Mobile SEO Trends – 2018
As we move further into 2018, here are some mobile SEO trends that would continue from the last year and the new ones that are emerging and are here for stay for some time.
For those who are excitedly waiting for the launch of Google’s mobile-first index, it could well be this year!
Progressive Web Apps (PWAs)
PWAs will continue to grow bigger in 2018.
For those of you who are new to mobile SEO, PWAs are websites that have the features of a native app but live on the web. Web apps can easily function as PWAs by adding a couple of extra files and a little more functionality.
This points to a shift from native app development to PWAs. Android’s treatment of PWAs are almost the same as native apps and you would soon see them in the Google Play Store. Google has also begun to move many specific-interest web resources into PWAs, such as Sports, Traffic, Restaurants, Weather, Maps-Go and Weather PWA.
What makes PWAs unique is eliminating the need for deep links from the websites into the apps and from apps to websites. This was a challenge for large businesses that don’t have similar app and website content.
Since PWAs will be available in Google Play with native apps, Android users likely won’t be able to discriminate between the two. Google may even start preferring PWA content over deep links, just as they have done for AMP content.
As more PWAs appear in Google Play and are indexed on the web, it could become easier to add app logos to SERPs for both Android and iOS. This will improve the appearance, CTR and engagement of the PWA links.
App Store Optimization
Recent changes to the Google Play app algorithm show an improved focus on app performance, efficiency, engagement and reviews as compared to the importance of app metadata. We may see a merging between Google Play and regular SERPs. With the addition of PWAs to the Google Play Store, native Android apps will be up against PWA websites in terms of performance. However, it will also mean that PWAs may be subject to ranking fluctuations based on user reviews and star ratings. So far, Apple was not open to allowing Safari to support PWAs, but last year, Apple made it clear that Safari would soon support the Service Worker files that make PWAs so useful. This endorsement of PWAs may indicate that the next Safari update may start supporting PWAs.
Another big trend this year could be cross-device convergence. With an increasing number of connected devices and a blurring line between app and web merges on mobile, 2018 could see a merge of desktop and the Internet of Things. As more information moves to the cloud, the transition from one device to another will become seamless where the state, history and status of the interaction on all devices will be maintained simultaneously. Developers’ focus would move to testing data integrations of one app across many different devices, from testing multiple, device-specific apps on multiple devices. scared You can see glimpses of this convergence when you look at the changes that came with Windows 10. The desktop OS looks much more like an Android phone. Microsoft announced in December ‘17 that Service Workers, push notifications and local cache will all also be enabled by default in Microsoft’s new Edge browser. PWAs and Android apps are already there in the Windows app store.
Incorporating different types of potential search results into an index is not easy. A mobile-first index will mix together websites, apps, PWAs and other data sets that may not have URLs, and this is where structured data markup will come in.
Google may organize the new index with unique identifiers, including web URLs and app URIs. But, for content without a unique identifier, like an asset in a database, Google may allow “Dynamic Links” as their unique identifier to allow indexing.
In short, exciting times ahead!
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