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App Indexing: Standing Out from the Crowd

Take a trip to the world’s largest app store, Google Play, and check out applications that cover the gamut from games to books and business tools to music. Browse the 1.6 billion-app selection to find tools that will entertain, educate, distract, and direct, a seemingly endless array of applications designed to enhance user experience on-the-go, at the office and in the home.

These quick, convenient downloads feed an insatiable consumer appetite – and competition is incredibly fierce among brands and developers. With so many options available, how do you ensure that yours is heard above the din?

App Indexing: The Why and How

Times, they are a ‘changing: today’s consumers spend more time interacting with digital content on their smartphone and tablet apps than they do browsing the web. Media consumption is increasingly mobile, and people depend on apps to deliver the experiences that they want and need.

There are over 40 million app users in the UK, and this is only going to increase. Tapping into this market is imperative for businesses and brands. App Indexing enables Google to index apps just as it does websites.So, for example, if a mobile user searches for ‘best restaurants in Sydney’ or ‘budget hotel rooms in Manchester,’ Google can return results that contain the most relevant information – and that may be in an app instead of on a website.

This is not a new concept; as far back as 2013, Google has been returning results that include apps that people had already installed. In 2015, the search engine extended the functionality of App Indexing to include apps that users have not (yet) downloaded. This promotes more relevant results for users – and a significant opportunity for brands as it allows consumers to discover new and useful apps and content.

When you implement App Indexing, users may see app install buttons in search results. When they click-through, they enter the Google Play store and can install your app. From there, they continue right to the content they wanted within the app. This can boost new downloads and ensure current users remain more engaged with your content.

There is a three-step process for enabling App Indexing:

  1. Support deep links in your mobile app.
  2. Publish your deep links.
  3. Test your implementation and check for errors.

Visit Google Developers for more information and detailed instructions; there is also a step-by-step online class at Android Developers.

After you implement App Indexing, be sure to track performance. Google will provide a weekly update telling you how many clicks and impressions you garner. You will be able to determine how much traffic your app is getting because of App Indexing.

As of now, Google requires that your app have corresponding web content that’s already been indexed. Though this is likely to change in the near future to enable apps without corresponding content to be indexed.

As the demand for apps grows, brands need to figure out effective ways to get their wares in front of the right audience. App Indexing is one big step forward.

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