Aug 25 2019

Progressive Web Apps and SEO: What you need to know

Posted by Charisma Felix

With the continuous increase in mobile users nowadays, businesses need to shift the focus of their digital marketing strategies from their desktop sites to mobile sites. Many people prefer using their smartphones to make a search query because it is more convenient. Smartphones are easier to operate and it is accessible, unlike a desktop computer. So, if you are going to create a website, make sure it is mobile-friendly. One way to do it is to create a Progressive Web App.

 

What is a Progressive Web App?

Progressive Web App (PWA) is a web application that works like a native app from Google Play Store. It is designed in a way that it would be possible for mobile users to access a website on a slow internet connection or even without an internet connection at all! How is this possible? Using an app shell or a service worker. Remember all the times that you downloaded all those apps from the Google Play Store, and it downloads data and information first before you can use it? This is how an app shell works and a service worker works. It “caches” content for the user to be able to use the PWA offline. It is important to note that app shells and service worker are two different things. App shells are commonly used at “single-page applications” with heavy JavaScript architectures, and it allows a user to instantly load the “skeleton” of a page without the use of an internet connection. When you finally connect to a stable internet connection, it uses a service worker to load and cache the content. This is very convenient because you can just wait to load the entire content of a website and view it later.

The only difference of a PWA from a native app is that a PWA can be directly installed from the website itself. It does not undergo through the complex process of installing a native app from the Play Store. Mobile users can save the installed PWA on their phones and access it through a browser anytime.

 

Misconception About PWAs

Even though PWAs have great capabilities of improving the user experience, they are still frowned upon most SEO and digital marketing experts. Why? Leading search engines like Google are having a hard time indexing mobile sites that are heavily-reliant on JavaScript before. Google does “index client-rendered HTML” before; however, it is not perfect yet. The tendency is that the mobile site is going to be held temporarily at Google’s list of indexed websites and it will be reviewed later. This can affect your SEO because other websites without PWA will be indexed first and they have better chances of getting higher rankings.

Every negative connotation about PWAs became invalid thanks to the continuous updates and upgrades on Google’s algorithm. Nowadays, Google now creates a feature that enables web developers to block the Googlebot from crawling their website’s JavaScript or CSS files. In this way, it would easier for its crawlers to understand the content of a mobile site and index it for its ranking. Another way for Google to index PWAs is to create a new URL for it so that the Googlebot can easily crawl on it.

 

How PWAs Can Boost SEO

If the PWA is done right, then it can definitely help boost your SEO efforts. Here are some of the benefits of using PWA:

  1.   Increased Mobile Speed

One of the requirements for getting high ranks in search engines is having fast loading pages. More visitors will be attracted to stay and explore your website with fast loading pages because they will be able to view easily the information that they needed. Your web developer does not need to implement advanced mobile development techniques like compression and fast cached content anymore with a PWA. Thanks to its pre-caching feature, it can instantly load pages of a mobile site.

  1.   Promote User Engagement

There are four features of PWA that can help promote user engagement and boost SEO:

  •         Responsive design – Users can easily access a website on any device. 
  •         Push Notifications – Notifications that appear when the PWA is not opened. It includes updates that prompts users to click it and revisit the site
  •         Cross-browser compatibility – Enables a user to open a mobile site on any browser.
  •         Easy navigation – It would be easier for the user to look for the products and items that they are looking for.

 

  1.   Optimised URLs

PWA use unique URLs on each of a website’s pages and this makes it easier for search engines to crawl and index a mobile site. Plus, in PWA, it is required to use HTTPS. Users are less likely to click on the back button once they found that your mobile site is secured.

 

Conclusion

As search engines continue to evolve throughout the years, it is important for digital marketers to embrace new technologies like PWA in order to boost their SEO efforts. PWAs can help improve user experience. Remember, Google is finding ways that can better serve the users thus an improved user experience is a huge plus in their website rankings.

If you are having trouble optimising your mobile and desktop site for SEO, an SEO company in Singapore can help you out! With their knowledge and experience, they can help search for the most effective keywords that is related to your business and use them to optimise your mobile and desktop site. Check out their SEO packages in Singapore to learn more about their services.


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