SEO for single-page applications: Survival Tips for your SPAs.

What is a SPA?

Single-page application, or SPA, is a particular JavaScript-based technology for website development that doesn’t require any more page loads after the first-page view load. React, Angular, and Vue are the most popular JavaScript frameworks used for setting up SPA. They mostly vary in supported libraries and APIs but use the same logic of serving fast client-side rendering. Many well-known and distinguished websites (Twitter, Pinterest, and Airbnb) are built with single-page application architecture.

Single Page Applications are mainly to reduce page load speed and better user experience. This is accomplished by not reloading the page. The absence of page reload makes sure that, after the initial load, only data is sent over the wire. The result is an extreme decrease in time to navigate and display data.

The basic and main difference between a normal, HTML-based, website and a single-page application is the latter’s dependence on JavaScript. JavaScript is employed to make the HTML for a single page application which then creates the page. When JavaScript loads new content it’s mentioned as a “view.”

How can you make your web app perform perfectly in terms of SEO?

JavaScript code should run fast and flawless

If you opt for client-side rendering for your SPA, you’ll have seen how Googlebot processes it and will be attempting to simplify the process. According to the official documentation, Googlebot presents a three-step workflow for processing JavaScript pages, which includes crawling, rendering, and indexing.

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URLs and internal linking should be SEO-friendly

If you want different views of your application to be indexed as standalone pages and rank in search engines then your website URLs must be featured on Google Bot and navigate through your application architecture. Beware that crawlers are subtle to the way you implement routing between different views of your web application. Single-page applications depend on routers that keep their UI and content synchronized with the changing URLs without refreshing the page of your application. When it involves SPA routing modes, you’ve got two options: hash-based routing and History API routing. Only the latter is SEO-friendly. To avoid the 404 errors and use clean and SEO-friendly URLs, you’ll have to add a fall-back route for your server to redirect requests to your index.html page where your app lives. Although this will require additional effort, all popular JavaScript frameworks and libraries present such an option. A list of exclusive URLs of your web app is enough for indexing but not for ranking high on search. To make your URLs competitive and different, you will need to update them with unique titles, descriptions, and preview images. Make sure you create an XML sitemap for your project. It is submitted to Google, Bing and other search engines to help them crawl your website better.” – Pavel, Frontend Developer

Meta tags must be unique for each URL

The header of your SPA relates to the static HTML part of your app. It includes by-default Meta tags that don’t change when different page content is rendered. However, you want meta-titles and meta-descriptions that clear to both users and bots what information they’ll find on each of your URLs.

You can direct this issue using special utilities available in frontend frameworks and libraries. They’ll help you generate effective metadata and push it to your page header. However, there still will remain some JavaScript code to execute before the metadata can be crawled and indexed which makes it unapproachable to search engines and social media agents who don’t process JavaScript.

 

About the Author

My name’s Semil Shah, and I pride myself on being the last digital marketer that you’ll ever need. Having worked internationally across agile and disruptive teams from San Fransico to London, I can help you take what you are doing in digital to a whole next level.

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