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Firebase App Indexing - SMX Advanced

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Presented during SMX Advanced 2016 the presentation covered what you need to know about Firebase App Indexing implementation, impacts and insights learnt.

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Firebase App Indexing - SMX Advanced

  1. 1. #SMX #22A @Davidiwanow Firebase App Indexing What you need to know about Firebase App- Indexing
  2. 2. #SMX #22A @Davidiwanow • Involved in search since 2007 • Focused on • App-Indexing • App-Store Optimisation • App Download Campaigns • Responsive Design • Technical SEO • SEO Product Manager since July 2013 Who is this guy?
  3. 3. #SMX #22A @Davidiwanow Joining BlueGlass London as Director of Strategy Who is this guy?
  4. 4. #SMX #22A @Davidiwanow What’s New in App-Indexing? TITLE SLIDE ALTERNATIVE LAYOUT w/ *EXAMPLE* IMAGE (SWAP IN YOUR OWN AS NEEDED) Photo Credit: CadaverTeeth Photo Credit:Wendell
  5. 5. #SMX #22A @Davidiwanow Google App-Indexing becomes Firebase App-Indexing
  6. 6. #SMX #22A @Davidiwanow • Introduction • Technical implementation • Meta tags/API/XML Sitemap • Common Pitfalls • Errors to expect • Results achieved with App-Indexing • Increased app activity • App-installs • Increased visibility • Mini Case Study • What’s next? App-Indexing topics covered in my session
  7. 7. #SMX #22A @Davidiwanow Introduction to why App-Indexing TITLE SLIDE ALTERNATIVE LAYOUT w/ *EXAMPLE* IMAGE (SWAP IN YOUR OWN AS NEEDED) Photo Credit: Alan Levine
  8. 8. #SMX #22A @Davidiwanow Often you can easily be confused when looking for the official app. It is not a bad thing to have multiple apps but often the distinction isn’t clear. Current Play Store search experience could be better
  9. 9. #SMX #22A @Davidiwanow Sometimes it’s just too much effort to work out which app you would need to do something simple. Current Play Store search experience could be better
  10. 10. #SMX #22A @Davidiwanow But which is the best app for your task you would usually do on the website? Sometimes you want something specific
  11. 11. #SMX #22A @Davidiwanow Google state that most users don’t use all the 36 apps that they have installed 75% of the time and 1/3 only gets used once. Part of the issues is that apps get forgotten about
  12. 12. #SMX #22A @Davidiwanow What is the process? 1. Start on home screen 2. Check alternative screens 3. View all apps You then have to search for that app
  13. 13. #SMX #22A @Davidiwanow So now you go to the app store and search for the app. Ok great we already have it installed so we click the result. You still can’t find that app?
  14. 14. #SMX #22A @Davidiwanow Now you are able to open that app you were looking for and you can get started doing what you wanted to do originally. Great work you finally found the app
  15. 15. #SMX #22A @Davidiwanow You can now search via Google to see if you already have the app installed and open from the SERPs. App Indexing cuts out several steps in the process
  16. 16. #SMX #22A @Davidiwanow Why I think it’s important Photo Credit: Katie Sayer
  17. 17. #SMX #22A @Davidiwanow App-Indexing has deep integration with Google SERPs
  18. 18. #SMX #22A @Davidiwanow • About 48 hours for App-Indexing results to show for users after downloading your app • Users that re-engage with your app they are less likely to uninstall • Users that re-engage are less likely to use a competitor. Process for users is fairly simple… Do you have the app? Yes Open in App No Install App Open Website
  19. 19. #SMX #22A @Davidiwanow • For branded traffic then App- Indexing can be a lifeline • Users don’t see aggregators or affiliates now • CTR is not as high as I would hope depending on the query but it’s great for branding You can get these types of branded results
  20. 20. #SMX #22A @Davidiwanow There are three main benefits to App- Indexing • Branding • Personalisation • Ranking Improvement Which result would capture your attention?
