All of the insights I’ve shared thus far have been relegated to optimizing websites for mobile browsers, but there’s another form of user interaction on mobile devices you should be preparing your business for: apps. Apps have surged in popularity, just as mobile devices have, and there’s no sign that their growth has an end point. In fact, they’re responsible for much more mobile use than web browsers.
(Image Source: SmartInsights)
To address this, Google’s been implementing a number of functions and updates for what’s becoming known as “app SEO,” including the basic presence of apps in search engines, app deep linking to take users to specific screens within apps downloaded on their devices, and even app streaming, which allows users to access apps they haven’t downloaded.
It’s not entirely certain whether apps may one day replace traditional websites, but they are becoming more important and they’re presenting more opportunities for marketers. Keep a close eye on their development as you fine-tune your strategic approach for mobile users.
Google offers a specific, easy-to-integrate API that will ensure your app is seen and indexed by its search algorithm. However, Android and iOS apps are treated a little differently. Namely, for Android apps, if a user searches for a term specific to your app and has not yet downloaded it, he/she will see it appear in mobile search results. Those who already have the app installed will get Google autocomplete suggestions, along with deep links to content within the app. For iOS, things are a little less beneficial; mobile search visibility only applies for users who have already downloaded the app.
Either way, applying the app indexing API is relatively simple. You can think about it in three steps:
That being said, Android and iOS apps do require a bit of a different approach.
To get your Android app’s content properly indexed:
For iOS, the process is a little different:
You may have noticed that one of the biggest parts of implementing app indexing is associating an app with a particular website. So what happens if your app has no corresponding website? Unfortunately, do to Google’s current structures and limitations, it is not possible to index your app. However, they are working on developing a new way to index and display app-only content. If you’re interested in being one of the first volunteers for the feature, you can use this form to apply.