Google: Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) Have No Advantage In Search

Dec 21, 2017 - 7:41 am 4 by

Mobile App Girl

A Google Webmaster Help thread has someone saying that his vendor is pitching him on making a PWA, progressive web app, for his web site, over responsive because Google prefers PWAs and will thus rank them better.

Google's John Mueller said this is false and said in plain English, "PWAs currently don't have any advantage in Google Search." He added, "and as far as I know, there are no plans to change this."

Of course, PWAs are a Google based idea and has been really been the trend these days, even over native mobile apps. But PWAs over responsive? No, it is PWAs over native mobile apps if anything. Some sites are going with AMP and PWAs and ditching responsive, some even more extreme sites are going completely PWAs. But going PWAs has its own SEO challenges and can actually cause issues.

That being said, here is the full message John shared:

Just to follow up here on this. PWAs currently don't have any advantage in Google Search (and as far as I know, there are no plans to change this). They can be fantastic ways to quickly create websites that are fast & interactive, and can provide cool functionality like offline access & notifications, but they don't have any inherent advantage in search. One common approach to creating PWAs is to use client-side-rendering (essentially a bare-bones HTML page with JavaScript that creates all of the content & functionality); these kinds of sites can be rendered and indexed by Google, but it's usually much trickier than a static HTML site. For example, you need to watch out for supported functionality (often handled via polyfills - a kind of patch to support newer functionality in older browsers), and be aware that not all SEO tools currently support rendered pages (though there are some that do this too).

This can result in a kind of trade-off between easier development and nice UIs, but tricker handling of SEO. Also, other search engines, social media, and chat services do handle this in differing ways too, in case that's a priority for your site. Regardless, I'm certain that the future will bring more and more of these kinds of sites, so as an SEO it's great to get started on understanding them early on; and as a front-end developer, it's important to learn the basics of SEO too. These are certainly valuable skills & experiences that will be in higher demand, so making a non-critical site to practice with would be my first recommendation.

If you're keen on discussing this topic with others who work on these kinds of sites & wonder about SEO, I'd recommend dropping by!forum/js-sites-wg . There's more in our developer documentation at . There have also recently been interesting blog posts with experience-reports by a variety of experts, so I'd watch out for those too.

Have fun, break stuff, experiment, but don't do any of this stuff with blindfolds on.

Forum discussion at Google Webmaster Help.


Popular Categories

The Pulse of the search community


Search Video Recaps

Google Core Update Coming, Ranking Volatility, Bye Search Notes, AI Overviews, Ads & More - YouTube
Video Details More Videos Subscribe to Videos

Most Recent Articles

Search Forum Recap

Daily Search Forum Recap: July 24, 2024

Jul 24, 2024 - 10:00 am
Google Updates

Google Search Ranking Algorithm Volatility - July 23rd

Jul 24, 2024 - 7:51 am
Google Search Engine Optimization

SEO Poll: 54% Of SEOs Saw Positive Effects From Google Updates

Jul 24, 2024 - 7:41 am
Google Ads

New Google Local Service Ads Budget Options

Jul 24, 2024 - 7:31 am
Google News

Google Ad Revenue Up 11% - $64.62 Billion In Ad Revenue

Jul 24, 2024 - 7:21 am

Google Outlines Videos In Search Results

Jul 24, 2024 - 7:11 am
Previous Story: Google: IPv6 & HTTP/2 Works But You Should Also Support IPv4 & HTTP/1.x