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Deep Dive Into Google’s App Indexing

What is App Indexing?

Google’s App indexing allows webmasters to connect pages from web sites to specific content within Android apps. An Android smartphone user with a company app installed will be able to open it directly from mobile search results in Google.

App indexing

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How it Works?

“The App Indexing API provides a way for developers to notify Google about deep links in their native apps and allows the Google app to drive re-engagement through Google Search query auto completions, providing fast and easy access to inner pages in apps. The deep links reported using the App Indexing API are also used by Google to index app content and are surfaced in Google Search results.”  From Google’s App Indexing API site.

Make It So

  • To connect company app to website enable deep linking of app from the Developers Console. Make sure the app is set up to work with Google Play Store
  • Developers must set up actions called “intent filters” that tell Google when a user is viewing a section of content, what the content’s title is, and if there is a Web page on your site that has the same content
  • When a user views content in app, Google will be notified via their app indexing API that the content exists in the app
  • By querying Google search for the corresponding content on the website a user is offered an option of viewing content in the app
  • Currently, Google doesn’t analyze any content that keeps track of content location in website and app

Where Are We Today?

Google’s Mobile App Indexing API helps users navigate to content located deep inside an app. The API also helps Google discover and analyze new content.

Google has a hard time determining whether or not the app’s content outranks the competitor’s webpage content. But if Google already knows that the content on your site outranks a competitor’s content it will direct a user to read the content on your app rather than on your own site because it’s a better experience.

And so begins a major shift in search. Apps will now start competing with traditional websites for rankings and traffic. Brands need to understand the importance of optimizing their app content so it shows higher in Google’s search results.

Here are a few factors to consider right now:

  1. While Google can point a user to content within an app, the ranking itself is primarily based off the Web version of the content. There’s no hard proof as yet that elements like whether the user has already downloaded the app and how much time he/she spends in the app factor into the ranking as well.
  2. While unlikely at this point it is possible that content inside an app doesn’t have a corresponding Web page, in which case the app content could outrank other Web pages.
  3. Google can determine if Web content is high-quality and worthy of a number one ranking by looking at links, user behavior, social activity, page structure, site themes, and many other indicators. With apps, a lot of those same signals don’t yet exist.
  4. Currently App SEO is less about optimizing the app and more about optimizing the Web-based version of the content, and linking that to the identical content within the app. This helps Google  determine which version of the content to show to the user/searcher, depending on the device and user behavior.

Let us know what you think of App Indexing, a new generation of SEO. Contact us to get your App Store Optimized.

Team Position2

May 13, 2015

By Team Position2