Mobile App Indexing: What is it?

Why Android app development should utilize Mobile App indexing

Tuesday Sep 15, 2015

Author

Chris Hardy

Chris Hardy

Technical Business Developer

University Apartments is one of your oldest clients. You have built them a great website and mobile app, but they are having trouble engaging and retaining users on their app. They get a lot of one time installs of their mobile app, but have trouble re-engaging users. Because their user base is only looking for new apartments once a year, many simply forget that they installed the app in the first place.

Does this story sound familiar? Spend a lot of effort building apps for your clients, but having trouble getting users to install it and become repeat users? Mobile App Indexing is an great way to engage new and returning users with your app simply from when they search Google from their mobile device.

What is App Indexing?
App Indexing is a way for Google to look inside your apps for relevant search results. Take this simple example: the other day my son, who is five, asked me about blue whales. As any good parent, I immediately asked Google, the source of all knowledge for five-year old questions. Here was my search result:mobileApp-IndexingScreenshot1You can see that the first result returned by Google is for a Wikipedia link. This links to the Wikipedia app on my phone, although you are given the option to open it on the website. You can see what happens if I open it in the second image, the Wikipedia app is opened to the relevant page about blue whales.

To understand what is happening, let’s look at another example from my wife’s phone, which is also an Android. Same search for Blue Whale:mobileApp-IndexingScreenshot2

What happened to the Wikipedia result? Ok, truth be told, it only fell down one spot and is directly below the information from Google about the blue whale. Google has a large amount of trust in Wikipedia for these types of questions, so their search rank will not be hugely impacted by app indexing. Still a move from result 1 to result 2 has a substantial difference in site visits.

Google is now allowing for apps to be indexed, which can have a dramatic effect on searches. As we have noted before an opportunity from mobilegeddon, more and more searches, even the majority of searches in some markets, are taking place on mobile devices. This means two major benefits are occurring for those apps that correctly format their app for google indexing.

Two major benefits of App Indexing

Getting new users
To easily see these two advantages, let’s consider an apartment complex in a college town, like Lafayette, Indiana, home of Purdue University. With each new school year, comes thousands of searches for great apartment options. As most of the users are college students, the vast majority will ask Google from their phones. Apartment managers work hard to make their apartments come up high in Google searches for “Apartments near Purdue.” If you have an indexed mobile app, then when your site comes up on Google search it will give the user the chance to install the app.

This is a great opportunity to get more users for your app, especially a free app like an apartment listing app for apartments around Purdue University in this example.

Retaining old users
Getting new users is part of the power of app indexing, but the real advantage comes from the increased exposure once an app is installed. Take our example of Purdue University again. Last year, a student downloaded your app, but that was a year ago and he or she forgot it even existed. Students have hundreds of apps on their phones, so it is difficult to remember all of them. As this student prepares to move to a different apartment for  the next school year, he or she again search “Apartments near Purdue.” Now, because your app is indexed and it is installed on his or her mobile device, it is the first search result returned. The app, which he or she did not even remember was on their phone, opens and can be used to find another apartment.

You work so hard to get people to download your app – now Google app indexing makes it easy to retain your user base.

Here is exactly what Google says:

App Indexing helps you get your app found in Google Search. Once your app is indexed, mobile users who search for content related to your app can see an install button to your Android app in Search results. This helps you increase your install base.

App Indexing also helps you keep your users coming back. When mobile users with your app installed, search for something relevant to your app content, search results can link directly to the relevant content in your app. This keeps your customer base engaged. (App Indexing Info from Google)

Now that you have seen the power of app indexing, coming up soon we will cover how to technically index your app and connect it to your website.

Do you or one of your clients have a mobile app that you want indexed? Contact IT Hands and let our team help you out.

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