How Important Is App Indexing For Search Results?

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An average person’s daily app usage has been estimated as 25% to 31% of their daily time spent on overall mobile usage. This is the same reason why an app needs to have a fair competition with website rankings. Google indexed mobile websites and desktop websites till 2013. With so many available apps in the marketplace, there was a lot of talk about how apps were never included in the race for internet search results.

This is where SEO for mobile app ranking became significant. App content started being included in search results. Google notified that it would start indexing content in apps. However, this number was extremely limited. Only a few selected Android apps were included in the search results.

Starting 2015, Google started proper indexing of app content with the help of Google’s Webmaster Tools and through sitemap files. Websites having same content on their main website and their app, will have app results appear as deep links within the search listing. Users having the app installed on their mobile device can tap on these deep links and the app will launch before taking them directly to the app content. Search results will show the web link along with an option – ‘Open in app’, which when tapped will transport a user to the app and its relevant content.

What is a Deep link?

Any link directing a user past a website homepage to a specific page is known as a deep link. In the context of mobile apps, deep link would bring out a specific piece of content from the app and not remain as a mere launching pad for first screen of the app.

How to let apps be indexed by Google?

Developers can now satisfy themselves with a proper indexing for apps. Google’s content indexing is fast being included in the mobile app marketplace. Before we get into arguments on search results and problems of indexing we must discuss what indexing is?

App indexing is a process to re-engage users. Google’s results allow your apps to compete with websites in the race for rankings.

In-app deep linking is the app’s ability to link itself to a specific page or a function that a person has installed. In order to make these deep links appear in search results, Google must find your app. Here is the process to perform app indexing:

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  1. iOS requires support set up for universal links. Apple refers to this as HTTP links having single URL which opens a specific webpage and the corresponding view in an app.
  2. Google App indexing can be implemented for Android with the help of App Indexing API. App Indexing SDK for iOS 9 can also be integrated to get desired indexing results.
  3. Web Pages must be mapped with their corresponding app screens by referencing app URLs in your XML sitemaps, or by using alternate link element for individual pages or by using schema.org markup.

There are details on app indexing implementation processes available for iOS and Android provided here:

https://developers.google.com/app-indexing/ios/app

https://developers.google.com/app-indexing/android/publish

Google developers’ forum provides an extended support on user engagement techniques related to app indexing. This can be thoroughly researched to understand how apps’ deep links appear Search results’ pages.

Radikal Labs being a leading app and games developer has access of app content in search results. Having developed popular games and apps for our clients we ensure our apps to enhance our and our clients’ search presence. We get your iOS, Android and Windows apps indexed across search engines. Our SEO team strives hard in identifying areas to improve mobile results.

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