Facebook is at it again and this time they’re seeking out the help of Google. Although Facebook is the powerhouse of social networks, Google is still the overall champ when it comes to users. Facebook wants in on the action, so just last week it was announced that they would now be using Google App Indexing in order to drive visitors from Google Search to the Facebook App. As mobile continues to be more and more important (check out some stats here), the new system makes sense, but how exactly will it work?
How Facebook Will Use App Indexing to Draw In Google Traffic
A good way to look at the change is to think about indexing websites (as opposed to apps) in general. In the same way that the Google bots crawl websites, index them into their library, and then have those websites to present to relevant users, Google bots can also crawl and index the content on Facebook. If someone posted an article on Facebook or a comment and Google wants to rank that as the most relevant for a user, they can because they indexed it. This means they have more content to offer users, and Facebook gets traffic from Google.
When talking about apps, we have the same principles just in a mobile context. According to a Search Engine Land article, “The news about Google App Indexing support doesn’t add more content, but is aimed to ensure that those finding existing content from Facebook within Google have a better mobile experience.” In other words, it allows Google to help a consumer jump from a webpage to an app with the same content. Apps are notoriously better for user experience on mobile than even mobile websites, so it’s a win-win for everyone. Therefore, if someone clicks on a Facebook result in Google search while on mobile, it will send users to the Facebook app to read that same content as opposed to a webpage.
Sounds great, right? Unfortunately, there are still a few roadblocks in the plan:
- This will only happen for the content that Facebook opens up to Google. Therefore, private profiles, groups, and events (even if not private), will not be a part of the App Indexing. Not a bad thing, but even personal posts or status updates that are open to the public will not be involved. They will still be indexed, but users will be taken to the browser and not the Facebook app.
- There will be no new information. Going along with the last point, Google will get all of the information that they’ve always gotten in the past. Google has always been able to index certain Facebook content, and that content isn’t changing, it’s just the place it sends users (browser vs. app) that’s changing.
- App Indexing is only for Android. Meaning Apple and Bing won’t be involved. As of now, we don’t really know why these devices were excluded.
So it’s clear that this is just an interesting and productive change that consumers will see and benefit from, but what this all essentially means for Webmasters is that more and more companies will surely begin starting to implement Google App Indexing. Because this allows for a better user experience, this is something that Webmasters should be praising because it means better SEO.
In order to get your company involved, you have to first have a company app, which you can learn more about here. Once you have that set to go and optimized, you can visit the Google Developers App Indexing page to learn more.
What do you think of the new app indexing use from Facebook? Let us know in the comments section below.