Apps are the new frontier for digital marketing. But if you are going to invest time and money into building an app, you also need to include deep link and indexing permissions to search engines.
If you think of your app as a mini website, the concept of improving the discoverability of your app becomes much clearer. Essentially, there are around 3 million apps hosted by Google and Android and they are placed in a ranking system.
Therefore, if your app is not ranking well, users do not find it and nobody buys it. You have then wasted your time and money building an app in the first place. Apps have to be included as part as your SEO strategy.
What is indexing and deep links?
If you don’t already know what indexing and deep links are, allow me to explain. If you do, skip this part and get to work indexing and deep linking your apps!
Indexing is a function performed by Google bots to categorise your app. Search engines need to crawl your website so they can file it and match content on any given page to the search terms of end users. It works the same way with apps.
Therefore, if you do not allow search engines to crawl your apps, they cannot itemise the content. Your app will therefore not appear in app store rankings, nor will it appear in organic search results. So nobody will download your app simply because they do not know it exists.
The benefits of deep linking apps
Deep linking enables search engine crawlers to discover more about your app content so that it appears in a broader range of searches. This will increase your visibility and give users a good idea of what type of content they can expect to find on an app.
Now here’s where it gets a little tricky. There are two types of deep linking; traditional and contextual. Traditional deep links do not appear in search results unless the user already has the app downloaded to their device – which defeats the purpose of indexing.
However, developers have now figured a way of including contextual links whereby the app does appear in search results regardless of whether or not end-users have it installed on their mobile. This therefore increases your chances of being discovered.
Furthermore, you can also allow users to access content from the search results without downloading your app. Which is where you need to make decisions. Do you offer try-before-you-buy terms or direct prospects to a landing page to whet their appetite and encourage them to install your app.
Before building an app bear in mind how apps are ranked. They will soon be tested on how often users log into your apps. You therefore need to ensure your app has high-user interest and offers something on a regular basis.
To give you some insight, statistics show that lifestyle and shopping apps enjoyed a 174% growth in 2014 and are likely to continue exponential trending in the coming years. Think convenience, ease of use, every day use and your apps can boost conversions.