Google's App Indexing: U.S. brands may be missing out on valuable app data, Searchmetrics says

Searchmetrics, a German search engine optimization (SEO) platform provider, has discovered the majority of U.S. brands could be missing out on opportunities to drive app traffic, engagement and conversions via Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) searches. 

A new Searchmetrics study of the 100 most visible websites in Google's U.S. searches revealed 84 percent of these sites offer an Android app. However, only 30 percent of these sites have implemented support for Google's App Indexing, which allows Google to index and show relevant pages from their apps in its mobile search results.

In addition, Searchmetrics found 88 percent of sites offer an iOS app, but even fewer -- just 19 percent -- support deep linking.

"Many companies have invested heavily in apps, yet on average, 20 percent of the apps a person installs on their device are only ever opened once," Searchmetrics founder Marcus Tober said in a statement. "App indexing is a fantastic opportunity to maximize the investment in your app -- by helping to drive more traffic and interaction and potentially even conversions. On top of this, if your app supports app indexing, Google has indicated that it could potentially appear more prominently in searches."

  • Among apparel retail sites that offer an iOS app, 32 percent have enabled app indexing.

  • Among apparel retail sites that offer an Android app, 31 percent have enabled app indexing.

  • Most companies in the retail sector offered some type of app, with just 5 percent of apparel sites not offering an iOS app and 9 percent not offering an Android app.

App Indexing empowers developers to "re-engage existing app users through Google Search, for both Android and iOS," according to Google. It identifies URL patterns in a developer's app manifest, Google noted, and uses application programming interface (API) calls from an app to make content within the app available to both existing and new users.

Searchmetrics pointed out App Indexing ultimately provides numerous benefits for developers, including:

  • Increased customer loyalty with higher click through rates (CTR).

  • More installations of an iOS or Android app.

  • Better visibility in search rankings.

  • Greater amounts of traffic (which may lead to higher conversions). 

Android app deep linking SEO Searchmetrics

Source: Searchmetrics

Google reports the average person only uses 26 percent of their apps daily, while one in four apps are never used at all. But with App Indexing, developers may be able to boost their app engagement and loyalty rates, both now and in the future. 

App Indexing initially was released for a limited number of publishers in October 2013. And today, Google has indexed at least 100 billion pages within apps, meaning these links are searchable.

Going forward, App Indexing has the potential to help developers re-engage existing users and connect with new users as well. And developers who capitalize on this platform now may be able to boost their app discoverability and engagement levels for years to come.