Great article, out of curiosity any reason why you didnt use a library like next.js as they offer full support for SSR?
Got quite a bit of experience with technical SEO and we used to avoid handing Google bot a different version as that could be seen as you are trying to manipulate the bot.
Obviously Google bot and its metrics are a black box so sometimes things are not as clear as one would like. Thanks 🙂
Since React's renderToString method already offers 95% of what I need to create SSR for my website, I felt like using some new library like next.js was just way too overkill.
It would probably even have cost me more time, since I'd have to learn next.js first. This way it only took me a few hours to get SSR done and it's just a tiny and fast codebase doing all that.
As for the manipulation, as Google mentions in this article, it even promotes exactly that different handling of the Googlebot. I mean it's a really logical thing to do. They save tons of resources if you cut out anything unnecessary for the bot.
After playing around with the bot for some time I think Google just wants you to make it Google as easy as possible to crawl your site and rewards it greatly.
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