Chrome Canary Features For Technical SEO

Building for the web is harder than ever. Better mobile technologies and web standards are being rolled out every day.

So, how do websites keep up?

Unlimited data plans are a luxury. But how much data is downloaded when visiting a website and what is the environmental impact of our internet today?

The Google search engine’s mobile-first index prioritizes websites that offer super-smooth page experiences. Does your company ship with findability in mind?

Developers have a lot of influence on how successful a site’s performance is on Google, but are they always focused on search?

Good developers strike a balance between aesthetics and website performance. Does your team set web performance budgets with measurable goals?

In this piece, I explore ways to improve communication with your development team. Chrome’s developer tools contain the data developers need to solve problems faster.

We’ll see how the Canary Browser is a great place to start a technical SEO audit.

I’ll be sharing new feature updates that SEO professionals should test today.

How Chrome Releases New Features


Canary is the early version of Google Chrome.

Google releases its features in four phases it calls release channels. The channels are Canary, Dev, Beta and Stable. Chrome Canary, Beta and Dev can be installed side by side on Android, Mac, Windows and Linux.

Chrome engineers test new features on real users to see if they encounter any issues before releasing the feature to the next channel.

Screenshot from YouTube, August 2022

Canary gets the updates first with nightly releases at 2am PST. You get the latest features, browser experiments and web platform APIs. Updates also include bug fixes, browser improvements, code cleanup, safety and security.

Features will be iterated over a six-week release cycle before going live for all 3.2B users.

Users can test upcoming features on their websites, web apps, content management system (CMS), themes, and plugins. They report bugs and provide feedback on new features.

Not all features get past Canary. The experimental browser is used by browser enthusiasts, developers, business users, and technical SEO professionals.

Debugging SEO With Developer Tools

Chrome DevTools is a browser diagnostic toolkit for testing websites in the browser. Developers test, build and maintain websites with tools that measure page speed.

Browser tools test the performance of websites under various conditions. It gives you an edge in repairing websites.

For developers, the tools are almost as important as the browser itself.

You don’t have to wait for a long and expensive crawl to complete; You can find technical SEO issues and submit them to Canary right away.

Setting Up Chrome Canary For SEO

Websites need to perform well across different locations, devices, and networks. DevTools allows you to simulate browsing in different places and at slower speeds.

Set Canary to browse as the Googlebot user agent in Chrome’s settings.

See what Google sees when it loads a site.

Screenshot of Chrome DevTools Network Conditions Panel, December 2022

Don’t let browser extensions interfere with the accuracy of your tests.

Download Canary as a separate browser for technical SEO auditing and debugging.

Plug And Scan Technical SEO Troubleshooting In Canary

Chrome DevTools lets you look under the hood of a website.

It tests and prints detailed performance reports in seconds, but it can overwhelm you at first.

Technical SEO professionals inspect the web the same way mechanics troubleshoot cars; We plug and scan sites into browser tools and analyze how they load and respond.

With Canary, you can capture and measure key moments such as page load, navigation, and user interactions. You can also get status codes, Core Web Vitals (CWV) measurements, waterfall and timeline charts, and much more.

Screenshot from YouTube, May 2021

Sometimes troubleshooting in the Canary Islands only points to a symptom rather than the problem. More capable tools offer advanced measurements, but the troubleshooting process remains the same.

Technical SEO Auditing With Google Chrome Canary

Google wants websites to load quickly, but a page won’t rank well if Googlebot doesn’t understand the main content.

DevTools can measure and help debug the delivery and performance of websites.

Check and debug Javascript, CSS and CWV issues with Canary.

Use DevTools to instantly check your pages and templates.

Screenshot from YouTube, May 2022

It helps to see how a site is leading visitors and Google’s crawlers. Check for internal links, duplication of content, broken links, missing images, and 404 pages.

Check your metadata on the page to see if everything is present and optimized. Look for problems with structured data and investigate content that Google hasn’t indexed due to JavaScript rendering issues.

Restrict network settings to examine latency under various web conditions and analyze website runtime performance to identify bottlenecks.

Look for opportunities to optimize your content delivery.

Check how a site’s resources are loaded and displayed. Not all resources are created equal – better resource delivery can improve user experience.

