Are Progressive Web Apps the Future of Mobile?

There have been many search marketing predictions for this year, most of these following similar trends. However, this is down to Google talking about them and implementing them as ranking factors. One topic is mobile search.

As mobile search has been taking over desktop, the last two years has seen a lot of talk surrounding the subject. It is a given that being fully optimised for mobile is extremely important. If you’re not optimised, the loss of traffic can have a big impact on your business.

What is a Progressive Web App?

Progressive web apps combine the best of a website with the ease of an app and uses almost a “blind” method of searching where you open an app and see what you want based on your preferences prior. PWAs are websites that enable the app shell and configuration file to be downloaded to a smartphone and can take on the best characteristics of a native app while living on the web.

What are the benefits of Progressive Web Apps?

There are many benefits of having a Progressive Web App. From having an app icon, to a full screen display with no address bar, to fast online and offline functionality and push notifications, there are many things a Progressive Web App can do.

It’s a good tool for companies to build a bridge between discoverability on the internet and creating the same levels of engagement and satisfaction of user experience while keeping overheads to a minimum. Another benefit is that a Progressive Web App can be used either directly on the web or can be installed like a native app. This means there is less to maintain, optimise and promote.

According to Search Engine Land “It is important to remember that ‘web apps’ are basically just JavaScript-heavy websites that look like native apps, so making them function as a Progressive Web App just entails adding a couple of extra files and a little more functionality. The app development trends will start to shift away from native apps and toward PWAs as more companies begin to understand the value that PWAs can provide.

“The Android OS now treats Progressive Web Apps almost exactly like native apps, showing their resource consumption and specs in the exact same places, displaying them in the app tray, and soon, adding them to the Google Play Store. Google has also begun to transition many of their specific-interest web resources into Progressive Web Apps, including Traffic, Sports, Restaurants, Weather, Google Contribute, Maps-Go and Weather Progressive Web App.”

What makes a Progressive Web App?

Several things must be applied to be considered a Progressive Web App. It must work on any device and progress, taking advantage of any features available on a user’s device and browser. It must also be easy to discover in search engines as it is still a website – an advantage over native apps. It should have a URL and be able to retain or reloads when the use bookmarks or shares the app.

Despite this, it should still function as though it were an app. It should be built on an app shell model and have minimal page refreshes. It should also fit to a devices form factor and screen size, while maintaining usability in low connectivity or when offline. Mobile app users are more likely to reuse apps, so a Progressive Web App should be just as re-engaging. This can be done with features such as push notifications.

A Progressive Web App should be able to be installed to a devices home screen and stay fresh. Once new content is published, the user should be able to easily view it in the app. Finally, as a Progressive Web App is still a website, it needs to be safe for the user. This means it must be hosted over HTTPS to prevent attacks.

Other Benefits of a Progressive Web App?

The service of a Progressive Web App is reliable regardless of the network status. According to the developers of Google: “When launched from the user’s home screen, service workers enable a Progressive Web App to load instantly, regardless of the network state.

“A service worker, written in JavaScript, is like a client-side proxy and puts the app owner in control of the cache and how to respond to resource requests. By pre-caching key resources, they can eliminate the dependence on the network, ensuring an instant and reliable experience for their users.”

The world of SEO and web development is always changing, so having a team of experts to keep your website current and relevant is essential for a successful business. Contact Search & More today to see how we can help.

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