Optimise Your Mobile Apps for Search Engine Findability

31 July 2015

Many mobile app creators have already got the hang of optimising their apps and descriptions to be discoverable in the Google Play Store or App Store. Using keywords and phrases that users search for, and appropriate tags, helps consumers who are searching the stores to find the most suitable app for their needs.

But it needn’t stop there. As Google is starting to link directly to apps in its own search results on Android devices, app developers need to understand how to optimise their products for organic search, too.

More than half of Google searches now take place on mobile devices, which is an astounding figure that app creators need to be aware of. If they can insert their apps into those search results, they potentially have their target audience at their fingertips. Apps are also known to lead to much higher conversion rates and sales than mobile browsing, so engaging the mobile audience is essential.

Making apps discoverable in Google search

Google has been including links in its search results to apps that mobile users already have installed for a while.

However, with the use of App Indexing, which “helps you engage your app users and increase app installs directly from Google Search”, Google is to start to link to other Android apps, too, as long as they are optimised for the process.

Lawrence Chang, Product Manager for Google, said, “If you’ve implemented App Indexing, when indexed content from your app is relevant to a search done on Google on Android devices, people may start to see app install buttons for your app in search results. Tapping these buttons will take them to the Google Play store where they can install your app, then continue straight on to the right content within it.”

If content from within your app is displayed in the search results (for instance a recipe or a film review), and the user does not currently use your app, Google will show a link for the user to install it.

This is a brilliant opportunity to get more downloads and engagement.

Instructions on how to set up app indexing can be found here. It is currently available for all Android apps and some iOS apps. However, it is expected to be rolled out for all iOS apps in the future, so developers can start the process now, in preparation.

What else is new?

Google Now is the Android equivalent of Siri or Cortana; an intelligent personal assistant that answers users’ voice queries.

Google recently announced an expanded version of Google Now, called Google Now On Tap. This service will integrate Google Now more closely with other Android users’ activities, so that consumers can press and hold the ‘home’ button on their device to view expanded information about something they want to know more about.

So, if you are reading an email about a movie or looking at a webpage about a product, launching Google Now on Tap will make an intelligent guess about what you want to know more about, and provide that information. If it has surmised incorrectly, you can say, ‘OK Google’ and search for the answer you need.

Apps that are indexed by Google will be integral to this new feature, so this is another reason to ensure that apps are correctly optimised.