  21. 21. #SMX #22A @Davidiwanow You can think of App-Indexing as personalised results on steroids! Remember that App-Indexing can influence ranking #13 #10
  22. 22. #SMX #22A @Davidiwanow App Indexing Technical Implementation Guide TITLE SLIDE ALTERNATIVE LAYOUT w/ *EXAMPLE* IMAGE (SWAP IN YOUR OWN AS NEEDED) Photo Credit:Will Scullin
  23. 23. #SMX #22A @Davidiwanow Pros: • Check pages trying to index • Done easily without app updates Cons: • 2 week delay in crawling and showing in SERPs • Competitors can see what pages you are trying to index • Custom scheme URLs are supported but are discouraged Meta Tags <link rel="alternate" href="android- app://com.smx.london/day/2/?country=uk&am p;language=en" />
  24. 24. #SMX #22A @Davidiwanow Pros: • Linked to user actions within your app (engagement) • Competitors can’t see what pages you are App indexing at scale • App shows in auto suggest • Ready to use Now on Tap Cons: • Support from your mobile developers to update your app App-Indexing API
  25. 25. #SMX #22A @Davidiwanow Pros: • All your URLs are in one place you want Google to crawl Cons: • You might have to rebuild your websites XML Sitemap logic • Sitemaps are prone to breaking • Your sitemaps just grew bigger Add Deep Links to your XML Sitemap
  26. 26. #SMX #22A @Davidiwanow • Google Suggests you want to do at least 2 out of 3 to get the most impact from App-Indexing. • My personal preference is using Meta Tags and supported by App- Indexing API • Diagnosing errors with API is tougher and if you screw up something you need to release an app update. Which option should you do? My perception on impact Meta Tags XML Sitemap API
  27. 27. #SMX #22A @Davidiwanow Common Pitfalls of App-Indexing TITLE SLIDE ALTERNATIVE LAYOUT w/ *EXAMPLE* IMAGE (SWAP IN YOUR OWN AS NEEDED) Photo Credit: James Marvin PhelpsPhoto Credit: Keith
  28. 28. #SMX #22A @Davidiwanow • Not all apps were built to support Deep Linking but that will change over time • App may not have previously needed 404 error pages • It may surface a lot more edge cases previously ignored by devs App Indexing will create 404 pages in your app
  29. 29. #SMX #22A @Davidiwanow • Your app probably doesn’t have a lot of pages your desktop site has • App load time is now much more of an issue as load time wasn’t measured • How would you deal with universal links? Consider what is the user experience? Photo Credit: Catherine
  30. 30. #SMX #22A @Davidiwanow What crawl tools or crawl errors you can expect? TITLE SLIDE ALTERNATIVE LAYOUT w/ *EXAMPLE* IMAGE (SWAP IN YOUR OWN AS NEEDED) Photo Credit: James Marvin PhelpsPhoto Credit: Kevin Baird
  31. 31. #SMX #22A @Davidiwanow Custom search console for App Indexing that allows you to fetch deep links. Two options for testing the links: 1) Google Play APK 2) Upload your APK Fetch as Google to Test your App Indexing
  32. 32. #SMX #22A @Davidiwanow • As per desktop fetch as Google you can drill into your URL to see a more detailed report. • You can see here is a successful crawl resulted in the page rendering correctly. Fetch as Google to Test your App Indexing
  33. 33. #SMX #22A @Davidiwanow • Please make sure you actually check how Google views your app page. • Items such as popups for Googlebot creates crawling issues. • Googlebot is getting smarter but don’t make it too hard for them! Fetch as Google to Test your App Indexing
  34. 34. #SMX #22A @Davidiwanow • You can exclude specific pages from the App-Indexing or app notifications from showing in App search results • Create a noindex.xml file and reference the noindex.xml in your app’s AndroidManifest.xml file Control Indexing (advanced Android only option)
  35. 35. #SMX #22A @Davidiwanow • Number of App-Indexing pages indexed is continuing to grow. • Pages with errors as that will hold your App-Indexing performance back. • Be aware the error reporting in the crawl dashboard is not the most accurate or current. Crawl Status Reports can help you understand traction
