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Building Indexable Progressive Web Apps

Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) are profiting from new applied sciences to convey the very best of cellular websites and native purposes to customers — they usually’re one of the thrilling new concepts on the internet. But to really have an effect, it is necessary that they’re indexable and linkable. Every suggestion offered on this article is an current finest observe for indexability — no matter whether or not you are constructing a Progressive Web App or a easy static web site. Nonetheless, we now have collated these finest practices to supply a guidelines to information you:

Make Your Content Crawlable

Why? Historically, web sites would at all times generate or render their HTML on the server which is the only approach to make sure your content material is immediately linkable. Web purposes popularised the idea of client-side rendering through which content material is up to date dynamically on the web page because the customers navigates with out requiring the web page to be reloaded.

The fashionable method is hybrid rendering, through which server-side rendering is used when a person navigates on to a URL and client-side rendering is used after the preliminary web page load for subsequent navigation and asynchronous requests.

Our server-side PWA pattern demonstrates pure server-side rendering, whereas our hybrid PWA pattern demonstrates the mixed method.

If you might be unfamiliar with the server-side and client-side rendering terminology, take a look at these articles on the internet learn right here and right here.

Best Practice:

Use server-side or hybrid rendering so customers obtain the content material within the preliminary payload of their internet request.

Always guarantee your URLs are independently accessible:

The above ought to deep hyperlink to that specific useful resource.

If you possibly can’t help server-side or hybrid rendering on your Progressive Web App and also you resolve to make use of client-side rendering, we advocate utilizing the Google Search Console “Fetch as Google instrument” to confirm your content material efficiently renders for our search crawler.


Don’t redirect customers accessing deep hyperlinks again to your internet app’s homepage.

Additionally, serving an error web page to customers as a substitute of deep linking also needs to be averted.

Provide Clean URLs

Why? Fragment identifiers (#person/24601/ or #!person/24601/) had been an efficient workaround for browsers to AJAX new content material from a server with out reloading the web page. This design is called client-side rendering.

However, the fragment identifier syntax isn’t suitable with some internet instruments, frameworks and protocols similar to Facebook’s Open Graph protocol.

The History API permits us to replace the URL with out fragment identifiers whereas nonetheless fetching assets asynchronously and due to this fact avoiding web page reloads — it’s the very best of each worlds. The AJAX crawling scheme (with its #! / escaped-fragment URLs) made sense at its time, however is now now not really helpful.

Our hybrid PWA and client-side PWA samples show the History API.

Best Practice:

Provide clear URLs with out fragment identifiers (# or #!) similar to:

If utilizing client-side or hybrid rendering you should definitely help browser navigation with the History API.


Using the #! URL construction to drive distinctive URLs is discouraged:!product/25/

It was launched as a workaround earlier than the arrival of the History API. It is taken into account a separate sample to the purely # URL construction.


Using the # URL construction with out the accompanying ! image is unsupported:

This URL construction is already an idea within the internet and pertains to deep linking into content material on a selected web page.

Specify Canonical URLs

Why? The finest option to get rid of confusion for indexing when the identical content material is accessible underneath a number of URLs (be it the identical or completely different domains) is to mark one web page because the canonical, and all different pages that duplicate that content material to consult with it.

Best Practice:

Include the next tag throughout all pages mirroring a selected piece of content material:

If you might be supporting Accelerated Mobile Pages you should definitely accurately use its counterpart rel=”amphtml” instruction as properly.


Avoid purposely duplicating content material throughout a number of URLs and never utilizing the rel=”canonical” hyperlink component.

For instance, the rel=”canonical” hyperlink component can scale back ambiguity for URLs with monitoring parameters.


Avoid creating conflicting canonical references between your pages.

Design for Multiple Devices

Why? It’s necessary that every one your customers get the very best expertise doable when viewing your web site, no matter their gadget.

Make your website responsive in its design — fonts, margins, paddings, buttons and basic design of your website ought to scale dynamically primarily based on display screen resolutions and gadget viewports.

Small photos scaled up for desktop or pill units give a poor expertise. Conversely, tremendous excessive decision photos take a very long time to obtain on cellphones and should influence cellular scroll efficiency.

Read extra UX for PWAs right here.

Best Practice:

Use “srcset” attribute to fetch completely different decision photos for various density screens to keep away from downloading photos bigger than the gadget’s display screen is able to displaying.

Scale your font measurement and line top to make sure your textual content is legible irrespective of the scale of the gadget. Similarly make sure the padding and margins of parts additionally scale sensibly.

Test numerous display screen resolutions utilizing the Chrome Developer Tool’s Device Mode function and Mobile Friendly Test instrument.


Don’t present completely different content material to customers than you present to Google. If you utilize redirects or person agent detection (a.okay.a. browser sniffing or dynamic serving) to change the design of your website for various units it’s necessary that the content material itself stays the identical.

Use the Search Console “Fetch as Google” instrument to confirm the content material fetched by Google matches the content material a person sees.

For usability causes, keep away from utilizing fixed-size fonts.

Develop Iteratively

Why? One of the most secure paths to take when including options to an internet software is to make modifications iteratively. If you add options one after the other you possibly can observe the influence of every particular person change.

Alternatively many builders favor to view their progressive internet software as a possibility to overtake their cellular website in a single fell swoop — growing the brand new internet app in an remoted setting and swapping it with their current cellular website as soon as prepared.

When growing options iteratively attempt to break the modifications into separate items. For instance, should you intend to maneuver from server-side rendering to hybrid rendering then deal with that as a single iteration — reasonably than together with different options.

Both approaches have their very own execs and cons. Iterating reduces the complexity of coping with search indexability because the transition is steady. However, iterating may lead to a slower growth course of and probably a much less revolutionary overhaul if growth just isn’t ranging from scratch.

In both case, probably the most delicate areas to regulate are your canonical URLs and your website’s robots.txt configuration.

Best Practice:

Iterate in your web site incrementally by including new options piece by piece.

For instance, if don’t help HTTPS but then begin by migrating to a safe website.


If you’ve developed your progressive internet app in an remoted setting, then keep away from launching it with out checking the rel-canonical hyperlinks and robots.txt are setup appropriately.

Ensure your rel-canonical hyperlinks level to the actual website and that your robots.txt configuration permits crawlers to crawl your new website.


It’s logical to forestall crawlers from indexing your in-development website earlier than launch however don’t neglect to unblock crawlers from accessing your new website once you launch.

Use Progressive Enhancement

Why? Wherever doable it’s necessary to detect browser options earlier than utilizing them. Feature detection can also be higher than testing for browsers that you simply imagine help a given function.

A typical unhealthy observe up to now was to allow or disable options by testing which browser the person had. However, as browsers are consistently evolving with options this system is strongly discouraged.

Service Worker is a comparatively new know-how and it’s necessary to not break compatibility within the pursuit of progress — it is an ideal instance of when to make use of progressive enhancement.

Best Practice:

Before registering a Service Worker verify for the supply of its API:

if ('serviceWorker' in navigator) {

Use per API detection technique for all of your web site’s options.


Never use the browser’s person agent to allow or disable options in your internet app. Always verify whether or not the function’s API is accessible and gracefully degrade if unavailable.

Avoid updating or launching your website with out testing throughout a number of browsers! Check your website analytics to study which browsers are hottest amongst your person base.

Test with Search Console

Why? It’s necessary to know how Google Search views your website’s content material. You can use Search Console to fetch particular person URLs out of your website and see how Google Search views them utilizing the “Crawl > Fetch as Google“ function. Search Console will course of your JavaScript and render the web page when that possibility is chosen; in any other case solely the uncooked HTML response is proven

Google Search Console additionally analyses the content material in your web page in a wide range of methods together with detecting the presence of Structured Data, Rich Cards, Sitelinks & Accelerated Mobile Pages.

