App Indexing

App indexing is a technique that enables search engines to index the content within the app and display it in the search results of mobile devices. In this blog post, I will dive deep into the concept of app indexing, its benefits, and how it can be used to improve the ASO and SEO of an app.

What is App Indexing?

App indexing is a process of creating a bridge between mobile apps and search engines, allowing the content within the app to be crawled and indexed by search engines. By implementing app indexing, mobile app developers can enable the search engine to display relevant app content directly in the search results of mobile devices. This helps users access the desired app content without requiring them to open the app. With app indexing, users can quickly and easily find the desired information within the app, enhancing their overall search experience.

How does App Indexing work?

App Indexing is accomplished through the use of deep linking, which allows specific pages or content within an app to be linked to other apps or websites. The process involves associating deep links with corresponding web pages or URLs pointing to the app content and making these links available to search engines.

When a user performs a search query that matches the app content, the search engine displays the relevant app content in the search results alongside traditional web results. If the user clicks on the deep link, it takes them directly to the relevant content within the app without having to navigate through the app’s home screen. This process is made possible by the use of metadata and APIs that provide information about the app content to the search engine.

To enable App Indexing, developers can provide metadata in their app’s manifest file and associate specific web URLs with their app content. The metadata contains information about the app’s structure, such as the location of specific activities or content, as well as the content’s attributes, such as the title, description, and keywords.

When a user performs a search that triggers an app’s indexed content to appear in the search results, the search engine uses APIs to communicate with the app and retrieve the relevant content. The app’s API serves as a bridge between the app’s content and the search engine’s index, providing the necessary data and instructions for the search engine to display the correct content to the user.

What Does This App Indexing mean for Mobile Developers?

App indexing has several benefits for app developers and publishers, including:

  1. Improved App Visibility: The main benefit of app indexing for mobile developers is increased discoverability. By enabling search engines to index app content, developers can expand their app’s reach beyond the app store and improve their visibility on Google search results. This can result in a substantial increase in organic traffic to their app, which can, in turn, boost engagement and revenue.
  2. Better User Engagement: Another advantage of app indexing is that it can improve the user experience by enabling deep linking. When users click on a search result that corresponds to a deep link, they are taken directly to the specific content within the app. This eliminates the need for users to navigate through the app to find the content they need, resulting in a more streamlined and intuitive experience.
  3. Increased App Downloads: App indexing can lead to increased app downloads, as it makes it easier for users to discover the app and access the relevant content within the app. This can result in higher app store rankings and more organic downloads.
  4. Increase User Retention: Additionally, app indexing can also lead to better retention rates, as users are more likely to continue using an app that provides easy access to the content they need. It can also lead to increased revenue, as app developers can monetize the increased traffic and engagement through various methods such as in-app advertising, subscription models, or in-app purchases.
  5. New User Insights: App indexing can also help developers gain insights into user behavior and engagement through analytics. By analyzing user search queries and interactions with the app, developers can gain valuable insights into user behavior, which can inform app development and marketing strategies.
  6. Improved App Store Rankings: App indexing can also improve the app store rankings, as it is an important factor that the app store algorithms consider when ranking the apps. Apps that are indexed and have deep links are more likely to rank higher in the search results.

What is the difference between app indexing and deep linking?

App indexing and deep linking are two distinct techniques that serve different purposes. While app indexing makes an app discoverable on Google search results, deep linking enhances the user experience by allowing users to bypass the app’s home screen and navigate directly to the desired content within the app.

The primary objective of app indexing is to enhance the visibility and discoverability of an app on Google search results. This is achieved by indexing the content within the app and making it searchable, just like web pages on a website. In contrast, deep linking allows a user to bypass an app’s home screen and go directly to a specific piece of content or feature within the app, improving the user experience.

The reason why deep linking is necessary is that apps do not work in the same way as a browser. Unlike web pages, which have a unique URL for every page, apps require specific deep links that are configured to take the user directly to a particular location within the app. Without deep linking, users may have to navigate through multiple screens before finding the desired content within the app.

