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A Quick Guide on App Indexing

Mobile Marketing July 22nd, 2015



On April 21, 2015, Google confirmed their mobile-friendly algorithm update will favour mobile-friendly websites. In addition, apps that are indexed through Google will rank better as well.


As  we continue to rely more on mobile devices, finding appropriate content and information easily have become an important factor. The development of useful mobile apps has allowed users to access information more easily. Due to its usability, many mobile device users choose to use apps to find necessary information. In fact, Google once said, “sometimes the best answer is on a website, and sometimes it’s in an app”.

What is App Indexing?


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App Indexing allows apps to be easily found in Google search. When an app is indexed through Google. mobile users searching for specific information related to the app can see an install button in search results to the Android app. Including an install button directly on the Google search engine result pages increases the likelihood of having the app installed.

In addition to an increased exposure of your app on SERPs, App Indexing can encourage users to use an app more. For example, if a user has a recipe app installed on their mobile device and they search for “chick linguine” in Google, search results will display relevant content within the recipe app installed.

How is it Different from Website Indexing?

As explained by Dan Cristo of SEW, Google crawlers are not every efficient when it comes to indexing App content. A typical crawler largely relies on hyperlinks for crawling. However, Apps don’t use hyperlinks for App discovery unlike web pages. Therefore, Google has to rely on an API, Mobile App Indexing API, to discover in-app content.

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Is it Only Applicable for Android Apps on Play Store?

Yes, until now, it was only applicable for Android Apps. However, it’s slowly extending to iOS. Currently, Google is testing the feature with a small group of test collaborates before releasing to the masses. In its current form, App indexing for iOS offers most of the functionality found in its Android counterpart, including the ability to open/install an App directly from Google Search.

Who can have Their Apps Indexed?

Anyone with an App on Play Store can have their app indexed by Google Search. However, there are required instructions in order to do so. As for iOS apps, it will need to wait a little longer before seeing their apps appearing in the Google search results. Also, it’s good to note that there are much fewer iOS apps indexed in comparison to Android apps.

Getting Your App Indexed 

Before we get started on having your app indexed, it’s important that you enable deep linking in your app.

  1. Enable deep linking in the app from the developers Console.
    • Deep links are enabled in three ways:
      • Using the “<link>” element in the <head> section of a page
      • Using the <xhtml:link> element on the sitemap or
      • Using the schema.org for ViewAction
  2. Connect the app to your Website
  3. Setup the app to work with Google Play services

Now that you’ve enabled deep linking, follow these steps to have your app indexed by Google:

  1. Sign in on your Google Play Developer Console
  2. Click on all applications
  3. Select your application
  4. Click on services & APIs
  5. Click on Verify website and enter the website address
  6. Return to Google Webmaster Tools
  7. Click on all messages
  8. Click on approve
  9. Review all the information before approving
  10. Set up “intent filters“.
  11. Test using deep link testing tool.

What are the Technical requirements?

For Android:


  1. Developed on apps with a minsdkVersion no higher than 17.
  2. Available on searches using the Google app version 2.8+, and Chrome for Android 4.1+.
  3. Available for signed-in users.



  1. Developed using a base SDK of iOS8.
  2. Available on searches using the Google app version 5.3+, and Chrome for iOS.
  3. Available for signed-in users.

What are the Benefits for the Business?

  • Attract users to your app
    App indexing is a great way to have users discover your app through Google Search. When your app is indexed by Google, when users are searching terms that are related to your app’s content, Google SERPs will show your app as related content. It will also have an install button for users to directly install your app from the search results.
  • Gain awareness
    Having your app appear in search results will allow users to find discover your app. This can help you gain exposure and increase awareness.
  • Returning app users
    A great part of app indexing is its ability to send users back to your app. When users are searching terms that are related to your app’s content, it will display links that directly link to your app. This allows users to stay engaged with your app.

What are the Benefits to Users?

  • It allows for easy app discovery for users within the Play Store and in Google search results
  • The ability to find apps through Google search without having to open and install through the app store.
  • Discover new and relevant apps for the search phrase
  • Discover new apps related to your search phrase

Other Search Engines are Doing it too!

In May, Bing announced that they are indexing apps from the Windows Phone store and Windows Store. Their app indexing will also support both iOS apps, Android apps, and Windows 10.  However, Bing stated that the content from the apps will not be ranked on their search engine, but it may in the near future.

Do I Need an App?

App indexing is bold in its influence towards healthy mobile search and usage. Both marketers and business owners need to think about the power of apps for their business.

However, not all businesses should develop an app for the sake of app indexing and Google. It needs to be relevant to your product and service.

If you’re not a company that is suitable for app creation, then make sure you have a mobile-friendly website!

Post By Dhavan Bhow (1 Posts)

Website: → Intersols Intelligent Solutions


Dhavan is a SEO Blogger with an Australia based leading IT company Intesols that offers wide range of digital solutions for businesses across Australia. I have 3+ years of experience in digital marketing. I am passionate about blogging, social media marketing and digital branding. I help small businesses utilize social media and digital branding tools to nurture their growth.

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A Quick Guide on App Indexing

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