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Bing’s New Search Model Enhances Engagement with Mobile APP Content

Bing’s New Search ModelBing has launched a new search model that will allow users to find mobile app content on its search engine. Typically, mobile app content is not crawlable, searchable, or indexable outside the app. Though Google has introduced mobile app indexing, it is limited to only Android apps. Bing is building up a massive index of mobile apps and app actions across all three major platforms – iOS, Android, and Windows. This is great news for mobile app developers and marketers as it will greatly ease the process of searching for apps and if carried through successfully, “drive app installs, engagement, and re-engagement” from search.

According to the official blog post, the new search model allows app publishers to use standardized markup on their website to help establish the link between the content and the app, as well as between content entities and the actions that the app can perform on them. This gives app publishers a tremendous opportunity to compete in crowded categories. Bing is leveraging two open standards to help app developers accomplish this – App links and Schema.org.

App Links

This is a simple markup that allows users to view your content within your app straight from web results and enjoy an immersive mobile experience. To be more specific, App Links is an open standard for deep-linking into apps that relies on the concept of the URL to create a relationship with a corresponding URI that points to the same content or activity inside an app. To establish such a relationship, you have to markup the published web page with a set of simple tags in the of your web page’s HTML. The format is:

<meta property="al:(platform):(property name)" content=(property value)

For example, if you want to map web address http://contoso.com/doc to a Contoso app which responds to the URI contoso://doc and it is an iOS app, then you would add the following markup to the section of your web page.

<meta property=”al:ios:url” content=”contoso://docs” />
<meta property=”al:ios:app_store_id” content=”123456789″ />
<meta property=”al:ios:app_name” content=”Contoso App” />

This will allow Microsoft’s search engine to find the content on the page as well as to index this “web-address-to-app-address” relationship while crawling and indexing the web URL. Users will see the web URL and the corresponding app deep link in their search results. So, the apps that you develop and market can be discovered not just with search by app name or app category but also with terms that associated to the content and entities they serve. Bing has also provided a new tool called ‘Applinks Markup Tester’ to help with testing and deploying App Links.

Schema.org

Schema.org is a standard way to markup web pages with structured data and is supported by major search engines Bing, Google, Yahoo and Yandex. This standard was originally focused on describing entities: people, places, things until Actions vocabulary announced in 2014. Actions vocabulary can not only describe the entity at a given web address, but also the actions that can be performed on it and the app or service that can perform the action. schema.org and its actions vocabulary help searchers find your app by the actions that your app can perform on the content they are looking for.

Advantages of Deep Mobile Linking

Bing’s Deep mobile linking offers many benefits for mobile app publishers:

  • Increases app installs, engagement and re-engagement
  • Highlights the areas within the app which do not get much traffic
  • Exponentially increases revenue from advertisers
  • Optimizes direct response campaigns

Bing has said that it will start applying App Linking soon, though no exact time frame was specified for when searchers can expect to view app content indexed in the search engine. However, with these new developments, it’s time for mobile app publishers to contemplate optimizing their search results for Bing immediately as the company has already started activities aimed at building up its index of app content.

About Rajeev Rajagopal

Rajeev Rajagopal

Rajeev Rajagopal is the Vice President of Managed Outsource Solutions, a leading BPO company in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Prior to joining MOS, he worked as a physical therapist. Having worked in several rehabilitation clinics, Rajeev has learned the importance of good medical records for medical billing and liability issues and the importance of the good back and front office support. He has extensive knowledge in SEO, medical billing and coding, and medical transcription. He has worked with a number of large organizations to effectively manage and provide outsourcing solutions.