How New Relic Browser Can Boost SEO

New Relic understands that search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine-referred traffic is critically important to many of our customers’ businesses. New Relic’s Browser team carefully considers the impact that our JavaScript instrumentation has on SEO to ensure that our product provides maximum visibility into front-end performance and JavaScript errors without adversely impacting search-engine ranking, indexing, crawl efficiency, or other SEO-related concerns.

Put simply, we believe our product has no negative impact on SEO or search engine rankings, and when used effectively, it can actually increase a site’s ranking in Google and other search engines by improving performance and user experience.

To show you how the New Relic Browser Agent affects search engine rankings, we’ve put together a couple of relevant SEO tips and an explanation of how the Agent functions:

SEO Tip #1: Build a great site

Google consistently recommends that website owners build sites that are valuable to users and accessible to search engine crawlers. In its ranking algorithm, Google considers both on-page and off-page factors. On-page factors include a descriptive title tag, headings, or emphasized text. Off-page factors comprise links from other sites, feedback from Google’s human reviewers, and how frequently users click a search result and then immediately return to Google (also known as bounce rate.) Importantly, Google emphasizes that site speed has a significant impact on search engine rankings and that it continuously tweaks its algorithm to favor sites that provide the most relevant information and the best user experience.

New Relic Browser helps our customers improve user experience by monitoring the information that can help speed up slow page loads, fix JavaScript errors, and identify slow AJAX calls. Installing Browser App Monitoring has never been reported to have a negative impact on the SEO or search traffic of a monitored site.

SEO Tip #2: Emphasize front-end performance

Improving response times, fixing errors, and generally improving your users’ experience is a common and effective strategy for increasing search ranking. For years Google has emphasized the importance its algorithm places on page load speed and site performance. Google has also indicated that googlebot is increasingly running the JavaScript code on the websites it crawls and taking this into account when ranking sites. This allows Google to access content from popular AJAX-heavy or single-page web apps. It also means that a JavaScript error previously visible only to human users (e.g. a broken button) could now impact how googlebot views and interprets your site.

New Relic Browser App Monitoring is currently enabled on thousands of websites, including many high-traffic content sites, and we have never had reports of our JavaScript instrumentation code having a negative effect on a site’s search ranking due to code-to-content ratio or other on-page SEO factors.

Browser SEO

Browser > (selected app) > JS errors: Use New Relic’s JavaScript errors dashboard to identify errors, including some that may be invisible to your end users. Fixing these errors can improve the user experience and boost search ranking.

Why New Relic uses inline JavaScript

Here’s how it works: In order to report JavaScript errors we must install error-reporting instrumentation before those errors occur (or we’d miss our chance to observe them). This means that portions of our code need to run early in the page’s lifecycle compared to other JavaScript services like Google Analytics. After extensive research and testing, we determined that the most effective method for doing this was to include a line of JavaScript instrumentation code directly (i.e. inline) in the head of the monitored HTML page.

This approach prevents the browser from blocking while it retrieves our JavaScript instrumentation over the network, which could slow down the page’s rendering. Because this requires our instrumentation must be executed at the very beginning of the page load, it is not possible for us to use a script tag at the end of the document, which is recommended in most other cases. However, in our performance testing we’ve found that the inclusion of this amount of JavaScript inline in the header has a negligible effect on page load time (measured in millionths of a second), which we believe won’t negatively impact how users or search engines interact with your site.

Couple that with New Relic Browser’s ability to help you improve your site’s performance and user experience, and it’s clear that Browser is a tool to positively impact search engine rankings.

Sam Goldstein is engineering manager, agents, for New Relic. He manages Browser Application Monitoring team. He's been writing Ruby for almost a decade and is the author of several semi-popular gems, including diffy and timetrap. View posts by .

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