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What evergreen Googlebot’s chrome74 update revealed about your site’s “render budget,” and why it’s imperative to SEO in the modern web

23rd May 2019Jeff GammonJeff Gammon

By Jeff Gammon, Director of Product Marketing

Search engine optimization is ever-evolving. And Google, naturally, drives most of the internet’s evolution. As SEOs, we often get excited about developments concerning the world’s biggest search engine. Well, the May 7 announcement at Google I/O about Googlebot’s transformation had the internet itself buzzing, and also gave us tangible evidence of Google evolving itself.

1. JavaScript took the stage at Google I/O: what was announced?

  • Googlebot had been outdated and running chrome41 for years.
  • Now Googlebot had been updated to chrome74.
  • In fact, the updated bot had already been crawling the web.
  • Googlebot would also be evergreen (i.e., never allowed to be outdated again).

Web developers and SEO stakeholders (and our fellow geeks) rejoiced. After all, the web today is dominated by another giant: JavaScript. JS makes modern websites beautiful, user-friendlier, and capable of nifty functionality that we all take for granted daily (responsive design, e.g.). But JavaScript also complicates our lives as developers and SEOs. For all of its attributes, JS demands more time and resources to be rendered, can drag down page-load time, and more. As accessing and indexing high-value content is critical for Google, there is no big surprise that they’re continuously updating their own internet bot’s capabilities.

Should SEOs take these evolutions for granted?

2. Google (also) confirmed Botify’s concept of Render Budget. What does it mean for SEOs?

In last week’s referenced Google I/O session, Google proclaimed that their “evergreen” Googlebot update from chrome41 to chrome74 meant that “modern JavaScript is no longer a blocker for SEO.” That’s what Martin Splitt said, at least. However, Google also confirmed that SEOs still need to contend with the following:

  • Render budget: While Google’s crawl budget means that only 49% of a typical site’s pages are crawled, even less JavaScript is rendered. That’s your render budget.

Rendering Budget is Key to SEO Google says “rendering budget” is key to SEO in their May 7, 2019 Google I/O session.

Google’s Zoe Clifford explained that “crawl budget is a rate limit on how frequently Google can crawl the site,” and that, “crawl budget also applies to resources loaded from the page during rendering--for example, JS files loaded from script tags or XHR or fetch requests triggered by JavaScript.” In other words, Google’s crawl budget is applied to how much of your site’s JavaScript the search engine can/will render.

So while JavaScript is no longer a blocker for Googlebot because it’s been updated to the latest Chromium rendering engine to crawl and render JavaScript, the fact that your website has a JavaScript render budget means you want to be sure that JS isn’t blocking your organic-search performance.

To that end, Martin Splitt illustrated that Google lets you check your site’s JS rendering one page at a time via Google Lighthouse. But what if you have thousands or millions of pages? Getting a sense of the impact of your site’s JavaScript on your site’s SEO at scale requires some non-Google assistance.

3. Knowing your JS render budget is key to winning SEO in the modern web

Botify uses chrome74 too. But unlike Lighthouse, Botify crawls and renders your whole site and helps you understand your site-wide render budget--how it’s being “spent” now. That empowers you to understand how Googlebot--yes, even the updated, “evergreen” Googlebot--is seeing (and not seeing) your site so you can do the search-engine optimization necessary for your render budget to be spent on the priority content and links that you want to be indexed and to rank well in Google search results.

JS-one-sheeter-for-blog

Download it: “SEO WHAT YOU’RE MISSING”--a Botify one-sheeter on JS rendering

With Botify, you have more metrics and data insights about how your website is actually rendered by Google than ever before. You get data insights for all of your pages/JS through 29 different metrics--19 of which are newly available to Botify subscribers.

Botify, which is also evergreen, is ahead of all SEO applications worldwide in its ability to render JavaScript, including total compliance to Google’s new rendering standard. You can reliably crawl and render your JavaScript resources on millions of pages and get full clarity about the following:

  • Your content and links that are reliant on JS to be seen by search engines
    • So you can make it seen to bots and target users
  • Your pages that are crawled by Google
    • And which pages are not crawled
  • Your JavaScript resources that are rendered by Google
    • And the JS that is not rendered

4. JavasScript is here to stay, and Botify is here to help you stay on top

Whether you’re a content SEO, a technical SEO, or otherwise an organic-search stakeholder, it’s the age of JavaScript online. Staying on the top of page 1 in Google search results requires now more than ever that your sites are optimized for Google’s crawl and indexation. Botify empowers you with exactly that - whether it's for your site's HTML or JavaScript.

Contact us if you want to know more about how we can help you with winning the modern web.