Using DevTools In Canary For Technical SEO Website Audits

Following are some of the popular use cases in DevTools for SEO professionals:


Network Panel

Performance Panel

Other SEO DevTools Workflows

Need help building a business case for SEO?

Use data to prove the value of technical SEO.

Benchmark site performance and compare content delivery to your competitors.

Screenshot from Looker Studio, December 2022

Use Canary to keep up with your site as it changes.

Chrome Browser Development Ecosystem

Chrome’s software development strategy performs several rolling and side-by-side deployments. With this method, A/B and capacity tests can be performed.

Chrome’s engineers automate feature rollbacks and prevent cold starts and downtimes. It is a simplified process that gives granular control over the browser version.

Be sure to keep up with features as they evolve on each channel. Read feature summaries and understand what business problems they can solve. tracks features as they progress. Subscribe to the Chrome Developer’s blog to stay up to date with Chrome tools and libraries.

Screenshot from, December 2022

Experimental DevTools Features In Chrome Canary

New Performance Insights Panel In Chrome DevTools

Professional athletes watch gameplay movies to understand their performance. Similarly, the Performance Insights panel lets you play and share recordings of a loaded web page.

Chrome DevTools Performance Panel, December 2022

The new panel shipped with Chrome 102. It’s a streamlined update to the Performance panel that provides insights without an in-depth technical understanding of browser rendering.

The panel has a simple user interface for measuring page load CWV performance. It gives actionable page insights, finds render-blocking requests, layout shifts, and more.

Future releases will expand use cases such as interactivity testing.

Share network delays in your critical rendering path and show GPU activity for dropped frames that are causing your site to lag.

Save your developers some time and include performance recordings when submitting tickets. Show them exactly what’s wrong with your pages to get them to take action right away.

New Recorder Panel Updates In Chrome DevTools

The Recorder panel is an experimental feature that provides insight into user flow.

It records runtime performance for multi-step user flows through the performance panel.

Use this feature to monitor the performance of your primary website user flows.

Most users interact with your site after it loads. So it’s a good idea to record user interactions like clicking, scrolling, and navigating. Record and edit your user flows for simulated network conditions.

Also, establish an eCommerce checkout flow and measure checkout performance by setting up different add-to-cart steps.

You can also create a script to load a page and interact with a button or link and measure its CWV.

Screenshot of Chrome DevTools Recorder Panel, December 2022

Google lists support for several user input properties.

It automatically detects ARIA and CSS selectors. You can also add custom data* selectors used by popular JS and CSS frameworks. The latest release of Chrome 108 has extended support to XPath and text pickers.

Pages can load quickly, but run slowly – and a poor user experience impacts the perception of your brand.

Make sure visitors don’t leave a site because it crashes when they click on it.

Export recorder panel scripts for third-party playback

Export your key user flow recordings to various formats for popular front-end testing tools.

Use the JSON exports to edit streams and import them back into Recorder and watch replays.

Export custom scripts with Chrome extensions.

There is support for exporting recordings to Google’s Node.js Puppeteer library. You can also use them with Cypress, Nightwatch, Sauce Labs and TestCafe.

Screenshot of Chrome DevTools Recorder Panel, December 2022

Automate Headless Browser Testing With Puppeteer

Headless browsing is when you visit a website without the browser’s user interface. You can launch Chrome in the background of your computer and use browser tools.

Puppeteer Chrome is an API that runs over the DevTools protocol. Puppeteer can also run browser tests without using the Chrome UI via headless mode.

Set up automatic periodic CWV testing and take screenshots of your pages loading across devices and networks. Developers automate form submissions and UI testing.

Automate your page speed performance reporting.

Chrome lets you work smarter, not harder. Developers save a lot of time, and so will you, when conducting technical SEO audits with Canary.

Automate Timeline Traces For Synthetic Testing

Synthetic tests are timeline records from different browsers, devices, and networks.

Synthetic simulates performance testing for your user’s real-world experience.

Set up user flow recordings in the Recorder panel and export the script to a web test. You can export custom Recorder scripts through the WebPage Test Recorder extension.

Web Platform API Testing On Chrome Canary

Chrome’s engineering team publishes experimental APIs.

