In April 2015, Google announced its mobile friendly ranking algorithm (#Mobilegeddon). Essentially, Google made two announcements and took the algorithm live on 21st April
- Mobile-friendly websites would be seen higher in search results
- Relevant content within Apps would be shown in search results.
The second part of the announcement catered to App Indexing, which is not new (Google announced this in 2013).
What is App Indexing?
According to this post from Google, “App Indexing puts your app in front of users who use Google Search. It works by indexing the URL patterns you provide in your app manifest and using API calls from your app to make content within your app available to both existing and new users. Specifically, when you support URLs for your app content, Android and iOS users can go directly to it from Search results on their device. Finally, Google uses App Indexing API calls from your app as a ranking signal for your URLs.”
What does this mean? Simply put, and as stated above, when you Search on Google, the SERPs will have pages within Apps listed.
App Indexing is available for Android & iOS Apps.
Why does App Indexing matter now?
Well, it does matter a lot in the mobile-first world that we are living in. In May 2012, India was the first country in the world where mobile internet traffic usurped desktop traffic. If this trend continues, and I’m sure it will, App indexing is a big leap in the evolution of mobile search. Why? Two reason.
- Relevancy of Search results: By pulling results from within an app, Google is widening the indexing net. This means that more contextually relevant search results are likely to be available for users.
- Higher Engagement & Content / App discovery : Google has expanded app indexing to include results from apps that are not installed on your phone. Which means that users will engage with apps more than earlier, the engagement being triggered by mobile searches.
I have a mobile app. Should I get it Indexed?
Absolutelly, yes. To get you started, you need to read through the Google Developers guidelines for App Indexing. App Indexing is extensively available for Android Apps and has also started for iOS apps.
Here’s a step by step guide to implementing the App Indexing API / SDK: http://search-codelabs.appspot.com/codelabs/app-indexing#1
I don’t have a mobile app or a mobile friendly website. What should I do?
Well, not much can be done by sitting idle. Get going! If you are a marketer living in 2016, make mobile your obsession. Talk to your CTO / your lead developer to get that app live. Make a presentation to your CMO and get him excited about having a mobile friendly / responsive website.
Go Mobile or Go Home.
Some final words on App Indexing
App Indexing is definitely a good step forward in your marketing strategy. The entire world is moving to a mobile dominated universe and we as Marketers, SEO’s, Webmasters must make mobile optimization our preroragative.