In the past, the world of SEO was simple – optimization professionals could rely on a set of rules and techniques that delivered quality results every single time. Today, things are a bit more complex. SEO became truly diversified in the summer of 2015 when Google App Indexing became widely available for use by anyone.
What exactly is Google App Indexing and how does it affect the world of SEO? What is its influence on commerce and businesses? This new development expands the frontiers of optimization, making things a bit more challenging but also more exciting.
Google App Indexing was announced for the first time in October 2013 – when it became available to a select group of users. The new system gave developers the ability to reach potential users directly from Google Search results. While using Google Search on smartphones and tablets, Android and iOS users could see results that would take them directly to an app. Traditionally, these users would only see URLs for various web pages.
In June 2014, app indexing was expanded to all of the Google users and later on, Google added support service. The aim of the support was to provide users recommendations on which apps to install.
What does this mean? In essence, Google users can install apps directly from their search bar. Apps have to rank for specific keywords in order to appear on the search engine results page (SERP), just like websites.
App indexing gives search engine professionals brand new opportunities to help their customers.
Searches comprised solely of web pages, videos and images, but also feature relevant app suggestions. As long as the app has some keyword-relevant content, getting it to reach the top of the SERP is far from an impossible task.
Google isn’t the only search engine that gives its users such tools. Bing has enabled app searches, as well and the trend is growing larger every single day. The only difference between Google and Bing is the sheer volume of searches.
Mobile search is becoming more and more diversified. Its prominence has grown with the overwhelming expansion of smart mobile devices. According to the Pew Research Center’s 2015 statistics, two-thirds of Americans own a smartphone and of these, 15 percent say that they have limited options or no other option for going online.
Nearly 53 percent of the people across the world are smartphone owners. The projected global mobile data traffic is expected to reach 30.6EB (exabyte) per month by 2020. To put this into perspective, one exabyte is equal to a billion gigabytes.
These numbers simply indicate that the mobile crowd is huge and will only continue to grow. These users are an important audience that many companies are not yet targeting. Through effective mobile and app SEO, a business’ reach can increase exponentially. Needless to say, the approach can be expected to have a very high return on investment.
Companies can improve their overall online presence and reach a bigger audience through an effective app indexing strategy. The rules of getting an app indexed among relevant search engine results aren’t that different from traditional SEO requirements.
Google has already provided directions and detailed guidelines about what it takes to make apps indexing-ready. Most experienced developers are already familiar with the specifics. To benefit from the opportunity, you’ll simply need to partner up with a developer that knows what it takes to address the technical and optimization requirements.
Tracking the effectiveness of app indexing is also an easy task. Google provides extensive reports that give businesses a good idea of what users are looking for and whether or not their content is effectively optimized for the respective searches. The support is solely available for Android apps right now but chances are that this will change in the future.
App indexing provides a viable solution to a problem that companies and developers have been struggling with for a long time. Before the service existed, many businesses wondered how people were going to find their apps. Let’s face it – the app store search favors certain developments and leaves so many others away from the spotlight. As a result, numerous quality developments maintain a very low number of downloads, which in turn does not lead to monetization or popularity.
Google App Indexing is yet another confirmation that the days of old school SEO are over. Mobile has already become huge and new developments within this optimization field are nothing but natural.
Google has already announced that it will be providing a ranking boost to companies that have their website and the respective app optimized. It’s simply an incentive for businesses to expand their mobile presence and make use of the new opportunities.
How will app search evolve? It’s still too early to tell. We’re still in the first stages of app indexing and just like every other algorithm change, it will probably continue to be modified. One thing is certain – experts that were predicting the death of apps have been proven wrong time and time again, and Google’s mobile search modification is just another piece of evidence.
On Yavin is the Founder and CEO of Online Performance. He is an expert in search engine optimization (SEO) with years of experience in Web and mobile marketing.