App Indexing: How to Index an App on Google Search and Why?
22 May 2018
App Indexing: An extra opportunity for more users, more downloads, app engagement, user retention, and brand visibility.
If your mobile app doesn't benefit of using latest SEO and mobile marketing strategies, you're risking it to get lost in the growing sea of other apps on the market.
There is a new digital infrastructure that merges the border lines between desktop and mobile content and platforms. It opens many questions to app businesses (such as "How to index my iOS and Android apps in Google search?").
This is where App Indexing comes to play. It represents an extra opportunity for increasing the search visibility of your app and brand in our new digital reality.
What is App Indexing?
If you have an app, you surely want it to appear in mobile search engine results. Google App Indexing is a system designed to allow apps show in Google search results pages alongside other relevant web results.
When users search keywords on Google through an Android or iOS smartphone, the results would not only show web pages but would also display relevant content from apps. This way people can install or launch the app from search results.
App Indexing makes Google index apps just like websites. Google said: “Sometimes the best answer is on a website, and sometimes it’s in an app.”
Why Is App Indexing Important? Key Benefits
As you might guess, app indexing is a part of the latest trends in app marketing and user acquisition strategies that can promote greater visibility of your app.
However, there are other key points to note. Here are the main benefits and reasons why you need to consider app indexing:
- More downloads, more users, and more reviews of your app
App indexing makes sure that app stores are no longer your one and only source of users and app installs.
People can easily find and download your app in the shape of a simple install button while they are checking Google search results. This practically means growing target audience and more mobile users for your apps.
- Re-engage users who have your app installed
According to Google, on average, users have 35 apps installed on their smartphone. However, only 35% of those apps is used daily.
It's more challenging than ever to gain and hold the user's engagement. App indexing can help you. If a person has your app installed, Google can easily crawl “pages” from your app while this person is seeking through the search engine.
When the user clicks on search results, the app is launched and the relevant content is displayed.
This not only gets the mobile users back into your app, but promotes their engagement, re-engagement, and retention. Ultimately, you must go beyond just measuring app installs and think more about in-app behavior.
- Better marketing and brand visibility
App visibility is as important as app development and the number of users is the strongest pillar of an app success.
According to Smart Insights, 48% of consumers start their mobile research with a search engine. It makes optimizing your mobile marketing strategy essential for you.
With app indexing, there are better chances for consumers to find your brand, since the links to your apps are visible or promoted in the mobile search results.
In other words, app indexing as a new aspect of SEO opens one more door and add one more opportunity for your overall app marketing efforts to be successful.
So, is your app in the Google index?
How to index your app on Google?
Commonly, app indexing requires development efforts and skills. Many marketers, business owners or other non-techies can see it as complicated as a rocket science.
Google’s documentation on Firebase App Indexing makes the process of app indexing quite simple for developers and for others with some tech background.
Here, we will outline some basic steps you need to keep in mind in order to achieve a successful app indexing.
Before that, we need to explain what deep linking means as it is a crucial moment when it comes to indexing your app.
Simply put, deep link is a link that opens the app on your mobile device. Deep links direct people to the information they are searching for. Each deep link lands on a different page inside an app.
Deep linking helps your app in so many ways. Mainly, it covers the web-to-mobile app gap, while providing more seamless user experience.
How To Index An Android App On Google?
- Enable, and set up deep linking within your app. It is the first thing you need to do. Deep linking in Android is performed with the aid of Intent Filters. Those intent filters help users open links from within the app. Intent filters specify how your app responds to an action.
- Link your app and your website. The goal is to associate your website content with your app content. You can do this with the help of Google Search Console. It will ensure that Google can index and crawl your app automatically while controlling the both your app and website domain.
- Use the API to implement app indexing. API contains important SEO details such as titles, descriptions, etc. This step helps in improving your app’s ranking in mobile search results.
- Test your implementation. You can test your implementation efforts with some very useful tools such as Android Debug Bridge and Fetch as Google (Search Console). They will make sure you've done the above steps correctly.
How To Index An iOS App On Google?
- Support deep links in your app. Deep linking in iOS differs from Android. Here, the developer needs a custom URL scheme to deep link the pages in your iOS app. In other words, the developer has to use UIApplicationDelegate method. It helps to open the right app content when a user clicks a link from Google search results.
- Create the app-to-site association. This will add support for universal links. With them, iOS users can tap a link to your website and get seamlessly redirected to your installed app without going through Safari. If your app isn’t installed, tapping a link to your website opens your website in Safari.
- Test your implementation. In order to test it and find out if you successfully fulfilled the steps above, just preview the search result on iOS and check that it takes you to the right location in your app.
Thinking strategically, mobile search optimization is becoming the new passion for marketers and business owners who want their apps to succeed in our digital world.
App indexing is a big step ahead in the mobile usage. Мarketers, SEOs, developers, and CTOs need to realize its potential and make a plan to improve their app presence in Google.
If you’ve been in the app business for a few years, you know that staying on the cutting edge of digital marketing requires constant learning how to optimize your app content for all of the locations, points, and formats in which it operates.