How to Implement App Indexing for ASO

Implementing app indexing for ASO requires a few key steps:

  1. Deep Link Implementation: The first step is to implement deep links within the app, which allows the search engine to index the content within the app. Deep links are specific URLs that point to a particular screen or content within your app. By setting up deep links, you allow the search engine to index the content within your app, making it more discoverable to users. Deep links can be implemented using various methods, including URI schemes, Android App Links, and iOS Universal Links.
  2. Submitting the App to Search Engines: Once the deep links are implemented, the app needs to be submitted to the search engines for indexing. You can then create an association between your app and the website that contains the app’s content. This involves submitting the sitemap of the app to Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools.
  3. Optimizing App Content: App indexing relies on the quality and relevance of the app content. It is important to optimize the app content for the relevant keywords and phrases and ensure that the content is high quality and relevant to the user’s search intent.
  4. Monitoring App Indexing Performance: Finally, monitoring the app indexing performance and making adjustments as necessary is important. This involves tracking the app store rankings, organic downloads, and user engagement metrics. Once you have established deep links and an association between your app and your website, your app will be more discoverable to users searching for content related to your app. This can increase your app’s visibility, downloads, and user engagement.

To request an association between your app and your website, follow these steps:

  1. Sign in to the Play Console and select the app for which you’d like to request the association.
  2. Click on the “Setup” tab on the left-hand menu, and then click on “Advanced Settings.”
  3. Under “App Indexing,” click on “Add website.”
  4. Enter the homepage’s URL of the website that contains the content of the app. It is recommended to omit the protocol (HTTP or HTTPS) and only write the domain name (for example, “”).
  5. Click on “Send verification request.”

After this, a request will be sent to the owner of the site in Search Console. If the Play Console and the Search Console account are the same, the association may be immediately auto-approved. Otherwise, the owner of the site in Search Console will have to approve the request for the association to be established.

App Indexing Best Practices Tips

  1. Website optimization for mobile is crucial since search engines can’t directly index content from an application.
  2. To ensure that search engines properly index your content, use header tags and description tags within the content, just as in standard SEO practices.
  3. Your app’s Manifest.xml file must be configured to allow search engine crawling, and Universal Links must be configured to enable the app to be opened directly from a browser. In addition, ensure that your app’s Entitlements.plist file is correctly configured to support any special permissions required to run on devices.
  4. Before launching, ensure that the content contained within your app is directly related to the corresponding page on your site and remove any interstitials that inhibit your customers’ experience.
  5. It’s important to note that deploying an app with good content is not enough; the app must contain content that people want or need to access.
  6. To get a specific page’s app content indexed on Google, you need to link to this section of your app from within the HTML markup of the appropriate webpage.
  7. Alternatively, you can add deep links directly to app pages via your website’s sitemap file.
  8. To ensure that search engines can find the content on your associated website, make sure the content is made available to search engine crawlers.
  9. Use relevant and descriptive app names and descriptions that include relevant keywords for search engines to index.
  10. Use unique app icons and screenshots that are visually appealing and represent the app’s features and functionality.
  11. Implement app indexing for both iOS and Android platforms to reach a wider audience.
  12. Use analytics tools to track user behavior and engagement within the app, and use this data to optimize app content and improve the user experience.
  13. Regularly update the app with new content, features, and bug fixes to keep users engaged and improve search engine rankings.
  14. Test the app on different devices and operating systems to ensure compatibility and optimal performance.

Final App Indexing Thoughts

App indexing is a powerful technique that can improve an app’s visibility, discoverability, and ranking in the app stores. By enabling search engines to index the content within the app and display it in the search results of mobile devices, app indexing allows users to directly access the relevant content within the app from the search results without having to first open the app.

This can lead to increased organic traffic, better user engagement, higher app store rankings, and more app downloads. Implementing app indexing for ASO requires a few key steps, including deep link implementation, submitting the app to search engines, optimizing app content, and monitoring app indexing performance.

Overall, app indexing can be a valuable tool for mobile developers and publishers looking to improve the ASO of their apps and gain a competitive advantage in the app stores.

Next Steps:

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