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The current best practice is to make sure search engines are served fully rendered HTML with all the content you wish to be indexed. This can be achieved in several ways, each of them presenting a trade-off between performance, complexity, and cost. In general, you have three options:
- Server-side rendering
- Static site generators
Below you will find a brief intro to each approach and links to more resources. There is no one best solution; you always need to consider the specific requirements of your project.
These kinds of apps are sometimes called isomorphic applications because their code can run on both client and server.
On the downside, server-side rendering increases the complexity of your application and can hinder performance in some situations, for example, when the server is under a heavy load.
- Read more about server-side rendering to decide if it makes sense for your project.
All major front-end frameworks support server-side rendering or provide dedicated server-side rendering frameworks:
- React: Read about React server-side rendering or check out Next.js.
- Angular: See Angular Universal.
- Vue: Read the Vue server-side rendering guide or check out Nuxt.js.
Rather than using a web server to compile HTML on the fly per request, prerendering simply generates static HTML files for specific routes at build time. The advantage is that setting up prerendering is simpler and it allows you to keep your frontend as a static site without the need for a node server.
Any single page application using webpack can be prerendered using the Prerender SPA Plugin (often used for Vue apps).
Prerendering is also provided by several 3rd party services, for example:
- Netlify provides basic prerendering even for free its free plan.
- Prerender.io is a dedicated prerendering service and is also available as open-source.
Static site generators
Static site generators are tools that take your source code, assets, content from APIs, etc., and generate your website as a collection of static files. You can host the static files anywhere and SEO is not a problem. If your website doesn't require authentication or display real-time or user-specific data, consider using a static site generator.
- Staticgen.com provides an overview of all static site generators.
- Gatsby.js is a React-based static site generator with a Kentico Kontent source plugin.
- Nuxt.js works as a Vue-based static site generator and has a Kentico Kontent module.
- Next.js is an open-source React framework with a Kentico Kontent corporate starter.
Some tools combine more than one approach, for example, Next.js and Nuxt.js support both server-side rendering and static site generation. The lines between server-side rendering, static site generators, and prerendering can be blurry.
You can use the Fetch as Google tool to test and examine how search engines see your website.
- Read a blog by one of our advocates on How to generate a static website with Vue.js in no time.
- See Going beyond static sites with Kentico Cloud & Gatsby.
- If you have any questions, get in touch with us using the chat button in the bottom-right corner.