Effects of replacing prerender.io with inhouse prerendering

by chabu   Last Updated December 19, 2017 17:04 PM

I have a website built using MEAN(Mongo Express Angular Nodejs) stack. I was using the prerender.io to render the pages for the bots. The prerender server was running on the AWS EC2, however there were problems with the prerender.io server every week or so, such that the server would go down for some unknown reason. And also it was adding up some cost to my project. To get rid of this annoying problem I decided to write my own mini-prerender middleware in the express. In the middleware, I interecept the traffic from the bots, build the html for the requested url and serve the static html to the bots with

response.send("<html>Well structured content with all title/head/meta tags</html>").

This html is not the exact replication of my website, but has enough content and links to the other related pages.

After this change, my problem with the prerender server has been fixed(obviously). If I google search the recently added pages in my website, I do see them in the result. However, the users visiting my website have dropped by more than 50%, after this change. When I visit Google's Webmaster tools all seems fine except few(around 180) soft-404 errors.

I wonder what could have gone wrong. Is having such middleware to send html to bots a bad idea ?



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Updated January 17, 2018 05:04 AM