Despite the benefits of linking keywords or images to specific pages in applications to help search engines find the content when someone queries their brand, fewer than one third of companies monitored by Searchmetrics that are building and making mobile apps available do not deploy deep-linking practices.
The Searchmetrics study shows that among the top 100 sites in the United States they monitor, few apply the ability to index content in their apps through deep-linking techniques. In fact, only 30% of the 84% of companies that offer an Android app offer this type of app support. Of the 88% offering iOS apps, only 19% offer app linking to make content searches easier.
Deep linking allows Google to connect an image or word to a specific page or item on a Web page in mobile search results.
To support app indexing, app owners need to provide Google with data about the relationship between individual pages of their app and the pages on their Web site. The site also needs to give Google permission to crawl and index the content within their app, similar to the way it does for Web pages. Searchmetrics’ data suggests that many firms that offer apps are not yet doing this.
Enabling deep linking also potentially attracts new app installations through search. For instance, if a searcher has not installed an app, it could still feature in Google’s search results as a suggested app they should consider installing via the Google PlayStore if it believed to have content relevant to their query.
Searchmetrics CTO and founder Marcus Tober estimates that while companies have invested in apps, on average 20% of the apps a person installs on their device are only ever opened once. The app could also appear higher in the list of search engine query results, he said.