Mobile Apps To Be Included In Google Search Indexing


For the most part, what Google wants, Google gets. And starting in 2016, Google wants to change how apps will be ranked through their app indexing. All SEO agencies need to pay close attention to what is on the horizon. Recently the tech mogul announced that within Android, it can now organize and rank app-only web content; this is content that has no web counterpart and only exists within the app itself. Now that Google ranks app-only content apps in a mobile search, the users need to understand how the new system differs.

The main factor in the change is Google relying heavily on their App Indexing API and the signals they receive from it. While Google has given a bump in rankings for using the App Indexing API in the past, the new strategy will go beyond that process.

Apps Early, Apps Often

Google has been pushing the idea of mobile apps since 2013 when they supported content within apps that related directly to the mobile web version. For instance, let’s say there was a native app that listed a variety restaurants, Google would only link out to certain restaurants with a mobile friendly website. Now, they’re doing the same, only with mobile apps. If you’re on a mobile website for a hotel and said company also has native mobile app, Google will then push the user toward using the mobile app itself.

Go Ahead, Stay A While

The change in Google’s App Indexing API will share not only how long users are in app, but also the amount of time spent within a specific page or section of the app. With this, one can assume Google will use the analytics to see the number of users and frequency of those actions to better determine how important a certain action or section is within the app itself.

Android Now, iOS Later

Google has more access to the content of Android apps compared to that of iOS apps, which is expected. With that being said, Google’s App Indexing API will still be able to be integrated directly with iOS app users. If you’re an iOS developer, make sure to include the option for direct integration so you can then communicate the app and its sections are about through the API to Google.

When it comes down to it, if you’re thinking about — or already are in — the world of mobile apps, give Google what it wants. Including the company’s App Indexing API as part of any app won’t be a nice addition, it will be necessary.

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Comments (5)

  • Tracy Nov 20, 2015 at 16:11 PM

    Just curious, what if we don’t want certain things accessible via search? Will the membership feature protect the content within the app?

    I’ll be sending information out that I’d like to have the app users access from the app only, such as contest results, etc., as an incentive to use the app rather than the web.

    Will this affect that?

    • Patrick Schock Nov 25, 2015 at 19:11 PM

      Hey Tracy, great question! Not sure of answer but we’ll have our team reach out and clear this up. Thanks.

  • Brandon Nov 24, 2015 at 22:11 PM

    Hi Mike,
    Great article!! Thank you for the information.

    My agency is a Biz Apps reseller. Do we need to take any additional steps to ensure that our apps include the Google App Indexing API?

    Thank you,

    • Patrick Schock Nov 25, 2015 at 19:11 PM

      Hey Brandon,

      Unfortunately, Mike is no longer with the company. To my knowledge though, you shouldn’t need to worry about any additional steps but to be safe feel free to reach out to our support team and they can help you here. Thanks!

  • Tracy Nov 26, 2015 at 17:11 PM

    Hi Brandon and Patrick (thanks for your response by the way), I’ve asked support a similar question on the ability to index and the response is that our apps are not index able.

    We’ll need someone to make it work for us outside the app.

    Hopefully that changes in the future, and if so, hopefully we can control what is seen outside the app as well.

    I can see some pretty cool benefits, so long as we can also block certain things.

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