Updated: June 9, 2023.
Keep in mind that this is not the screenshot of the entire page (you can scroll a bit). Always check the rendered HTML to look for potentially missing content.
In a very huge nutshell, search engines like Google rely on web crawlers, also known as spiders or bots, to crawl and index web pages. These bots are essentially automated programs that read the HTML code of a website and follow the links to other pages.
Why is Google’s rendering process important?
Here are the tools I recommend you use to check how Google renders JavaScipt on the website you are auditing.
The Google Mobile-Friendly Test is a tool that allows you to evaluate the mobile-friendliness of a website, as well as view a screenshot of how Google sees the website along with the rendered HTML code.
- It is ideal for checking individual pages to get a general idea.
- You don’t need access to the website to use this tool.
Google Search Console URL Inspection
Google Search Console provides a URL Inspection Tool that enables users to view the rendered HTML and a screenshot of a URL, and there is also a TEST LIVE URL feature available.
- You need to have access to the GSC of a site to use this tool.
- It lets you analyze any page of the website property in GSC.
Page-oscope by Mobile Moxie
Page-oscope by Mobile Moxie is a tool available as a Chrome plugin that lets you compare the rendered and unrendered HTML of a website. This tool enables you to conduct the test using different devices such as desktop or mobile (iOS and Android).
- Free for up to 10 searches a day
- You can easily view and compare unrendered HTML with rendered HTML.
- |The Diff Checker lets you quickly check for differences between unrendered and rendered HTML.
The JS vs non-JS tool lets you compare the content and HTML of any page without JS and with JS rendered.
- This is a cloud-based crawler which means it does not overload your desktop computer.
- JetOctopus is the fastest crawler on the market.
- Ideal for huge websites that you want to crawl quickly
- Free up to 500 URLs
- You can easily view the screenshot of any page and quickly compare source code with rendered HTML.
Sitebulb is a great fully paid alternative for Screaming Frog as it is also a desktop-based crawler (recently also made available in the cloud version called Sitebulb Server).
- Awesome UI with lots of explanations, which also lets you learn while auditing.
- The Response vs Render report lets you look for changes in meta robots, canonical URLs, titles, meta descriptions, internal links and external links
- No possibility of viewing rendered HTML and rendered screenshots (unless I am not aware of that feature)
Final words of wisdom
The tools and techniques discussed in this article, such as the Google Mobile-Friendly Test, Google Search Console’s URL Inspection Tool, JetOctopus, Screaming Frog, Sitebulb, and Page-oscope by Mobile Moxie, are all incredibly valuable resources for SEO auditors.