App marketers in the US could be missing out on a chunk of search traffic, with less than a third equipped to support the Google app indexing required to make them visible in the mobile browser.

That’s according to a study by Searchmetrics, conducted on 100 of the most visible websites in US Google searches, which found that of the 84% offering an Android app, just 30% had implemented support for Google’s App Indexing.

Other results showed just 19% facilitating search visibility on iOS despite 88% of the brands in the survey hosting apps on Apple’s operating system.

By indexing – or ‘deep linking’ – an app, pages of it can appear within the search engine results of a user’s mobile or tablet device on which the app is installed.

These pages will only appear if they’re deemed by Google to be entirely relevant to the search. Nevertheless, it creates an opportunity for brands to drive organic search traffic back into the installed app.

Maximising app investment

It also means that if an app is not installed on a user’s device, the app can appear as a recommendation from Google Play, helping to drive new users.

Searchmetrics CTO and founder Marcus Tober comments that app indexing can help curtail the wasted spend deriving from neglect after install, with one in five apps (20%) only ever opened once.

“App indexing is a fantastic opportunity to maximise the investment in your app – by helping to drive more traffic and interaction and potentially even conversions.

“On top of this, if your app supports app indexing, Google has indicated that it could potentially appear more prominently in searches,” he adds.   

In light of the results of the study, Tober urges app owners to enable app indexing while there is “still a competitive advantage”.

Additionally, Searchmetrics found that those most likely to employ deep linking practices were online apparel retailers, with those offering apps on iOS (95%) and Android (91%) enabling indexing 32% and 31% of the time respectively.