Dark Mode: SEO Edition

With Apple’s newest update, dark mode settings are something developers should be thinking about, especially the majority of the users actually like this setting. Recently, Google’s John Mueller discussed whether or not there are considerations, specifically on the SEO side of things, for websites with dark mode settings.

This topic came up during one of the Google Hangouts held by Google Webmaster Central on October 18. Here is the question that was submitted that brought up this topic:

“We want to implement a dark mode for our website. Do we consider anything in relation to SEO?”

Personally, Mueller himself is a fan of the dark mode trend and thinks its cool. He also mentioned that it is not something he expected users would have ever wanted from websites.

When it comes to search engine optimization, there are no problems when it comes to websites using Dark Mode. In addition, there are also no special considerations, at least on Google’s side. The Dark Mode setting is handled by CSS, and the way CSS is implemented on any website does not affect how Google crawls content for indexing.

Mueller also added that if moving forward, Dark Mode becomes widely implemented on websites, it makes sense to serve dark mode sites to users if the device they’re searching with is also set to dark mode.

Why We Care

As developers, we always aim to provide our users the best possible experience when they visit our websites. But we also have to consider the fact that we have to play by the rules of search engines to not get penalized and have our rankings drop. But it’s good to know that with the newest setting – Dark Mode – can be used without any repercussion. 

“I think this is totally cool. I really like the trend to ‘dark mode’ websites or ‘dark mode’ apps in general. It’s something that I wouldn’t have expected a few years back, that people would want to have kind of this dark mode/light mode setup. With regards to SEO that’s absolutely not a problem. Usually people implement this using CSS, and the way you implement things in CSS doesn’t affect how we would pick things up for indexing. So go for it, I think that’s really awesome. I don’t think dark mode would be a ranking factor. So, maybe, at some point in the future if dark mode is really, really popular then maybe we would need to highlight dark mode sites in search when people have their phone set up to dark mode. But I don’t know if that would actually happen, or if it will really go that far.”

John Mueller

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