Third-party and enterprise tools depend on it for testing new features. Origin trials are like feature flags: they get disabled and don’t always make it to Stable Chrome.

The feature proposal documentation provides context and explains how to help users.

Check the status of Chrome feature flags and APIs at

Screenshot from YouTube, August 2022

Developers use APIs for automated web performance testing. Real User Monitoring (RUM) analytics providers use Chrome’s APIs to track and report real user CWVs.

Chrome is built on the Chromium open source project and bugs are tracked on the Chromium bug tracker.

Back/Forward Cache Testing For Smooth Page Navigation

Modern browsers have recently added a feature that loads pages faster using a new type of cache.

The Back/Forward (bfcache) cache creates a snapshot of the page in the browser’s memory when you visit it.

Screenshot from Chrome DevTools bfcache test, December 2022

It reloads pages without sending a new network request to your server.

Users who go back to a previously visited page on your site get a faster loading experience. Loading from the bfcache is faster than the traditional HTTP cache because it saves your visitor from having to download additional data.

Chrome 96 Stable release sent the bfcache test in the application panel. It checks pages whether the Back/Forward caching is used.

Fixing Analytics Underreporting From Bfcache Browser Feature

The bfcache browser optimization is automatic, but it does affect CWV. Analytics tools may underreport pageviews because a page is loaded from the bfcache.

Are your analytics set up to detect when a page is loaded from bfcache?

Test your website on bfcache to make sure your important pages display it.

Keep an eye out when your pages stop serving from the bfcache.

New Update To The Back/Forward Cache Testing API

The new NotRestoredReason API function improves error reporting for bfcache issues. It helps to understand why a page is not passing its cache to returning visitors.

The API comes with Stable Chrome 111.

Identifying Render Blocking Resources With The Performance API

RUM tools had no easy way to check if a resource was blocking rendering.

Chrome 107 has provided a new feature to the Performance API that identifies rendering-blocking resources. This update helps RUM users save time and optimize rendering paths.

The Performance Panel helps identify rendering-blocking resources, such as CSS, that slow down a site’s loading.

When a browser encounters a stylesheet, it holds back the page from loading until it finishes reading the file. A browser needs to understand the layout and design of a page before it can render and paint a website.

Developers can help minimize recomputing, styling, and repainting to avoid website slowdowns.

Improved HTTP Response Status Codes Reporting For The Resource Timing API

The Resource Timing API did not support reporting failed response codes. Chrome 109 comes with a new Performance API feature that captures HTTP response codes.

Developers and SEOs can now segment their RUM analytics by page visits that result in 4XX and 5XX response codes.

The Future Of Core Web Vitals Is Here

Google holds 86% of the search engine market share and Chrome holds 66% of the global browser market share.

Google launched its web performance Core Web Vitals (CWV) metrics in 2020 to help quantify user experience on a web page.

First Input Delay (FID) is a CWV that measures the interactivity of a page.

Ever since it was first launched as a metric, people have been improving the FID of their websites – and today they’re crushing it. 92% of websites now have a good FID score for mobile users and 100% for desktop users.

But FID only tests for the first user interaction. It does not measure the user experience after the first page load.

“Chrome usage shows that 90% of a user’s activity occurs after the first page loads.”

Google recently launched the experimental Interaction to Next Paint (INP) metric at Google I/O 2022 – and it could soon replace FID as the CWV interactivity field metric.

INP paints a more accurate picture of the interactive user experience. It records click, tap, keyboard and scrolled tab activity and also measures the average page response time for each interaction that occurs.

Screenshot from YouTube, November 2022

The HTTP archive reported a stronger Total Blocking Time (TBT) correlation with INP over FID.

Google continues to experiment with and refine INP.

INP-optimized sites will have a competitive edge as Google moves past FID.

Is your website ready for when INP becomes a CWV and affects ranking?

Closing Thoughts On Using Chrome Canary For SEO

To perform well and score high on usability, a site needs to look, feel, navigate and load quickly – as well as be accessible. Beautiful design and fast browsing provide better visibility when searching.

We are now seeing websites that look better, but this can sometimes come at the expense of a good user experience. Development teams need to consider the environmental costs of shipping bloated websites.

