SEO can be your big ally or just as big of an enemy. Depending on how you approach it, and how much patience and attention you give to it, the outcome will be different. To help you in this SEO adventure, we’ve prepared a quick walk-through the basic information on what SEO is, how it works, and why you should care about it. We will also touch on the SEO with Next.js and its benefits.
What is SEO?
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is designed to help you get a higher ranking in search engines such as Google. The better your score, the higher your website will be ranked in search results. Higher place in the ranking will result in an increased number of visitors on your website.Search Systems have four main responsibilities:
- Crawling – the process of going through the Web and parsing the content in all websites. This is a massive task as there are over 350 million domains available.
- Indexing – finding places to store all of the data gathered during the crawling stage so that it can be accessed.
- Rendering – executing any resources on the site that can improve the functions and enrich the content of the site. This process does not occur for all pages that are indexed, and sometimes it happens before the content is properly indexed. Rendering may occur after indexing if there are no resources available to perform the task at that time.
- Ranking – This is where the different ranking criteria are applied in search engines to give users the best answer that most accurately fulfills their intent. Generally speaking, ranking is the result of querying data to craft relevant results pages based on user input.
How does Next.js affect SEO?
In short, Next.js is used to build statically generated and rendered pages by the React application server. It has many advantages that help us build and scale our applications, such as zero configuration, automatic code splitting, production-ready, static export, etc.
With Next.js, you can achieve a nice SEO result with simple steps. This is not a specific feature, but with server-side rendered applications.
To make it start working we need to install the Next.js framework, since SEO is implemented inside. Full setup can be found here: https://nextjs.org/learn/basics/create-nextjs-app.
Server Side Rendering
Longer page indexing time is a major SEO disadvantage in a standard React.js application. This is caused by the fact that such an application is really a one big block to which we render content on the client side. In fact, every page is created in the browser. Technically, no page exists, we just have one empty block.
Next.js works quite differently. The application is already rendered on the server side, which means that when we send a page request, we get a ready-made HTML file with rendered content. Thanks to this, Google is able to index our site faster, because it already has all the content at hand.
Meta tags deliver information about a website in the HTML of a document. This information is called “metadata,” and while it is not rendered on the page itself, it can be read by search engines and indexing robots.
Search engines use metadata from meta tags to understand additional information about a website. They can use the information for ranking purposes, to show snippets in search results, and can sometimes ignore meta tags.
Sitemap is currently not required to be added manually, or from the next-sitemap library, because Goggle has such intelligent crawlers that they can generate such a sitemap by themselves. However, if you want to make sure that such a sitemap exists, you can add it using the library given above.
Robots.txt is a simple text file in the head folder that contains information about which of our sites we want to allow search engines to collect information from, and whether we want the links to appear in the search list.
Why is positioning important?
Positioning increases your website’s online visibility, which translates into greater customer trust in your brand. SEO efforts include, among other things, content marketing, which is the creation of user-valuable content to present you as an expert in your industry. The more answers to their questions a customer finds on your site, the faster Google will notice and position you higher. The more visible your site is on Google, the more likely your audience is to trust it. SEO will help you achieve the image of an expert on the web, as well as show users that your employees are knowledgeable and worth trusting.
Google strives to provide the best appropriate answers for its users. That is why Google always keeps its algorithms in turmoil – not for brands to complain that there are changes every now and then.
There are some algorithms out there to be highly ranked, but they are a bit more complicated than the ones you can find online. The chances of your site being penalized are huge, so you need to carefully monitor and check the SEO status of your current site.
Advantages and disadvantages of SEO
SEO is an efficient tool to reach potential clients, but we still need to have a purpose and a reason for using it.
- Good traffic flow on your website – If proper SEO techniques are used, your website can be on the top spot of search engines.
- Web presence – It’s relevant not only for organic searches, but also for various applications. For instance, SEO can assist you in being first on web pages such as Google Maps or similar websites that many users visit before performing their search.
- Mobile friendly – High speed of your website, its responsiveness and no latency for mobile users result in positive user experience.
- Qualitative – The higher the quality of your website is, the more often you’re able to turn your visitors into customers.
- SEO is profitable for social media – popularity is cost-effective for SEO purposes, so we can be more visible on social media. A website with high rankings will also get favorable social media exposure. The connection between SEO and social media is a two-way street.
The benefits of SEO are clear, but some disadvantages play a significant role in the decision. These include considering SEO as an investment for the long term.
- Long-term goal – One of the most significant drawbacks that come with SEO has to do with the length of time required to generate results. SEO is a cumulative process. There are many factors to consider before estimating the time required to gain momentum. Google itself advises giving a SEO company 4 to 12 months to see results. SEO is probably not the most effective option if you need a quick solution to increase your revenue.
- We can lose ranking in the search engine, which can be caused by changes in search engines and algorithm updates, so we need to keep observing and updating our site in terms of SEO.
- There is no certainty that it will work for sure. Arriving on the first page of search results will be a standout among the most essential goals you should want to achieve with your SEO. Arriving at the front page is really what makes the difference, as 75% of search customers probably never look past that first page and neglect the rest of results. Search engine optimization doesn’t give you quick assurance that you’ll show up on the first pages of search results using the phrases you focus on.
- Some companies are competing in a market that is full of competition. Search Engine Optimization requires almost continuous investment to ensure effectiveness and produce positive results. With a small budget and limited time frame, it can take several years for them to get ahead.
SEO is a useful working tool if you want to be more credible and recognizable, however, it is important to remember that this process can be quite long, which does not always go hand in hand with project goals.
It’s also certainly important to remember to take advantage of the possibilities Next.js offers us, from server-side rendering to establishing access to our individual pages, their information and tracking them.
Interested in Next.js? Check out our tutorial on how to build your next React project with Next.js.