  36. 36. #SMX #22A @Davidiwanow • Number of App Indexed Pages does have an impact on your App- Indexing performance • The number of pages with errors has a negative impact on your App-Indexing performance Crawl Status Reports can help you understand failures
  37. 37. #SMX #22A @Davidiwanow Search Analytics can help you understand impact Source: Google Search Console (excludingTablets)
  38. 38. #SMX #22A @Davidiwanow • Package not found – Google couldn’t find your APK in Google Play Store • Url unsupported – failed to launch the application • Content mismatch – text doesn’t have to be identical but topic should be the same and user should be able to accomplish same task as on web • Overused URLs – You screwed up and mapped all the URLs to one page • Back button violation – requires that a user be able to click back to SERPs • Removed from index – pages in your app that don’t meet standards Major App Crawl Errors
  39. 39. #SMX #22A @Davidiwanow Results achieved with App-Indexing TITLE SLIDE ALTERNATIVE LAYOUT w/ *EXAMPLE* IMAGE (SWAP IN YOUR OWN AS NEEDED) Photo Credit: James Marvin PhelpsPhoto Credit: maf04
  40. 40. #SMX #22A @Davidiwanow App-Indexing via API has some benefits
  41. 41. #SMX #22A @Davidiwanow Remind users they have your app installed
  42. 42. #SMX #22A @Davidiwanow App-Indexing helps with branding a bit
  43. 43. #SMX #22A @Davidiwanow Having trouble ranking for locations?
  44. 44. #SMX #22A @Davidiwanow Having trouble ranking for head terms?
  45. 45. #SMX #22A @Davidiwanow Prompt users to open your app to answer their query
  46. 46. #SMX #22A @Davidiwanow If users already have your app they have a seamless experience into your app. This can be important if you haven’t yet built a responsive website or your responsive website experience is lacking features your app already has. Process when they have your app installed Blue Arrow Icon Credit: designed by Freepik.com
  47. 47. #SMX #22A @Davidiwanow • Shown if you are doing app indexing but the user doesn’t yet have the app installed • You can only track clicks on button and not installs • Clicking currently shifts you away to the Play store but it seems Google is testing keeping them in the SERPs Bonus feature App-Indexing Install Widget Blue Arrow Icon Credit: designed by Freepik.com
  48. 48. #SMX #22A @Davidiwanow Results observed with App-Indexing TITLE SLIDE ALTERNATIVE LAYOUT w/ *EXAMPLE* IMAGE (SWAP IN YOUR OWN AS NEEDED) Photo Credit: James Marvin PhelpsPhoto Credit: maf04
  49. 49. #SMX #22A @Davidiwanow Not as many searches end with a click on install button Source: Google Search Console (excludingTablets)
  50. 50. #SMX #22A @Davidiwanow • A larger app install base means potentially more people may see App-Indexing results • Can be supported by • App download campaigns • ASO campaigns • App-Indexing traffic can also be influenced by • Competitors • AdWords Remember App-Indexing doesn’t live in a silo Source: Google Search Console (excludingTablets)
  51. 51. #SMX #22A @Davidiwanow • Typically the Install Button link has the highest visibility • App-Indexing results don’t always show higher than other organic results • App-Indexing results don’t always show to all users App-Indexing organic visibility can be volatile Source: Google Search Console (excludingTablets)
  52. 52. #SMX #22A @Davidiwanow Case Study TITLE SLIDE ALTERNATIVE LAYOUT w/ *EXAMPLE* IMAGE (SWAP IN YOUR OWN AS NEEDED) Photo Credit: James Marvin PhelpsPhoto Credit: PutnamEco
  53. 53. #SMX #22A @Davidiwanow • Good App-Indexing results can show an average +1.01 to +1.52 higher position in SERPs • Great App-Indexing results can show an average +2.51 to +3.88 higher position in SERPs What does App-Indexing results look like? Source: Google Search Console (excludingTablets)
  54. 54. #SMX #22A @Davidiwanow Comparing individual keywords results not as significant Average Position forTop 15 AppTerms Source: Google Search Console