A website loads as our developers build it.

Developers must consider design, content, performance, accessibility, frameworks, networks, and devices. They need to build sites while balancing marketing, management, and SEO priorities.

SEO professionals and developers can work together to drive better website performance. Google’s out-of-the-box tooling provides a great starting point for technical SEO auditing.

DevTools help save time in debugging and troubleshooting, while Canary lets you streamline CWV reporting with browser automation.

Find and share the data your developers need to start solving SEO problems right away.

Featured image: Studio Cantath/Shutterstock

What does canary version mean?

What is a Canary Release? A canary release is a software testing technique used to reduce the risk of introducing a new software version into production by gradually rolling out the change to a small group of users before rolling it out to the entire platform/ the entire infrastructure.

What does canary trial mean? What is Canary Testing? Canary Testing is a way to reduce risk and validate new software by releasing software to a small percentage of users. Canary testing allows you to deliver to certain groups of users at the same time.

What does canary mean in software? In software testing, canary testing refers to testing a new software version or feature with real users in a live (production) environment. This is done by pushing some code changes live to a small group of end users who are usually unaware that they are receiving new code.

What’s a canary version?

In software engineering, canary deployment is the practice of making phased releases. We first roll out a software update to a small subset of users so that they can test it and provide feedback. Once the change is accepted, the update will be rolled out to the rest of the users.

What is a canary in the clouds? A canary implementation is a blue/green strategy that is more risk averse, taking a phased approach. This can be two-step or linear, where new application code is deployed and submitted for testing, and then rolled out to the rest of the environment after adoption, or in a linear fashion.

What is a canary server?

Canary deployments are a pattern for rolling out releases to a subset of users or servers. The idea is to first deploy the change to a small subset of servers, test them, and then roll out the change to the rest of the servers.

What is the purpose of canary? The canary deployment strategy is widely used because it reduces the risk of moving changes into production while reducing the need for additional infrastructure. Organizations using Canary can test the new release in a live production environment, while not simultaneously exposing all users to the latest release.

Why is it called a canary build?

‘Canary releases’ take their name from an old coal mining tactic. Miners released canaries into coal mines in an attempt to gauge the amount of toxic gases present. If the canary survived, then everything was safe. Thankfully times have changed, but somehow the name still stuck with canary releases.

Why is it called canary building? The first group of people who use a canary build find the worst bugs. The term comes from the earlier practice of using “a canary in a coal mine” to test for toxic gas. If the bird died or was visibly damaged, the miners knew it was still unsafe to enter the mine. See build, canary network and chrome canary.

Why is it called canary testing?

Understanding Canary Tests The term comes from coal mining and the expression ‘canary in the coal mine’. Canary birds have a lower tolerance to toxic gases than humans, so they were used to warn miners when these gases reached dangerous levels in the mine.

What is the purpose of using canary? With Canary deployments, software organizations can not only mitigate the damage caused by releasing a faulty software update, but also quickly and easily roll back that update. If your organization is not reaping the benefits of canary implementations, you should start as soon as possible.

Why is the canary bet called canary? Motivation. The canary release technique was inspired by the fact that canary birds were once used in coal mines to warn miners when poisonous gases reached dangerous levels. Somewhat gruesomely, the gases would kill the canary before killing the miners. However, this was a warning to get out of the mining tunnels.

What is a canary strategy?

A canary deployment is a deployment strategy where an application or service is released incrementally to a subset of users. All infrastructure in a target environment is updated in small increments (for example: 2%, 25%, 75%, 100%).

What is the purpose of canary? The canary deployment strategy is widely used because it reduces the risk of moving changes into production while reducing the need for additional infrastructure. Organizations using Canary can test the new release in a live production environment, while not simultaneously exposing all users to the latest release.

Is my Chrome being monitored?

Review policies If your browser is managed, you can find the policies set by your organization. Type chrome://policy in the address bar and press Enter. If you’re an administrator, learn more about Chrome Enterprise for a business or school.

How can you tell if your browser is managed by your organization?

How do I prevent Chrome from checking? Turn “Do Not Track” on or off

  • Open Chrome on your computer.
  • At the top right, click More. Institutions.
  • Click Privacy and Security. Cookies and Other Site Data.
  • Enable or disable Send a “Do Not Track” request with your browsing traffic.

