Why SEO experts recommend PWAs
Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) are on the rise and making waves. Since their introduction by Google back in 2015, they have grown to be one of our favorite techniques to build websites with, for all the obvious reasons.
But, with all the buzz surrounding PWAs there is considerable confusion about their search engine optimization (SEO) benefits. From “PWAs can’t be indexed by search engines” and “PWAs don’t have caching benefits” all the way to “PWAs don't have any advantage in Google Search”. The truth is PWAs offer indirect benefits that can boost your SEO efforts and help you jump ahead in SEO rankings.
Before we dive into the SEO benefits, let’s take a quick refresher about what PWAs are.
What are PWAs again?
A PWA is the best of two worlds. It is a website, with all of its approachable characteristics and platform-free development, and a native mobile app with high-end functionalities and experiences. In Alex Russell’s, who coined the term “PWAs”, words, they’re “websites that took all the right vitamins”.
The SEO benefits
Search engines work by crawling hundreds of millions of webpages with their own web crawlers. Webpages that have been discovered by the engines during the crawling process are stored and organized into a data structure called an index. Once a webpage is in the index, it’s in the queue to be displayed as a result of relevant content queries. Then search engines rank those that best answer a searcher's query, from most relevant to least relevant.
As you can see, the backbone of search engines is their ability to crawl and index. That’s why the foundation of successful SEO begins with ensuring that your website is crawl-friendly and indexable. PWAs help improve your SEO efforts and your competitiveness by offering better crawlability, indexability and better caching.
Speed up your indexability
PWAs are mobile-friendly and load fast, which can help boost your indexability and ranking in search engine results. One of our clients, Waterstoring.nl had a major upgrade to a PWA in 2018. Now, the website ranks number 1 in search results and has an uptime of 99.99%.
For even better indexing, our advice is to implement Schema.org data in your PWA. Schema markup creates an enhanced description (commonly known as a rich snippet). By creating a structured data markup schema, you give a clue to web crawlers about your website’s content. If your website is well-rated overall it might show up as a featured snippet in the future. This is basically a summary of an answer to search queries displayed on top of search results.
Lower your bounce rate
Bounce rate is a determining factor in ranking reputation on the web. Your bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who exit your website immediately after landing on it. The higher the bounce rate, the more likely that your website will experience steep dropouts in SEO rankings. That’s why rapid loading and performance of your website are crucial.
PWAs are designed to load instantly and improve page-load speed even on flaky network conditions or offline. All thanks to the underlying technology behind PWAs.
Increase your visibility
PWAs have an immensely wide reach, because they are web-based. This makes PWAs SEO friendly and easily discoverable. Each webpage has its own unique URL, which makes even deeply embedded pages easily crawlable and discoverable by search engines. These unique URLs also make sharing on social media and other sites effortless.
There’s no shortcut to appearing on the first page of search engines. You have to put in the hard yards. Investing in PWAs makes your website crawler-friendly, more indexable and allows for a better web search experience. There is no better time to start than now.