Google Expands Android App Indexing to All Developers

Google enabled Android app indexing for more than 20 applications in April and has now expanded this utility to all Android apps and developers. As the app indexing is open to everyone, you can now connect your website and your Android application so that the users who search from their smartphones and tablets can find and reach your app quickly. This will enhance visibility for your app right content among mobile users. Hundreds of apps including Tumblr, SlideShare, Walmart, and more have already implemented this feature.

The search engine giant made the announcement through its Webmaster Central blog post on June 25, 2014, saying that the process of getting your app deep links indexed has been greatly simplified. With app indexing, the Googlebot can index your Android app content so that the search engine can show up the deep links to your app in the mobile search results, provided the user has the app installed and your app content is relevant to the user query. If your app supports HTTP deep linking schemes, here’s what you should do:

  • To get Google to index your app content and let users enter your app from search results, specify intent filters in your app that indicate how particular content in your app can be reached
  • If you want Google to identify your app as the official application for your website, connect the app to the website through the Google Play Console and Webmaster Tools

Though Google can discover and index app deep links on their own, they recommend publishing the deep links. This is important in case your app only supports a custom deep link scheme. There are two ways in which you can publish the deep links

  • Insert a rel=alternate <link> element in the <head> section of each web page, or in your sitemap in order to specify the corresponding app URI
  • Use App indexing API

Google has added a new feature (Android Apps) in Webmaster Tools for tracking the issues that may arise during app indexing. This feature will show you the type of errors detected for app page-web page pairs along with example app URIs.

App URIs

Detailed instructions on how to debug each issue will be provided together with a QR code for the app deep links to make it easier for you to open them on your smartphone or tablet. Google will also send Webmaster Tools error notifications to keep you informed.

Now that apps are indexed and connected, users are ensured of an optimal experience in search results and click through to your mobile website, which can, in turn, drive conversions.

Best Practices for Adding Deep Links

When adding deep links to your sitemap or website, consider the following:

  • Include app deep links only for canonical web URLs
  • Do not include app deep links not supported by your app
  • If you are using News Sitemaps, include your deep link annotations in both News Sitemaps and general Sitemaps
  • Do not provide annotations for deep links executing native ARM code so that app indexing will work in all platforms

Expertise in mobile site implementation and utilizing Google Webmaster Tools is crucial when it comes to adding deep links and exposing links in your app in search results.

About Monica Barber

Monica Barber

Monica Barber is the Internet Marketing Manager of MOS, a leading BPO company in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She joined the MOS team in 2013 bringing with her a wealth of experience in SEO, Social Media, web design and Internet Marketing management. She has successfully designed digital marketing campaigns for Fortune 500 and small to mid-size companies and continues creating new MOS digital strategies to keep up with Google’s everchanging algorithms.