Why is my personal Chrome browser managed?

If your Chrome browser displays the message “Managed by your organization,” it could mean one of two things. Either you are using a work computer and your IT team/management is responsible for Chrome’s policies, or you have a PUP (Potentially Unwanted Program) that changes Google Chrome’s settings.

How do I prevent my Chrome browser from being managed? To remove the Chrome Browser management policy from a Windows device, clear the Chrome registry settings and restart Chrome Browser. For more information about clearing the registry, see Microsoft’s documentation. Delete the registry keys: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Google\Chrome.

Can I be tracked on Chrome?

Every time a user logs into Google Chrome to browse the web, various websites can collect sensitive data from users and track their devices. Due to the default setting of a browser’s tracking feature, many websites can track users’ devices and access their information.

How do I know if my browser is being tracked? Panoptic click. Panopticlick is one of the first sites to check out. Panopticlick analyzes your current browser settings, including add-ons and extensions, to measure how many trackers are tracking your browsing session.

Does Chrome track you in incognito?

Incognito does not store any of your browsing history, cookies and site data, or information entered into forms on your device. This means your activity won’t appear in your Chrome browser history, so people who also use your device won’t see your activity.

Can you see your incognito history? To view your incognito browsing history, you can use tools like the DNS cache or third-party software to recover your private browsing data. While there’s no easy way to view the sites you’ve visited incognito, such as viewing your history in your browser, the DNS cache is a good place to start.

Is Google Chrome Canary safe?

That’s important to know, since Google Chrome Canary is not a stable browser. If you decide to use it, expect the unexpected, from broken functions to regular crashes. It may look like Chrome, but under the hood, numerous code changes are being tested to make the Google Chrome browser better to use.

What is the difference between Chrome and Chrome Canary? The Dev channel gives you a 9-12 week preview. Canary is an early, experimental version of the Chrome browser that is only recommended for advanced testing. Channels do not share installation locations or user profiles with each other.

Is Google Canary better than Chrome? Stable is the regular Chrome that most users use. Canary is just a much newer release that hasn’t been tested as well, but has all the latest shiny stuff. After a while, the version released in the canary channel gets all the bugs fixed, then filters down to dev and then to the beta and stable releases.

Should you use Chrome Canary?

Google Chrome Canary is a great tool for developers and engineers to test new Google Chrome features. It also has privacy protections that the standard version of Google Chrome doesn’t have, as well as extensions if you want them.

Does Chrome Canary use less RAM? If you use Chrome and are concerned about this, you are not alone. While most people immediately switch to alternative browsers, there is something you can do about it. You can now minimize Chrome’s RAM usage via an experimental flag with Chrome Canary.

Does Chrome Canary track you? Nightly Chrome canary builds can now track user interests and run ad auctions. Enlarge / The Privacy Sandbox Settings.

What does Google Chrome Canary do?

Chrome Canary is the very first step in the development process of Google Chrome and is on the frontier of the internet. It includes all the latest updates and features you should expect in future releases of Chrome.

Is Canary better than Chrome?

Chrome Canary is also a better environment for developers than other Chrome channels because it contains features, flags, and APIs that are new and untested. For example, at the time of writing, any JS written in the console in Dev tools is immediately evaluated.

. The beta channel gives you a 4 to 6 week preview of features coming to the stable version of the Chrome browser. The Dev channel gives you a 9-12 week preview. Canary is an early, experimental version of the Chrome browser that is only recommended for advanced testing.

What is the difference between technical SEO and SEO?

Technical SEO involves making sure your website’s code is clean and effective, while on-page SEO has to do with the way your website is laid out. You could say that technical SEO focuses on performance, while on-page SEO focuses on content.

What is a technical SEO? Technical SEO refers to website and server optimizations that help search engine spiders crawl and index your site more effectively (to help improve organic rankings).

What is the difference between SEO and technical SEO? Technical SEO is a catchall for SEO improvements that don’t fall into the other two categories. These changes have to do with the code behind the scenes on your website. Getting your technical SEO right when it’s bad can give you a small but significant boost in rankings. A simple example is site speed.