Early adopters of the Internet browsed using indexing sites to find what they were looking for. In the days when the number of sites was small, this was a relatively easy process. However, as the popularity of using the Internet has grown, so has the need for more powerful search engines. Google quickly came out on top in ranking and delivering search results linking the content of most relevance to the searcher’s query in the shortest possible time. Google’s search market leadership spawned a plethora of tools for creating, optimising and advertising content to improve user experiences and increase conversions and ROI.
Now, mobile content spurred on by the proliferation apps, is on an even steeper and deeper search trajectory. Since apps came on the scene, users have catalogued, organised or simply remembered where those apps are on our phones. But as the number apps on our phones increase inexorably along with the content in each of them increases so has the need for searchability.
Just a few years ago app search optimisation was only used for the App Store but exploding mobile use, software and hardware developments, and contextual search, have led to an increase in deep linking of content within apps. With iOS 9 launching in less than weeks, spotlight and Siri are gearing to change the way we use our phones.
The scenario looks something like this; say you're wondering what to do for dinner tonight. Right now you might head over to Google for nearby restaurants, then you might open the yelp app and retype your search parameters, and then repeat the process again when you head into OpenTable. Apple is hoping to make this process easier by indexing the content within apps, so a search in spotlight or via Siri, might return results in a specific page within an app - results may even suggest a pertinent app not yet installed on the phone.
This move is a natural progression as most of us do increasingly more with our phones. Meaning more apps on each device and more information within each app. Apple is not the only ones in the fray - Google itself is doing similar work on its Android platform and with Google Now. But the popularity of iOS devices (and their owners propensity to do more with those devices than Android owners) represents an opportunity for Apple to gain a foothold in a whole new type of search.
It's certainly too early to tell winners from losers but we can count on deep linking and app search optimisation to become an increasingly important part of the online marketing industry.