Yes, I understand. We’re always trying to figure that out. We zig and Google zags and all that. It’s exhausting! But regarding the future of mobile search, Google put forth some solid information in the Developer blog this month that will be highly useful to anyone developing Android apps for the mobile market.
Apparently, Google is working harder every day to perfect mobile search, specifically app search. Having had both Android and iPhone, I can honestly say that Google Play is easier to navigate than iPhone apps. And, this makes sense. Google, after all, started out as a Web search engine and crushed the competition. We all know it.
So, what are they doing that’s so unique and interesting this time?
It seems that in October of 2013, they worked with a group of developers to launch what they call “App Indexing,” with the intent of making apps searchable, just as they do with Web pages.
Google says, “It’s 1998 all over again,” which is when Google launched as a search engine. I remember it well. At that time, up to the present, they just do the best job, consistently, over time. That’s why we’ve given them so much power over us.
I actually had a client tell me this week, “I’m afraid of Google.” This made me sit back and think, Of course you are! Google has great power over us on the Internet and now, they’re plotting mobile domination, too. They are certainly nothing to be afraid of, as long as you’re doing the right things.
And my guess is that while other search engines are still trying to get Web search right, Google is off conquering all things mobile search.
They knew what they wanted to do when they bought AdMob way back in 2009. They understood that mobile, though a sizable market at that time, would grow to become enormous! And so it has. According to eMarketer.com, Smartphone Users Worldwide Will Total 1.75 Billion in 2014.
So, you see… This isn’t new. Google made the move to dominate a few years ago, actually. At that time, mobile analyst Greg Sterling of Sterling Market Intelligence said, “… this gives them a head start. It will thrust Google into the forefront of mobile display ads.
And so it did. Many other advertising platforms have sprung up since then, including InMobi, Tapjoy, and Flurry among them. So, something like app indexing isn’t really a new milieu for Google. They’re building on what they have already worked toward in the past.
Get Your App Indexed
This month, Google is encouraging developers to get their app into the Google Index to be ready for what Google sees as the “future of search.” And they’re telling us that, “By implementing App Indexing, you can re-engage your users from search results.” So, when people search, they’ll not find only pages that apply to their queries for the best restaurants, but apps to find those places for them.
We’re all into apps these days. Doesn’t it just make sense?
Here is what Google tells us:
You can add it to your app very quickly — simply add deep linking to your app, and then verify your website with Google. To enable re-engagement with your users, you can generate query autocompletions in the Google app using the App Indexing API.
Apps must be created with markup, sitemaps, and the Google API. It’s not a whole lot different from rich snippets on a Web page. The more information available to Google’s search spiders, the better your page will do in search. This also carries over to the app side of things.
The API will also allow apps to be included in the autocomplete function. Thus, giving your results to search clients before they ever get done typing whatever it is they’re looking for into the search box, based on app engagement that they have shown in prior searches. The diagram that Google showed looks something like this:
The first step is to add Google Play services to your app. Then, be sure your app supports deep linking. Then, tie your app to your website, and the final step is to follow Google’s instructions in order to utilize their API.
Why should you care?
Better app discovery means more engagement and revenue for your company. I think it’s pretty obvious, no?
The Bottom Line
The fact that your app will be indexed and promoted in mobile search is HUGE for you, if you develop Android apps for the Web. No company surpasses Google in mobile search. None. So, for you, this isn’t just something to think about…
It’s something to DO! Just go. Now. Do it. It may feel like rocket science, but it really isn’t. Google will even help you along the way.