server” response time and allowing your site to get better PageSpeed scores, have a 100% render ratio, and get your pages indexed faster.