Mobile App Indexing, Deep Linking & Development #SMX
Developing an app is a resource investment, but one that can pay off in time if done right. In this SMX West session ( “Search Inside the App”), Google’s Mariya Moeva talks about how Google is looking at apps, and the opportunities they afford. She is joined by digital marketers Ian Sefferman and Justin Briggs. Briggs and Sefferman work in app development and analytics, and they will share their latest insights straight from the trenches.
How Google is Thinking About Apps
Mariya Moeva is a Google Webmaster Trends Analyst and she’s going to share insights on how Google perceives apps. Apps are very important — there are around one million apps in the Google Play store. Downloads are in the tens of billions. According to certain studies, people are spending more than 80 percent of their time on mobile in apps.
Moeva traveled from Switzerland to San Jose for SMX West 2015. It was a long journey and she says that apps played a significant role in her travel.
“When I got started I used the Swiss railway app to buy a ticket for a train. I used the app instead of a website because it stores my itinerary, my payment details, etc. I checked in for the flight using the Swiss Air App. If I open the app and shake the phone, my boarding pass appears. Then on the plane, I read articles on my Pocket app and studied German through another app. I spent quite a bit of time on apps. I do this every day and I’m pretty sure this is true for all you,” Moeva says.
She points out that apps give your business a ton of information about your users. Geo location, their contacts, etc. There are so many possibilities for what you can do with an app.
Imagine if you had an app that could tell customers that as they’re passing a store that, inside, there is a discount on an item they’re interested in. Or imagine you’re a news outlet, and you could push news your readers are uniquely interested in straight to them on their phone via push notifications.
There are a lot of things, like these, that you can do using apps that you can’t do if you only have a website.
But on the other hand, Moeva says, apps are clunky. They require a significant up-front effort for your development team. Also, there’s a barrier to entry for customers and they must install the app and/or create an account. She shares a startling fact: people on average install 26 apps on their phone (many apps are left out), and 5 percent of apps drive 92 percent of all app downloads. (Tweet this!)
She invites developers and digital marketers to visit a recently launched Google resource to learn more at g.co/developersearch.
App Development Recommendations
- Work as a team. It takes two to index an app.
- Google is working on several new features that focus exclusively on apps. Sign up to be an app features tester and learn by doing: http://bit.ly/wmt-app-features (this program is brand new; just went live today!)
- Remember that Google wants to help.
Deep Linking and Search Today
Ian Sefferman is the general manager of App Store Analytics at TUNE. He is going to share some of his insights on deep linking.
He begins by noting that app store search today is app-based rather than content-based. That means that app developers should focus on title, description, keyword field, icon, screenshots, rating, reviews, etc.
As far as user behavior is concerned, he points out that consumers are continually installing apps. People are looking for apps on an ongoing basis and at any given time, most of your users will be fresh users who have installed an app in the last month.
Where did U.S. iPhone and Android users find the last app they downloaded? The primary way is searching through the app store.
Deep linking allows one app to connect directly to a piece of content within another app. For example. if you’re looking at Google Maps, you can request Uber from within Google Apps. Shefferman says deep links are like the webpage equivalent of a website.
Another example: Let’s say Airbnb wants to promote a certain room. In this example there could be an ad that sends a user the app store to prompt them to download the app, then, once the app is downloaded, the app will open straight to that specific apartment. This is called referred deep linking.
Deep linking tomorrow will feature organic discovery at its core: helping connect consumers and apps before the app has been installed. APIs will form the backbone of the system between apps and crawlers.
How to Get Your App Indexed in Search
Justin Briggs, digital marketer and CEO of Briggsby, opens by saying search is fundamentally shifting. We’re changing how the web works, moving away from the simple return of web pages. We’re looking at a search experience that’s elevating into an interface. There’s an increased ability to take action and have answers without web pages.
Briggs envisions a future where apps can assist you in life. He imagines being able to tell your device:
- Take a note: ‘idea for a movie Jaws in Space.’
- Remind me to check the oven in five minutes.
- Send a message to Paula: ‘I’m on my way.’
- Navigate to Morten’s apartment.
- Send an email to mom.
- Set an alarm.
- Call me a cab.
All of these commands would happen via apps, and would be relevant, obviously, to wearables, too.
Check out Briggs slide deck for coding directions to get your app discovered: