App Indexing – What You Need to Know

Google’s recent update enables app indexing across a wider range of devices, we look at how this can benefit online sales & organic search visibility.

As our very own Mobile Guru Martin Kelly pointed out in his informative post last month, we are now living in the age of mobile dominance in search. As such SEOs everywhere have begun to adapt their strategies for this ‘brave new world’. One aspect that is often overlooked, despite growing in importance every day, is app indexing.

So what is app indexing I hear you ask? Well it’s actually very simple.

Getting your mobile app indexed, allows users to find and access it via Google search listings. This helps to bring more traffic to your app and to your site, and, for e-commerce websites, can help to encourage direct purchases.

That seems simple enough, but why should a business go to the trouble of getting their mobile app indexed along with optimising their current site? Well, recent studies have shown that conversions are almost always higher on mobile apps than on mobile websites. The example below shows the trend in on-site conversions for both the retail and travel sectors.

As you can see, despite this being the ‘year of mobile dominance’, users are still tending towards using their mobile for research, and then making their purchases via desktop. Therefore, to take full advantage of your mobile audience, your app needs to be easily found. The first step towards bringing in new customers is getting your mobile app indexed on Google search.

Thankfully, the process of doing so if simple and straightforward, especially since recent updates to Google’s algorithm has allowed apps to be indexed and available across a much wider group of devices and operating systems.

These recent updates allow apps to be indexed and available via Safari and IOS 9. This update, which will come into affect at the end of October, will allow deep links to mobile apps to be accessible via organic search listings. Up until now, App indexing has only been possible on Google’s Chrome browser, however, starting this month that will all change.

So the obvious question, well obvious for SEOs, would be “does app indexing provide any benefits for rankings and overall search visibility?”

Well yes it does!

Provided that you adhere to Google’s guidelines and use their tools to do so of course.

Using Google’s own app indexing API to help index your app will be rewarded with an increase in rankings. The argument is that using software that is easily read by Google, will allow all of the benefits of your app to be understood by the search engine, and therefore will be promoted over those that don’t.

Simple stuff really.

The lessons to take away from this are simple. If your business has a mobile app, you can’t afford not to get it indexed. If you don’t then you’ll be missing out on a huge share of mobile purchases that could be made. And getting your app indexed is easier now than ever before, with software tools available at your finger tips to allow your app to be indexed across multiple devices.

For more updates on Google’s recent updates, and everything marketing, check out our marketing blog here.

by Jonathan Boyle, SEO Executive