  55. 55. #SMX #22A @Davidiwanow It was something of a myth floating around that iOS users don’t know what App-Indexing is and would never click the app result. The number is lower but the average position it’s shown is also slightly lower. Do iOS users even know what to do with App-Indexing? Source: Google Search Console
  56. 56. #SMX #22A @Davidiwanow Almost all the times your app install button will be showing will be on brand terms. Low amount of impressions but it’s interesting just how many competitors you show with and what competitors and what CTR you can get on install button. When does install app button appear? App Install Button Clicks Source: Google Search Console
  57. 57. #SMX #22A @Davidiwanow The first four app phrases perform fairly closely. The strength of your brand impact both the search volume but also the CTR of the following terms • Brand download • Brand install How does CTR change on brand terms for install button? Brand Brand App Brand App Download App Brand Brand Download Brand Install Brand 1 Brand 2 Source: Google Search Console
  58. 58. #SMX #22A @Davidiwanow I found that your data quality is heavily affected if you don’t use the country filter. This makes analysis for global apps more time consuming but the output is far more accurate. When doing analysis make sure you use the country filter
  59. 59. #SMX #22A @Davidiwanow A Global View on App-Indexing Visibility TITLE SLIDE ALTERNATIVE LAYOUT w/ *EXAMPLE* IMAGE (SWAP IN YOUR OWN AS NEEDED) Photo Credit: James Marvin PhelpsPhoto Credit: RV1864
  60. 60. #SMX #22A @Davidiwanow You have to setup mobile search engines for each OS and tablet & mobile. You can then define your app and the benchmark apps (competitors) that you want to monitor. SearchMetrics has an App visibility report you can setup
  61. 61. #SMX #22A @Davidiwanow It’s now possible to gain a bit more insight on how your app is performing compared to your competitors. The setup of what keywords and competitors to track is still a bit clunky but with more data I’m sure this will improve with the addition of suggested keywords/competitors to include. SearchMetrics are surfacing some insights at scale
  62. 62. #SMX #22A @Davidiwanow What’s next? TITLE SLIDE ALTERNATIVE LAYOUT w/ *EXAMPLE* IMAGE (SWAP IN YOUR OWN AS NEEDED) Photo Credit: James Marvin PhelpsPhoto Credit: Paul Carmona
  63. 63. #SMX #22A @Davidiwanow • Google App-Indexing for iOS9+ requires implementation of Universal Links • Previously it only showed for logged-in Chrome users now it will show for logged-in Safari users • Going forward iOS App-Indexing doesn’t require meta tagging just requires app-to-site association • Google App-Indexing will drop support for older iOS7-8 Google App-Indexing for iOS supports iOS9+
  64. 64. #SMX #22A @Davidiwanow App Only SERPs are coming to a device near you
  65. 65. #SMX #22A @Davidiwanow • Search results could be influenced by other users with similar apps. • Search results could be influenced by users with similar devices • Competitors might be shown less if users more engaged within your app • Desktop experience could be influenced by your mobile app usage App-Indexing will expand as adoption increases
  66. 66. #SMX #22A @Davidiwanow Around mid-June 2016 Google Play will start rolling out across • Acer Chromebook R11 / C738T • Asus Chromebook Flip • Google Chromebook Pixel (2015) With more Chromebooks supported later in 2016 Play Store & Android Apps coming to Chromebooks
  67. 67. #SMX #22A @Davidiwanow Google is making it possible for you to soon enjoy App-Indexing benefits without actually downloading the whole application. Instant Apps will benefit App-Indexing
  68. 68. #SMX #22A @Davidiwanow • Progressive Web Apps • Offline features • Offline storage • Add web app to home screen • Access your phone’s camera • Push notifications • Supported by Chrome & Firefox • Requires HTTPs • Google could show them in Play App store Progressive Web Apps blur line between Native & Apps