Google’s App Indexing for Android: From Deep Linking to Recommended Apps to Install
According to comScore’s (@comScore) report, “2015 U.S. Digital Future in Focus,” for the past few years, smartphone penetration in the United States has been growing at about 10 percentage points annually, and reached 75% penetration of the mobile user base at the end of 2014. While iOS and Android (@Android) dominate the smartphone market in the U.S., the latter maintains the majority of smartphone market share at 53%.
Google knows that mobile is the future, and has worked consistently to provide a seamless experience to users of Google Search across websites and mobile apps. The introduction of Google App Indexing in October 2013 allowed Android smartphone users who have apps installed on their devices to access content directly from relevant mobile search results on Google.
“App Indexing lets Google index apps just like websites. Deep links to your Android app appear in Google Search results, letting users get to your native mobile experience quickly, landing exactly on the right content within your app,” noted the overview page on Google Developers. Among other benefits, app indexing aimed to help app developers increase their install base and encourage app re-engagement with existing users.
Google Mobile Search Now Recommends Apps to Install
Previously, apps could only be displayed on Google’s mobile search results if the app had already been installed. That changed on April 16, 2015, when Lawrence Chang (@lawrence_chang), Product Manager at Google, announced that Google mobile search on Android will now recommend apps for users to install based on their search query.
“App Indexing has already been helping people engage with your Android app after they’ve installed it — we now have 30 billion links within apps indexed,” noted Chang. “Starting this week, people searching on Google can also discover your app if they haven’t installed it yet.” Chang went on to note that this feature was only available to app developers who’ve implemented App Indexing.
“When indexed content from your app is relevant to a search done on Google on Android devices, people may start to see app install buttons for your app in search results.” [See Figure 1]
Just as importantly, Chang said that Google has already started to use App Indexing as a ranking signal for all Android users. For more information on App Indexing—and other features such as Voice Actions, Structured Data, and Webmaster Tools—check out Google Search for Developers.
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