The web app manifest is a simple JSON file that tells the browser about your web application and how it should behave when ‘installed’ on the user’s mobile device or desktop, such as when the user adds the website to their iPhone or Android home screen. I know that the manifest file should be added to the HTML tag like the following example:

<link rel="manifest" href="/favicons/manifest.json>

My question is what if the link mentioned is a 404 link? What is the impact of that on the website SEO?

  • I've never heard of a a search engine using that manifest file before, Why do you think it will have an SEO effect rather than just an effect on users? – Stephen Ostermiller Mar 12 '19 at 15:43
  • I’m just thinking about it. Broken manifest file will lead to a broken link or request in initial page loading which is affecting the page loading in away or another. I’m not saying that it will affect SERPS or page ranking but I’m asking if it will affect anything related to SEO in general? – Hazem Hagrass Mar 12 '19 at 15:49
  • Fair enough. I don't know for sure, but I would doubt it would cause any problems other possibly a reported 404 error in Google Search Console. – Stephen Ostermiller Mar 12 '19 at 15:51

The effect is the same as not having a manifest link tag at all. There is no negative effect on SEO.

As mentioned in the Google webmaster docs, 404 do not affect your site's ranking.


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  • I see. but what about page performance due to this broken link? – Hazem Hagrass Mar 12 '19 at 16:38
  • That depends on your server. Is returning a 404 page slower than a working manifest file? In the end, a 404 or working manifest file will have the same effect on page loading performance, as it seen as an external resource that must be loaded. If you are talking about service worker caching your content, that works independently of the manifest file. – Olivier Mar 12 '19 at 17:01
  • Thanks Olivier. It's more clear now – Hazem Hagrass Mar 13 '19 at 9:10

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