Best PracticesDealership Communication ToolsDealership Marketing

Apple and Google: Mobile Apps Now a Significant Part of SEO

Apps have been a long, contentious conversation in automotive retail. While there is no doubt that the smartphone and mobile is the future communication channel, the question on the minds of today’s marketers has always been ROI.  Will investment in mobile strategies impact today’s buyer?

Thanks to Google and new mobile search criteria, if you aren’t already heavily investing in apps, you may be negatively affecting your SEO ranking. Apps are now a ranking factor in mobile search results and are indexed just like websites.

[Tweet “Apps are now a ranking factor in mobile search results and are indexed just like websites. “]

Mariya Moeva (Google Webmaster Trends Analyst) stated that apps are a positive ranking factor in mobile search. Moz Blog in the same article states that deep links between your apps will improve your website in mobile search.  This is a critical factor for dealers. Mobile search accounts for anywhere between 40-70% of dealers overall traffic, making mobile the primary channel for SEO rank.

Google understands what mobile pundits have been saying for sometime: Apps are a primary medium for today’s smartphone-based consumer. Google has officially taken a stand and is granting a big advantage to those that are willing to invest in their mobile customers by implementing an app.

­Google’s new CEO, Sundar Pichai, stated “40% of searches now return app indexing results in the top five results.” In the article App Indexing & the New Frontier of SEO Emily Grossman states, “The app rankings advantage is pushed to the next level when you understand that Google is intentionally giving preference to app results for certain queries.” She continues, “In some cases, being an indexed app may be the only way to rank at the top in mobile Google search.”

[Tweet ““40% of Google searches now return app indexing results in the top five results.””]

While Google has introduced a model that’s inclusive, indexing both web and app content to provide relevant results, Apple’s long-term strategy aims to bypass the web entirely, relying more heavily on apps for search results on the smartphone.

Apple Search now relies on deep linking, the method for indexing apps, to provide search results on an iPhone or iPad. By executing a search in Spotlight or Siri, a user can start a search and end up being directed to a deep link in an app without ever seeing a single Google result — even when Google is the “default” search engine.

“Apple’s new deep-link-based search in iOS 9 poses a threat to Google’s core business model, as it offers end users a way to locate content within apps that does not rely on Google or the Web,” states Chris Horton in his article, Marketers: Are You Ready for in-App SEO?

Top dealers have historically placed a high emphasis SEO and invested the time and monetary resources to ensure to status in search. With Google’s new mobile SEO criteria and Apple’s new Search parameters, apps are proving to be a competitive advantage for those companies seeking top mobile SEO placement.

How do I get my app setup for indexing?

In order to prepare your app for indexing, you’ll need to make sure your iOS and Android apps have integrated a number of items, including HTTP deep links, app-to-site association, app indexing SDK, autocompletions, and more. Start with these links:

https://plus.google.com/+GoogleDevelopers/posts/YufAxDQDHax
https://developers.google.com/app-indexing/introduction

Alternatively, select a trusted app platform vendor who has already integrated these new changes. Just like web seo, its important your app provider correctly follows app indexing requirements.

Dealers have a unique opportunity to jump ahead of the competition in mobile SEO. With over 50% of dealer traffic now coming on mobile devices, the time to invest in your mobile SEO is now.

Are you having this conversation yet?

That's false.
A