This topic came up during the Google Webmaster Central hangout on October 18. With dark mode settings for websites growing in popularity, it was only a matter of time before Mueller was asked about this.
Here is the question that was submitted:
“We want to implement a dark mode for our website. Do we have to consider anything in relation to SEO?”
Mueller begins his response by saying he’s personally a fan of the dark mode trend. He thinks it’s cool and not something he expected users would have ever wanted from websites.
When it comes to SEO, there are no problems with using dark mode. There are also no special considerations. Dark mode is handled by CSS, and the way CSS is implemented on a website doesn’t affect how Google crawls content for indexing.
Dark Mode as a Ranking Factor?
Mueller made sure to clarify that dark mode is not a ranking factor. Though he lightheartedly entertained the idea that perhaps it could be one day.
If dark mode becomes widely implemented on websites, Mueller said it might make sense to serve dark mode sites to users if the phone they’re searching with is also set to dark mode.
To be clear, Mueller says he doubts that will actually happen, but it’s still interesting to think about.
Hear Mueller’s full response in the video below, starting at the 28:39 mark:
“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.”
Matt Southern has been the lead news writer at Search Engine Journal since 2013. With a degree in communications, Matt has an uncanny ability to make the most complex subject matter easy to understand. When he’s not ferociously following and covering the search industry, he’s busy writing SEO-friendly copy that converts.