Apps are appearing everywhere from phones and tablets to watches, cars and smart TVs – they have changed how we interact with devices and websites and now they’re changing the way we search.
Apps are simple to use however, are often being underutilised. Many brands still continue to struggle with having a mobile-friendly website, let alone creating sophisticated apps, yet many marketers know that apps can be imperative to drive brand engagement, give a more customized experience or to push notifications.
In contrast, there are some incredible companies out there who are creating meaningful experiences on apps, which in turn create new opportunities to get in front of users (hats off to you!).
Let’s take a look what’s new and trending in the app world…
Mobile app search is on the rise (no surprise here)
When looking at Google Trends data you can clearly see the growth in “app” related search terms. Below is a graph comparing two popular terms “fitness app” and “food app”, both are on the rise and show no sign of slowing down (note the hilarious peak every January for fitness apps, News Years resolutions anyone?!).
Therefore it was no surprise when earlier this year Google started to push mobile-friendly labels in SERPs and are likely increasing mobile-friendliness’s weight as a ranking factor. Apps have been a key area for Google updates lately, three notable changes and updates are listed below:
Google releases their Q3 earnings with an interesting point on apps
Google recently released its Q3 earnings and one point on apps really stood out for me: Google has indexed more than 100 billion app deep links, bringing more app content into search results for customers. 2015 has seen apps be a significant area of investment for Google with search ads for google play, conversion tracking with android app installs and the creation of universal app campaigns.
Speaking of apps – Google can now search within them!
On November 18th, Google made a significant change to its search functionality: It can now search within apps! The search giant has been working with app creators to make content that is limited to apps searchable on the web meaning that adding an app to your marketing mix will assist in benefiting your organic search performance.
It is important to note that Google has been indexing content of apps for almost least two years, however until now it required that apps made the same content accessible on the web.
Google has stated that it can now index and rank app-only content within Android, they will index content that only exists within an app and which has no web counterpart. In addition, Google will now “stream” the content from those apps without requiring searchers to download the actual app.
To read more about this huge step for apps and search, here is the Google announcement: http://insidesearch.blogspot.com.au/2015/11/new-ways-to-find-and-stream-app-content.html
And since we are still on the topic of apps – Google updates its mobile-friendly algorithm to slam obtrusive app interstitials
Also this month, Google started to reprimand obtrusive app interstitials (an advertisement that appears while a chosen website or page is downloading). Mobile web pages that serve an oversized and intrusive app interstitial when you click to a site from search are now to be classed as “not mobile friendly”.
Business owners: if you have one of those giant, obtrusive ads then it is probably time to get rid of it!
So there you have it, some ‘appy news for you all, if you have any questions about apps and search marketing then send me an email! I’m always happy to chat about search (and could talk about it all day!).