Best Practice:

Monitor your website utilizing Search Console and discover its options together with “Fetch as Google”.

Provide a Sitemap by way of Search Console “Crawl > Sitemaps” It may be an efficient approach to make sure Google Search is conscious of all of your website’s pages.

Annotate with structured knowledge

Why? structured knowledge is a versatile vocabulary for summarizing a very powerful components of your web page as machine-processable knowledge. This may be as basic as merely saying that a web page is a NewsArticle, or as particular as detailing the situation, band title, venue and ticket vendor for a touring band, or summarizing the substances and steps for a recipe.

The use of this metadata might not make sense for each web page in your internet software nevertheless it’s really helpful the place it’s smart. Google extracts it after the web page is rendered.

There are a wide range of knowledge sorts together with “NewsArticle”, “Recipe” & “Product” to call a number of. Explore all of the supported knowledge sorts right here.

Best Practice:

Verify that your meta knowledge is appropriate utilizing Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool.

Check that the info you offered is showing and there aren’t any errors current.


Avoid utilizing an information sort that doesn’t match your web page’s precise content material. For instance don’t use “Recipe” for a T-Shirt you’re promoting — use “Product” as a substitute.

Annotate with Open Graph & Twitter Cards

Why? In addition to the metadata it may be useful so as to add help for Facebook’s Open Graph protocol and Twitter wealthy playing cards as properly.

These metadata codecs enhance the person expertise when your content material is shared on their corresponding social networks.

If your current website or internet software utilises these codecs it’s necessary to make sure they’re included in your progressive internet software as properly for optimum virality.

Best Practice:

Test your Open Graph markup with the Facebook Object Debugger Tool.

Familiarise your self with Twitter’s metadata format.


Don’t neglect to incorporate these codecs in case your current website helps them.

Test with Multiple Browsers

Why? Clearly from a person perspective it’s necessary that a web site behaviors the identical throughout all browsers. While the expertise may adapt for various display screen sizes all of us anticipate a cellular website to work the identical on equally sized units whether or not it’s an iPhone or an Android cell phone.

While the online may be perceived as fragmented on account of variety of browsers in use around the globe, this selection and competitors is a part of what makes the online such an revolutionary platform. Thankfully, internet requirements have by no means been extra mature than they’re now and fashionable instruments allow builders to construct wealthy, cross browser suitable web sites with confidence.

Best Practice:

Use cross browser testing instruments similar to, or to make sure your PWA is cross browser suitable.

Measure Page Load Performance

Why? The quicker a web site hundreds for a person the higher their person expertise will likely be. Optimizing for web page pace is already a well-known focus in internet growth however typically when growing a brand new model of a website the required optimizations aren’t thought of a excessive precedence.

When growing a progressive internet software we advocate measuring the efficiency of your web page load pace and optimizing earlier than launching the positioning for the very best outcomes.

Best Practice:

Use instruments similar to Page Speed Insights and Web Page Test to measure the web page load efficiency of your website. While Googlebot has a bit extra persistence in rendering, analysis has proven that 40% of customers will go away a web page that takes longer than three seconds to load..

Read extra about our internet web page efficiency suggestions and the vital rendering path right here.


Avoid leaving optimization as a post-launch step. If your web site’s content material hundreds rapidly earlier than migrating to a brand new progressive internet software then it’s necessary to not regress in your optimizations.

We hope that the above guidelines is helpful and offers the precise steering that can assist you develop your Progressive Web Applications with indexability in thoughts.

As you get began, you should definitely take a look at our Progressive Web App indexability samples that show server-side, client-side and hybrid rendering. As at all times, if in case you have any questions, please attain out on our Webmaster Forums.

This article sources info from Google Webmaster Central Blog

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