Google to reward sites with service worker (offline ready) in search rankings

by Michael Scharnagl

This article has been updated the last time on April 18, 2018 and the given information may be not accurate anymore. Feel free to contact me on twitter to get more details.

While this headline is not true now (April 2016) it may be a headline of the near future. This morning one of my clients asked for switching to https for their site. I tried to convince many clients, including this one, over the last years to use https for all their sites saying that it will prevent many security and privacy issues, users will have more trust in a https site and so on; They didn’t really care. At least not until Google announced to reward sites with https in search rankings. From that moment they all wanted https and they also didn’t care how much it would cost them anymore.

SEO, SEO, SEO, SEO

I have many clients who tell me regularly that they got a call or even visit from a “SEO Expert” who tries to sell them something so their sites will get a better Google ranking. Most of the advices they want to sell them are completely irrelevant (Use exactly 12 keywords per site) or even very bad (eg. Don’t use more than 3 headlines per site). Aside from that, whenever Google announces to reward sites using a specific technology they say them they have to use this technology now or they will get a worse ranking.

This happened when Google announced to reward mobile-friendly (responsive) sites, this happens now as Google rewards sites using https and it will happen in the future with other technologies like service workers.

And, this makes me a bit sad.

All of these website owners don’t care about the user, all they care about is a top rank in the search results. They don’t care if users are surfing the web on different devices and want to have a great experience with the site on all of them, they don’t care about security or privacy, they don’t care about performance or making the site “offline-ready”. You can tell them all the time about the benefits of a responsive website, about a secure website; They don’t care. However, they care immediately when this will affect their page rank.

The power of Google

Google, as a search engine has a lot of power. In Germany more than 90% are using Google search and every web site owner wants to be on top of the search results. If tomorrow, Google would announce that they will reward all sites passing an accessibility check, all the “SEO experts” will throw away their old advices and will tell clients, to make this and this, to make it pass the accessibility test. All the site owners will call their web master (or Web Ninja or whatever the cool kids say today) and tell them their site has to pass the test.

Even if the clients don’t ask for it I try to make every site as much accessible as possible – I would feel bad otherwise. Many other don’t feel bad obviously and that’s why we have a lot of inaccessible sites – if Google would penalize these sites we would probably have a lot more accessible sites.

So, yes I think, Google will reward sites using service worker in the near future as they really want to push progressive web apps and “offline-ready” sites and with rewarding such sites, many many sites will do so.

Michael Scharnagl

Portrait Michael Scharnagl

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A freelance front-end developer focusing on HTML5, CSS, progressive enhancement and web performance.