Is App Indexing the Future of Mobile Search?

Google kept people wondering: what was the second part of its mobile-friendly ranking algorithm that went live on April 21, 2015?

The first part was obviously focused on SEOs and Webmasters to get their websites “mobile friendly” before the deadline.

Now it’s clear what the other part was. Google will put app content in search results. The content information will be gathered from an indexed app and will factor the search rankings.

As a result, app content will be more prominent than ever in Google Search results.

What is App Indexing?

When was the last time you had look for a restaurant on Foursquare? The normal procedure involves opening the app, Foursquare searching the name of the restaurant, clicking the relevant result, and checking the subsequent page to get the information. A hefty task, isn’t it?

With app indexing, you can open the relevant content on the app, provided it’s available, within the search results. No need to manually open the app. All you have to do is to put the name of the restaurant in Google Search. If the page is available on the app, provision to open it within the app will made available in the search result itself.

In many senses, this is much like how Google and any other search engine indexes websites. Google knows that in the future many websites might go app-only strategy, making the content available only within the app. This is a development in the right direction. Recently, an Indian e-shopping website, Myntra, decided to kill its websites, mobile as well as desktop, in favour of an app-only strategy. This announcement came as a shocker in the wake of Google’s latest mobile update. However, why does app indexing even matters considering only a few people have an app in the Play Store?

The Future of Search

It may not matter now, but this is the beginning of a new era in search. And with the introduction of wearable devices Google could potentially index even more things like health status, sleep status, heart rate, etc. The days are not far when searching on Google “healthy people in the area” could bring Google Plus profiles of people in your neighborhood who regularly work out with a wearable on. Or another search “people cycling in the area” would bring the name of people who are cycling presently with the places they cycle at.

In short, search is getting more personal every day.

The Impact

Another important aspect of this development is that more businesses will insist on developing an app to remain relevant in Google Search Results. Now that apps are as important as websites, businesses might cut their development and online marketing budget to make way for app development.

Soon, in addition to Apps from Play Store, Google will start indexing Apps from Apple App Store, making 97% of all apps discoverable in searches.

Desktop-based searches will evidently remain mostly unaffected by these developments, but only time will tell how they will emerge with these developments.

What is there for the app publishers?

This is a win-win situation for both the users and the publishers. The more content that is indexed, the better the users’ search experience and results while the publishers benefit from more in-app traffic and engagement. Now they no more have to struggle for making people download their app. Google will show the Play Store link whenever the content is available on an app. Someone tapping the link without the app will be promoted to download it.

App marketers, however, have to take extra care of app descriptions or their app won’t be visible on Google Search

Things will get better when this feature will be available for iOS devices, making it easier for users to get to a native mobile experience on any platform.

The Takeaways:

  1. The tactical Takeaway

If you have a mobile app supported by Google (Currently Android and iOS), get it indexed. To get started visit Google’s App Indexing page for guidelines. App indexing for iOS is still in early stage and it will take some time before a rollout in terms of Android.

  1. The Strategic Takeaway

Mobile will become even more important for marketers and techies. Especially those who were sulking about not getting conversions from mobile devices will have a new light of the day now that people can open a page within an app from the search results. Apps are the best source of conversion.

Search Engine Optimisers should look for the areas where mobile results can be improved.

Concisely, make mobile the centre of our online marketing efforts. They are present and future of online marketing.


Evidently, app indexing is presumptuous in the supremacy of mobile search and usage.

SEOs, webmasters, and sellers need to know this. More notably, they have to recognise the mobile search industry. It is no more static; it is in motion. We are heading in the direction of a larger mobile universe, a growth of indexation latent, and a more need to enhance mobile in every way conceivable

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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