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Why Should Web Publishers Consider Mobile Apps? – Here’s Why

More and more people are using smart mobile devices. That means an increasing amount of people will be accessing content on mobile apps.
In this episode of Here’s Why, Mark & Eric rundown the fascinating insights of Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst Mariya Moeva. Mariya told us the benefits that mobile apps can bring for a publisher, some of the downsides (and how to overcome those), and the exciting new ways Google is now indexing app content for search.

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Full Transcript:

Mark: Mobile device use is growing fast! Hey, I’m still back here! Like I said, more and more people are using smart mobile devices. And that means an increasing amount of people will be accessing content on mobile apps. So do you need an app for your web site?
Perficient Digital’s Eric Enge had a chance to chat with Google’s Mariya Moeva, and she had some fascinating insights about the value of mobile apps. Stay with us as I ask Eric to tell us what he learned from Mariya about mobile app content, and what that might mean for your online business.
Mark: First off Eric, who is Mariya Moeva?
Eric: Mariya is a Webmaster Trends Analyst for Google, based out of Zurich, Switzerland. That means she’s the bridge between webmasters and Google’s search engineers. She helps webmasters better understand Google search, and passes their feedback along to the people who try to make search work better.
Mark: So she probably has a pretty clear view about how search really functions for real users.
Eric: For sure.
Mark: So you had a chance to talk with Mariya about mobile app indexing. What do we mean by that?
Eric: Mobile app indexing refers to Google’s growing ability to see content inside of mobile apps, surface that content in mobile search results, and then give the mobile searcher the ability to jump right to that content, if he or she has the app, or to download the linked app.
Mark: I can see where that could become a distinct SEO advantage for anyone who has an app with content.
Eric: That’s right, Mark. And Mariya shared several particular benefits that apps can provide to publishers. But I’ll need your screen space to show the folks. Oh wait! There’s an app for that! Mariya told me that mobile apps add value for publishers in at least three ways.
First, apps provide a front door for your content on user’s personal devices. Second, apps offer a bunch of functionality that is not yet widely available on the web, like interacting with content offline, or getting information from the device. For example, using their location or camera. And finally, access to user information from the profiles they create on your app and actions they take on their devices while using your app.
Mark: Is there any downside to mobile apps for publishers?
Eric: Well, for one thing, apps have a relatively high user adoption hurdle compared to web sites. Anyone with a connection to the web can view a website in seconds, but an app requires a voluntary download, and then the user must think to go to the app and open it.
Mariya suggested, though, a post by Google’s Avinash Kaushik that could help site owners determine the types of users they have and whether or not a sufficient segment of their users would benefit from a mobile app. At the end of this video we’ll give you a link to my full interview with Mariya, where you’ll find a link to Avinash’s helpful post.
Mark: Eric, does Mariya Moeva believe you should duplicate all of your web pages on your mobile app?
Eric: No. At least not necessarily. It’s likely that your web audience and mobile audience each have different goals, different things they want to accomplish. Mariya suggested going to Google’s Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools) and looking at the kinds of search queries you get for your website and for your mobile app. That information can help you decide what content is most appropriate for each audience.
Mark: You just mentioned search queries for content in mobile apps.
Eric: Yes, Google is beginning to index the content of mobile apps to display in mobile search.
Mark: So how can publishers with apps make that happen?
Eric: Mariya provided some links in my interview post to Google help pages that show how to qualify for mobile app indexing on both iOS and Android. Go to the URL on your screen to find those resources, as well as a video where Mariya leads you through the process of getting your app qualified for Google indexing.
Mark: And as a bonus, you’ll also find there a link to a form where you can submit your questions about Google mobile app indexing directly to Mariya. And please join us again for another episode of Here’s Why with Mark and Eric.

Thoughts on “Why Should Web Publishers Consider Mobile Apps? – Here’s Why”

  1. Just came back from SMX where I heard two Google employees speak on this topic. Basically, they said w/out any apprehension that mobile apps will provide a lift in search rankings for the website on both mobile and desktop devices. However, the apps have to provide value. They can’t just be created for the boost in rankings and Google will know.
    “If it makes sense to have an app then definitely have one” was Michael Fink’s comment and remember to connect it with your website via the Search Console.

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Eric Enge

Eric Enge is part of the Digital Marketing practice at Perficient. He designs studies and produces industry-related research to help prove, debunk, or evolve assumptions about digital marketing practices and their value. Eric is a writer, blogger, researcher, teacher, and keynote speaker and panelist at major industry conferences. Partnering with several other experts, Eric served as the lead author of The Art of SEO.

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