Will The Apple Search Update Affect The Way We Find Apps?

If you’re struggling to get your app noticed in spite of your optimization efforts, then the new Apple Search might be what you’re looking for.

The new Apple search update brings users the possibility to see the content of their apps directly in the search box speeding up the process of finding the relevant app. Apple now provides a series of APIs to developers in order to help them integrate this update into their apps. The advantage of this update lies in greater app visibility on the user’s device and provides a new method for discovering apps. Until now, search engines were only able to access the content posted in the App store. Apple now enables their search engines to access the content within apps enabling them to appear in search results with greater relevance and frequency.

If your content is searchable, users will be able to find content deep within your app by using Spotlight and Safari’s search as well as within suggestions from Handoff and Siri. By using the APIs related to Apple search, developers can choose what content will be indexed by search engines and where users will be redirected after choosing the result. Allowing content from third-party apps to show up in search results means that Apple is changing the overall app optimization strategy for many marketers and developers.

How Can the New Apple Search Update Change App Optimization?

NSUserActivity indexing is a method where Apple indexes and tracks how users get an app and how they have interacted with it in the past. Here is how this method may impact your app search optimization efforts:

  • Apple SearchWhen the application appears in search, users can see their installation status. It appears installed apps receive preference in search results.
  • App engagement will be one of the key determinants of an app’s ranking. It is important how often and for how long users engage with the app.
  • If users pick your app instead of other search results, search engines will see that as a positive sign and your ranking position will improve.

CoreSpotlight is a new indexing method that includes relevant metadata like titles, keywords, and descriptions. This metadata has to be implemented within the apps themselves meaning that app optimization requires involving your developers. The third indexing method is Web Markup. Web Markup indexing is a method by which Apple’s new web-crawler – the Applebot – indexes app content from the app’s marketing and support URLs. Here is what is important for these methods:

  • Keywords, title, and description should match the user’s query.
  • Similar to canonical URLs on the web, Canonical App IDs are associated with one unique ID or URL across multiple indexing methods.
  • The popularity of the website linked to your app could also affect how the Applebot ranks your app.

As much as this update is good for marketers and developers, it could also be harmful if not used properly. In order to be ranked highly, keep your eye on how often users engage with your screens and how many screens they are engaged with. Avoid stuffing too many irrelevant keywords into the keyword field, and try to create content which users will want to come back to every day. Allow the Applebot to crawl your site, and last but not least, don’t forget to pay attention to the already well-known app optimization factors such as the number of downloads, star ranking and reviews in the App Store.