Mobile applications started its journey way back in 2008. As of today, mobile giants have their app stores in a cutthroat competition with one another. To name a few most popular app stores – BlackBerry App World, Windows Phone Store, Google Play Store, and Apple App Store. Apps are of typically two types – free & paid. Quite recently the No. 1 search engine giant Google announced that it would now index mobile apps in its search results. This means that users will now find relevant apps in the search results as per their search queries on Google. That is a good news for all app creators because Android apps indexing will be open to all of them. All this started in April & May of 2014 when Google announced the feature expansions as mentioned in December of 2013. As quoted by Google, “Sometimes the best answer is on a website, and sometimes it’s in an app.” With this announcement, Google has transformed its quote into reality.
For those not familiar with mobile apps indexing, it is a feature that will take into consideration the content deep linking from mobile device search results. Before this, Google used to index only selected applications. The title links in app search results can redirect users directly to the app content. This helps users in extracting apps from Google with ease. How users will know that whether the given link will redirect them to the app content or the website? This is determined from the green text present below the link. If the green text has application name and an icon besides the name, then the result will redirect to the app content. If in case green text is a website URL, then it will link to a webpage. Deep linking of applications will not only help popular apps from brand names, but also aspiring app creators creating new apps can take full advantage of this feature. This feature not just helps users to find app content with ease but also re-organize apps already installed.
In addition, it will help website owners to display their websites on few places within their apps, so that people who visit the apps will also visit the website as well. To do this, Google has sketched a simple 2-step process – deep linking the application support, connecting website and application so that to notify Google that the app is an official part of that website. Originally, when the indexing of the apps was nonexistent, the successive CTR and relevant search results turned out to be a poor experience. Thanks to this new indexing feature from Google, that delivers a memorable experience to all Android users who can directly open the relevant page from Google mobile search results. Right now the service is limited only to the Android 4.1 OS for Google Search App version 2.8 +. The reason being, Google wants to test this feature initially with a specific target audience, but soon it will make this feature available to all Android phones.
Let us wrap this discussion by going through certain methodological tips from Google, while incorporating mobile app indexing:
Application deep links should only point towards canonical website URLs.
It is highly imperative to specify app deep link for the homepage.
Not every single URL in the website sitemap should have a parallel app deep link.
Do not include deep links not pointing towards your application.
Footnotes not provided for deep links, which implements native ARM code.