Google started including indexed app in its search results starting back in October 2013.
The idea was if Google can index apps just like its websites, it could show cached content from apps alongside websites in the search results.
If the content is available in an app and the app is installed on the user’s device, he or she can view that content in the app, without the need of opening a web browser, for a native mobile experience.
This feature comes especially handy when you are already signed in in an app and don’t want to check again in the browser just for the sake of viewing the page.
The long procedure, when you have to check someone’s LinkedIn profile on Google, and you need to login LinkedIn in a browser to view the profile,will be shortened.
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App indexing existed somewhat in limited form until it a rolled out as a part of Google’s “Mobile Friendly Update” on 21st April 2015.
What is app indexing?
The first question that will come to anybody’s mind is “If I don’t sell or market Android apps,why should I care?” If your marketing efforts don’t include much of mobile, then you don’t have to worry.
However, if your online marketing plan includes a mobile strategy, then this affects you irrespectively. First, Google will prefer the sites that also offer apps.
In addition, the websites that appear with an app will be more prominent than those that don’t.
What if I don’t have the app installed?
If you click on an app link that is not installed on you device, you’ll be offered to download them.
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What about other search engines and mobile platforms?
Google is working to bring App indexing to iOS too. Soon, just like their Android counterparts, iPhone and iPad users could open content within an app if installed on their device.
Bing also allows app indexing but only for Windows Phone. Its search market share is too low to consider. Microsoft is focused only on promoting its own platform.
Why it even matters for masses?
It matters because mobile searches are going into new verticals. They are no more restricted to content that opens in browser, but in apps.
Soon Google might call some links to open in wearables or Google Glass or Apple Watch in case of iPhone. In addition to apps and websites, it might start to index health status, heart rate from wearables data or live view from Google Glass.
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There are, however, a few questions that only time can answer (or may be Google).
- What is, in addition, Google thinking to index in future?
- What about other platforms: Blackberry or Windows? Will they ever be included?
- How feasible is it for a business to create an app solely for increasing the search presence?
- How will it affect desktop search? Will Google bring Mac OS X and Windows Apps too for indexing?
- What will be the long-term effects on Google Search as a whole?
Another significant facet of this progress is that more businesses will insist on developing a mobile app to stay relevant and high in Google Search Results.
With apps becoming as important as websites, even more sometimes, businesses might cut development and online marketing financial plan to make way for app development plan.
After iOS joins the club, almost 97% of all apps will be discoverable on Google.
Desktop-based searches, as evident, will remain mostly unaffected by these developments; only time will tell how they will emerge with these developments.
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What are the advantages to app publishers and developers?
This is a win-win situation for both users and developers.
The more type of content that is indexed, the better the users’ search experience, and results, while the publishers will profit from more in-app traffic, revenues and engagement.
Now they will no more have to push for making users download their apps.
Google will display the Play Store link whenever the content is available on an app.
If the app is not installed, you will be asked to download it from the store.
Now, more than ever, app marketers have to take extra care of what they write in app descriptions, or their app won’t be visible on Google Search
To make users to get to a native mobile experience on any platform would be more adamant when this feature will be available for iOS devices: iPad and iPhone.
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1. The tactical takeaway
If you have a mobile app that can be indexed by Google (Currently Android and iOS), try to get it indexed. To get underway, visit Google’s App Indexing page for guiding principles.
Note: App indexing for iOS is still in an early stage and it will take some time before a rollout comes in terms of Android.
2. The Strategic takeaway
Mobile will turn out to be even more important for marketers and techies. Particularly those who were grumbling about not getting enough conversions from mobile devices will see hope now that people can open a page in the app in the search results.
Apps are always considered as the best source for leads.
Search Engine Optimisers should look at the areas where mobile results can be amended.
Succinctly, make mobile the principal focus of your online marketing efforts. Mobile is the present and future of online marketing.
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Unmistakably, app indexing is crucial in the move towards healthy mobile search and usage.
SEOs, webmasters, and sellers need to understand this. More remarkably, they have to distinguish the mobile search business. It isn’t stationary; it is riding on waves.
We are steering towards a larger mobile universe, the development of indexation latent, and enhancing mobile in every way imaginable.