The way Googlebot renders your page is crucial for rankings. The topic of SEO Rendering raises a lot of questions. Google’s Martin Splitt, arguably, is the best person to give us all the answers. Join us as we break down Martin’s remarks on Rendering in SEO from one of his recently attended webinars.
How does Google Crawl & Index a Page?
Many of us are familiar with Google’s fundamental approach, which involves crawling and then indexing the pages. Martin Splitt provides a more detailed breakdown of the process.
Here’s the flow that Google follows:
- Ranking (if conditions are met)
How important is Rendering?
Martin emphasized the importance of Rendering in SEO. Crawling would only collect all of the elements on a page. Rendering, on the other hand, is where the true magic happens.
Rendering parses on-page elements like heading tags, images, structured data, and so on, which helps Google in understanding the structure of the content. This allows Google to determine the role that each component of the page plays. As a result, websites will receive rankings based on how the pages are rendered. This makes it extremely important that Googlebot renders your page correctly as intended.
How does Google Render a page?
Because Rendering is such an important aspect of SEO, it is crucial to understand it thoroughly. Martin Splitt eloquently explained this:
The Layout Tree is critical because it assists Google in understanding your page’s DOM (Document Object Model).
It helps Google in determining several things:
- Which elements of the page are visible/not visible to the user?
- Size of the elements on each section of the page?
- Whether an element is hidden behind another element?
- What is the logical structure of the page?
According to Martin, Rendering is an asynchronous activity that is carried out parallel to crawling. For example, if structured data is found in the initial HTML during crawling, it is picked up by Google without waiting for the entire Rendering process to complete.
Important content should be visible as early as possible
Google’s Martin Splitt went on to explain how important it is for Google to see critical on-page elements as soon as possible. This means that if you have important text on the page, or important canonical tags, titles, and meta descriptions, they should be shown to the Googlebot early during Rendering. This gives you a slight advantage because the bot will not miss out on these elements during crawling and Rendering.
How is content weighted by Google?
According to Martin, Google uses something known as the Centerpiece annotation. The Semantic content and the layout tree (to some extent) is used to determine this. Natural Language Processing is performed on the page, which helps Google determine whether parts of the content are related to the centerpiece i.e the main topic on the page.
The Centerpiece annotation informs Google about the page’s most important content and helps them in distinguishing it from the boilerplate.
Does Google render its own scripts when it renders my page?
Your pages may likely contain Google’s scripts for tracking and other purposes. Will it, however, affect the Rendering of your page?
Martin Splitt affirmed that Google’s own scripts such as Google Analytics and Fonts are skipped during Rendering. So from a Rendering perspective, you don’t really need to worry about these scripts.
You can watch the entire discussion on Rendering in SEO, in Duda’s webinar here: