Deep linking has always been a requirement for companies, and mobile applications have only made it more important. In recent years, startups have developed that specialize in improving and creating deep links for SEO strategies. At its simplest, a deep link a type of link that navigates the user from the app or website to outside content. While this technology has been used for years, mobile deep links have become the go-to SEO strategy used by SEO experts.
The Growth of Deep Linking
In 2006, the first media results for deep linking began to appear. This practice was designed to increase the visibility of website pages other than the home page for search engine indexing. During this time period, deep linking incorrectly referred to hot linking. This early practice was designed to link files directly to a third-party host for downloading. Hot linking quickly became controversial because it fueled the consumption of copyrighted material. United States courts typically sided with the copyrighted material and held that linking to website content could violate that site's copyrights. This was especially the case for websites that garnered advertisement revenue by linking to the content.
By 2008, the development of mobile apps and the iPhone OS 2 changed the state of the field. At this point, app developers could submit their apps from the iPhone to the App Store. These were not based on a document structure like the Web, and mapping content without deep linking became extremely difficult. Deep linking allowed app developers to map out the Web page items that were within the app. Companies that had large amounts of content had to link their Web articles to the articles in the app so that readers could connect to them easily.
From 2013 to 2014, mobile commerce and apps really began to hit the mainstream. Instead of visiting a brick-and-mortar store, users were buying products on their mobile devices. This created a demand for better tools to like apps that helped convert users into buyers. Deep links were used to bring users from marketing e-mails to the apps and direct them toward a purchase.
Why Are Deep Links Important for SEO?
Before Google could index apps, it missed out on a significant amount of global data. Being able to index apps allowed Google to discover the information and revolutionized SEO strategies for mobile devices. Deep linking enables Google spiders to figure out the apps that are relevant for the search engines. In essence, the deep links let Google and other search engines index an app in the same way that it would normally index website content.
For companies, being listed in a search engine result can lead to significant earnings. Google search is accessible to any Internet user, which allows it to drive potential customers to an app store. As a result, app developers have started to compete for the top spots in mobile search results. Internal app screens and landing pages can all rank within the search engine.
Currently, Google says that Web parity is necessary to ensure deep app indexing. This means that any content that is crawlable by the spiders should match with the app content that is indexed. Google is still working on an “app only interest form”, so a non-parity indexing technique may be used soon by the search engine giant.
The change to Web non-parity is an important one for businesses. This means that gaming, travel, business and other apps will now have to compete with a flood of new search engine results. Pages that were not originally indexed will be available in the search engines and can compete with currently indexed pages.
Positive and Negative Ranking Factors for Deep Links
To be ranked highly in the search engines, apps must have as many positive ranking factors as possible. They should avoid any action that can cause the website or app to be ranked poorly. Among the most important factors, developers need to ensure proper technical implementation. In essence, the app has to be indexed correctly or it will not be included in the search engine at all. Website signals like title tags will still be important because they will signal the content of the site. Deep linking will continue to be important because it will determine how Google sees the quality and importance of the site.
As businesses seek to improve their deep links, they should watch out for interstitials and content mismatches. The content on the Web page and the app must be closely related, or they will be considered a mismatch error by Google. In addition, interstitial ad banners are discouraged by Apple and Google. These advertisements are like pop-ups, but they do not create a new browser window. Interstitial ads are discouraged because they harm the user experience and make the website seem like spam.
Getting App Screens Indexed
Using deep links with Ionic will help the app to become indexed in the search engines. After enabling the application to use deep links, code has to be added to the Web pages that correspond with it. This code will reference the deep links, and the entire process can be optimized for private indexing. All of these steps are necessary to ensure that the app is set up with deep links and indexed by the search engines.
Beyond just rankings, deep links can help Web pages that are associated with the page that was linked. In addition, this technique can lift an entire website's ranking by .29 positions once the deep links are in place. Through deep links, app developers and businesses can ensure that they garner the most website traffic possible.
Whether you need help with deep linking or are uncertain about the best way to promote your app, we can help.