Deep links act in the same way as web links but on mobile apps, allowing users to click to different parts of the app, not just the home screen. These deep links can also be used to push app users from one app to another, a strategy that is expected to grow in 2016. This blog looks to explain how to build a mobile deep linking strategy for your app.
Deep links mimic how web links work on the Web but on mobile devices. The nature of web browsing has made users accustomed to be able to click from one website to another and deep linking strives to do the same in mobile apps.
The process is fairly straightforward. If a user has an app installed on their mobile device, and searches on Google for the company of that app, the result will send them directly to the app, not the website, if the app is indexed. If the user does not have the app installed, Google can offer the app download in the search results too.
Search engines are already indexing apps in similar ways to websites. An app that is indexed is theoretically capable of showing up in search results for a relevant search on a mobile device. This will have a significant impact on SEO because new competition is now in the market competing against websites for rank in Google results. If there is a shift towards app downloads in search results, SEO will change in a way that is not yet entirely clear.
Visibility: App deep linking helps to improve the visibility of mobile apps and it is likely that the 'authority' of an app will increase with links in the same way that domain and page authority is effected by linking.
User experience: Currently mobile apps do not allow for users to jump as freely from one app to another, without having to return to the homepage. Deep linking hopes to make mobile apps more like the web and avoid forcing users to change their behaviour. Instead of pointing to a deep internal page of a website, links will point to a deep internal area of an app.
Reduced Steps to Conversion: An efficiently indexed app will allow users to find their content much faster and convert much faster. There are opportunities for companies to optimize their experience for mobile users specifically and drive them straight to conversions, such as a check out. An example is Amazon. In the Amazon app, users can swiftly 'Buy Now' by simply using their thumbprint as identification. The speed of this conversion will be replicated among many industries in 2016.
Personalization: There are many benefits to deep linking and with the development of more complex data management, companies will be able to personalise ads within apps driving users towards other relevant apps. This means that users avoid having to return to their homescreen and skips the somewhat inconvenient search query step.
Deep linking and app indexing alike have some time before they are a refined practice, however it is important to prepare for these changes as they filter through. What do you think about deep linking on mobile apps? Are you already thinking about it? Tell us about it on Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter.
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