SEO Friendly Web-App Development


Using Server Side Rendered React

The other day we were sitting around, listening to a conversation between our developers regarding the challenge of using powerful application Javascript frameworks for rich features, but enabling them to be super fast and SEO Friendly, we found the conversation pretty interesting, so we decided to make a transcript and turn it into a blog! Que Marco, a developer from our very own app/web development team, and why he chooses to use Next.js, the development framework by Zeit. With some big names using Next.js, there is no surprise that it is the platform of choice for many. Uber, Nike, Twitch and Hulu all use the platform for their web and app development, and that’s some pretty serious players! Marco chooses to build in Next.js for a few reasons, so let’s get his opinion on it…

Lets get into it

One of the big reasons to use Next.js is that it is based on the React framework, and allows for the ability to utilise SSR (Server Side Rendering) which allows for the rendering of content to be done on the server end, generally delivering a faster speed than CSR (Client Side Rendering). Also, another big speed increase is the native integration with Zeit Now, a hosting platform from Zeit, delivering a quality integrated experience.


Another reason for utilising Next.js is the SEO benefits, over using just React for example. Next.js will build the website automatically using HTML and CSS, which means that Google’s crawler bots have an easier time reading through the site and ranking the website for appropriate search terms.


Chelsea Apps Our developer using React to build an application

With some serious applications and websites being built in Next.js, the power of the framework can be demonstrated through a variety of features and projects it has been used in. For example, the app development team at Hulu have been using the Next.js framework since its initial development. With improvements overtime delivering productivity increases and an upgraded developer experience. This can be seen with features such as the automatic code splitting and static exporting. One of the big advantages for Hulu using the Next.js framework is the use of the SSR, which allows for an overall better delivery system to the end-user, Next.js makes this simple with a straightforward development process.

Other note-worthy mentions

There are of course alternatives to Next.js, such as Gatsby, which works in a similar way to Next.js, but it’s more appropriate for other uses. For example, Gatsby is great for building a website in a portfolio style and is simpler to get to grips with than something such as Next, however, Next.js allows for more advanced building, ideal for projects such as e-commerce or machine learning applications.

Chelsea Apps Building a mobile app using React

In summary, after discussing the pros and cons of using the Next.js framework, one of the biggest advantages is the ability for SSR as well as the great SEO benefits of using the framework. Also the flow and user experience of using the Next.js framework gives developers an intuitive and powerful workflow for their website and app development. One downside to using Next.js rather than Gatsby, would be the longer learning curve, as it is more challenging to learn. However, with the more powerful tools available and the overall flow of the framework, it is well worth the time getting to grips with Next.js! Next.js has an extensive learning platform, with lessons, blogs and a points based step-by-step system to get you on track.