I’ve heard people say that the #1 most exciting and important thing that came out of Google I/O this year was the evergreen Googlebot:

Today, we are happy to announce that Googlebot now runs the latest Chromium rendering engine (74 at the time of this post) when rendering pages for Search. Moving forward, Googlebot will regularly update its rendering engine to ensure support for latest web platform features.

Before this, I guess I never even thought about it.

I guess part of it is that some people did already know that the old version didn’t support some newfangled JavaScript stuff, and thus literally packaged their app with old JavaScript to be more SEO-friendly.

A bunch of people were apparently shipping older code simply for the sake of Googlebot, and now they don’t have to. Sure, I’ll call that a win.

Don’t read this news as “don’t worry about your JavaScript-rendered pages and SEO” though, because Google Webmasters is still telling us that pages with content that requires JavaScript to render are put into a special slower queue for both initial crawling and for updates. Not necessarily a penalty, but certainly a delay. I’m sure that’s enough to make server-side rendering a priority for sites where SEO is the whole ballgame.

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