Make your React web apps discoverable - JavaScript SEO

Make your React web apps discoverable - JavaScript SEOPlay button
Video Duration
~7 mins

Mastering SEO for React Apps: A Comprehensive Guide

React, a popular JavaScript framework, has revolutionized the way single-page applications are built. However, making these applications discoverable in search and handling SEO can be a challenge. This guide provides a step-by-step walkthrough on how to optimize your React apps for search engines, ensuring your content is easily discoverable and your application performs optimally.

Key Takeaways

  • React apps can be optimized for SEO using various techniques and tools.
  • React Router DOM and the Helmet component are essential tools for managing routes and meta tags respectively.
  • Server-side, hybrid, or dynamic rendering can reduce reliance on JavaScript and improve performance.
  • Tools like React Snap can be used for pre-rendering content, making it available even without JavaScript execution.

Table of Contents

Creating a React App

Building a React app starts with creating an application skeleton. This can be done using the Create React App helper utility. This utility sets up a basic React app, which can then be customized based on the project's requirements.

Once the app is created, it can be viewed by running a development server, which can be installed via npm. At this stage, the application will have a single piece of content.

Adding Content and Routes

To make the application more engaging, additional routes and content can be added. This can be done using React Router DOM, a tool that allows for the creation of different pages within the app.

For instance, a component for another page can be added, such as a posts list component. This component can fetch data from an API endpoint and store it in the component's local state. The data can then be rendered as a list of post titles.

Improving Discoverability

Once the application is working, the next step is to improve its discoverability. This can be done by ensuring that all content shows up and that links are a tags with an href attribute, which Googlebot will pick up and crawl. This ensures that the content will be indexed.

However, to further improve discoverability, it's important to give meaningful, descriptive titles and descriptions to all pages. This helps users searching for a specific topic to see how the blog post is relevant to their goal.

Setting Meta Tags

Meta tags play a crucial role in SEO. They provide information about the webpage to the search engines. In React, the Helmet component can be used to set the title, the canonical URL, and any meta tags.

For instance, for the homepage, the title can be the name of the blog and the description can be what the blog is about. For individual post pages, the title can be set to the post title and the description can be a summary or the most important takeaways from the post.

Handling Indexing

When search engines crawl pages, they defer the execution of JavaScript to a later moment when resources for rendering are available. This leads to two waves of indexing - the first one that isn't running JavaScript and potentially a second one where JavaScript is executed to see the content that depends on it.

If the content changes very frequently or the site is very large, it's advisable to have the content be available in the first wave of indexing, without JavaScript. This not only improves performance but also ensures that the content is available to other bots that might not execute JavaScript at all.

Pre-rendering Content

One way to ensure that content is available without JavaScript is by pre-rendering it. Tools like React Snap can be used for this purpose. They crawl all the post pages and create files that contain the content even if JavaScript hasn't been executed.

While setting up pre-rendering might not always be straightforward, there's plenty of documentation available to guide you through the process. Alternatively, dynamic rendering can be used, where the pre-rendered version is only served to bots like Googlebot.


Optimizing React apps for SEO might seem daunting, but with the right tools and techniques, it can be a straightforward process. By following the steps outlined in this guide, developers can ensure their React apps are easily discoverable, perform optimally, and provide a great user experience.

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