Google Introduces App Indexing Feature To Search Results

App Indexing
While browsing the web on your smartphone, have you ever felt the need to open up an app associated with the website you're on, and look for something in that app? For example, if I am on an eBook reading website, I might need to add a book ID given on the website in the reader app, or I might need to see a list of places on a map-reading app. Switching context from webpages over to applications can be annoying, and might not always give you what you wanted. To help address this issue, Google has announced a big addition to Google Search - App Indexing, which will help searchers look for information within mobile apps just like they would on websites!

What is App Indexing?

The app indexing feature uses the expertise of webmasters to help create a seamless user experience across websites and mobile apps. App Indexing is not dissimilar to website indexing, not on the conceptual level at least. Googlebot can now crawl and index apps just like it can index websites.

App indexing is done through your existing sitemap file, and through Google Webmaster Tools. Again, the process is the same as with a website.

How does it work?

Suppose you have set up your sitemap, and your website and app have both been indexed by Google Search. What next? Whenever relevant, Google will then try to show deep links to your app right on the Search Results.

A deep link is a link that, when activated, opens up another program to show more relevant data. The concept is often used by Map applications, dictionaries, music players, and so on.

Whenever users will search for a keyword and end up with results from your website, they will be shown relevant deep links to your app on the SERPs. When they click on these links, your Android app will launch, and take your users directly to the content they need. Of course, for this to work, they will need to have your app installed on their mobile devices.

Here’s an example from Google's blog of a search for home listings in Mountain View:

Of course, app indexing doesn't work out-of-the-box for every app. Google is currently testing this feature with an initial group of app developers. This pool of developers is being increased, and with time, it'll cover almost the entire Android app market. So if you are an app developer, and have an app for your website, then you can let Google know that you're interested.

Don't have an app or don't know how to make one? Don't worry! Check out this simple tutorial for creating your own Android app! We'll be releasing another tutorial very soon, so stay tuned :)

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