APP INDEXING - How to position your app in Google I ASO COURSE 

The mobile app market is extremely competitive, especially in recent years. The rise of apps and the increase in spending on them has made it increasingly difficult to stand out.

Positioning an App in Google Play and App Store is not easy, it takes a lot of constant work and the results are seen in the long term, but it is worth it.

At our ASO courseWe have seen how to get more visibility and therefore free downloads.

But what about Google, is it possible to position an App within the search engine itself?

Here we are not talking about positioning an app within the Google Play Store, but within Google's own general search engine, which means that when the user searches for a keyword related to our app, it appears in the search results so that it can be downloaded.

This option is only for searching from the mobile devices themselves, not from the computer.

As you may know, Google is currently the world's largest "storehouse" of information (we'll see if it's soon to be stolen by CHATGPT 😛 ). And it's the place most people turn to when they need to solve a question.

Just by entering the terms of the query, thousands of answers appear. Of course, some are better positioned than others.

Can you imagine your App being among the most outstanding?

That is, when a user searches for something related to your app, related to its category or competition, etc., your application comes out first, with the direct link to the stores to facilitate the download.

Thanks to Google App Indexing, it is possible.

In our an ASO agency is a strategy that we use very often to position our clients' apps in the search engine. It is a strategy that helps to boost the organic positioning of an app exponentially and has become a very important aspect of optimisation because it allows us to increase the visibility reach of our app.

Obviously, it is not the only factor that helps positioning, and as we commented in our ASO courseIn order for an application to be visible in the App Store and Google Play, it is necessary to meet a series of criteria and work very well on different aspects to make it stand out.

But, thanks to search engine indexing, we not only get to highlight it in Google Play and App Store, but also in Google search, which makes the visibility much higher.

With app indexing (for both iOS and Android), all content on your website (as well as external sites) can point to your app. This allows users to discover your app when Google suggests it to them in search.

However, these results are only shown when a user searches on a mobile phone, not on a computer, because they will be redirected directly to Google Play (if they are on an Android) or the App Store (if they are on an iPhone).

Here's what it is and what steps you need to take to get your app indexed.

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Press play to see the episode of our ASO courseor read on for more details.

What is Google APP Indexing for iOS and Android?

Before giving an exact definition, we need to clarify three closely related and potentially conflicting concepts: SEO, ASO and App Indexing.

  • SEO: Set of actions aimed at positioning a website or its content on Google or other search engines.
  • ASO: Also called App Store Optimisation, ASO is the process by which an App is positioned in the app shops, both iOS and Android.
  • App Indexing: A set of techniques that help to position an App in the Google search engine.

Therefore, although it is said that ASO is the SEO of Apps, it is a half-truth.

The ASO helps to position an App in the Stores, but it is the App Indexing, the real SEO of the Apps, that really favours the positioning in Google.

App Indexing is a system that allows users searching on mobile devices to find an application in Google search results with an "install" button.

That is, when a user browses from their mobile phone and performs a search related to your app, Google will directly show them the content of the app so that they can install it (or open it if they already have it installed). And so you get more downloads.

If the user is browsing from an android device, it will redirect them to Google Play, if they are browsing from an iphone, to the App Store, and if they already have the App installed, it will open it automatically.

Considering App Indexing in your Mobile strategy has a great advantage. Nowadays, the majority of queries or searches are carried out on mobile devices. And in the most used search engine, Google.

Moreover, only a small percentage of Apps work with it. So, if you implement it, you will quickly differentiate yourself from the rest and easily overtake your competitors.

In fact, the indexing of applications is relatively recent, having been launched in 2013 for a small group of developers, but it was not until 2015 that it was opened up to everyone.

It is an evolution of traditional SEO and today they are already experimenting with new resources to continue evolving, such as the "App Streaming" functionality, which allows us to see a preview of the application to decide whether we want to download it or not.

As you can see, Google App Indexing is a very important part of achieving organic positioning for your app. But how do they show up in the search engine?

Google App Indexing: Examples

Here are several examples to give you a better understanding of how an app is indexed in Google. For the first one, we have made a Google search with the term "healthy recipes".

When we click on "search", we get a list of results including: pages, frequently asked questions, videos... And if we keep scrolling down, we find the following:

App Indexing_App Store

This is the FitMenCook App, which has worked on App Indexing to appear in Google searches, in this case from an iPhone.

As you can see, all content will appear naturally among the Google search results, including your App, accompanied by the option to install.

For the second example, we invite you to go to the search engine and enter the term "Vueling".

You will see that, among all the results, the company's website appears. And, next to it, a button that says "download", like this:

App Indexing vueling

Do you know what this is about? Google App Indexing.

In case a user already has your App installed, instead of the "download" button, he will be shown the "open" button. That way they can go directly to the app in one click.

Advantages of positioning an App in the Google search engine

If you are hesitating to invest in efforts in indexing your application in Google, we tell you that it is worth it because if you do not work on App Indexing, you are losing a great opportunity to gain visibility.

But what other advantages does it offer?

  1. Increase in the number of downloads: The higher your visibility and the more traffic you get to your App's page, the higher the number of downloads you will get.
  2. Increased traffic. You will get one more channel that will drive traffic to your App. You will no longer depend only on the Stores, you will be able to boost your visibility thanks to Google.
  3. Better engagement (increase of active users of your app). For those users who already have your App installed and it appears in their search results, an opportunity for loyalty opens up. You will boost the use of your app and the value of its content.
  4. Improve visibility in Google Search Mobile: if your app has been indexed, it can be on the first page of results, which you could not reach without implementing this strategy.
  5. Increase the CTR of the search results: unlike the rest of the results that appear in the search (which are web urls), the app icon stands out more so the user is more likely to click on it. It is a much more visual result.

But first of all, in order to enjoy the full benefits of Google App Indexing, you need to make sure that your app meets the criteria and is optimised for Google search.

Key points for indexing applications

  1. Optimise your website for mobile: Search engines cannot index content directly from an app, so this content must be hosted on a website. You need to optimise your website for mobile.
  2. Use Header Tags: you should use header tags and description tags on your website to send Google the content you want to index, as in SEO.
  3. Make sure that all the necessary technical aspects are implemented in your app (explained in more detail below) and that the universal links are configured. These are the ones that will allow your app to open directly from the browser if they already have your app installed when they click on the search result.
  4. Check that the content of your app is related to the corresponding page and remove any non-matching content.
  5. Have quality content: it's not just about implementing an app. It has to be relevant to what users need. If the content does not stand out, it will affect the search results and Google will stop showing it.
  6. Configure deep links or deeplinksredirects the search to a specific screen of your app and increases the value of the results. With a deeplink you can lead to a specific section of your app, so when the user clicks on the Google search result, they will go one step further and will not only be taken to your app but will be redirected to a specific section of your app.
  7. And finally, make sure you have full Google crawling enabled. The content has to be available to search engine crawlers. This is the most basic part, but one that we often make the mistake of not checking.

Increase downloads with App Indexing

Tips for better indexing your mobile app on Google

If you have found the benefits we have mentioned attractive, it is time to start positioning your App in the Google search engine.

But first let us show you some tips that will help you to get better results in your SEO strategy.

  • Avoid Keyword Stuffing. This is a Black Hat SEO technique that is not recommended if you want Google to value your content and show it. It is based on an excessive use of keywords and the effect it generates is exactly the opposite. The only thing you will achieve is that the search engine will end up penalising your positioning.
  • Use language adapted to your target audience. If you describe your App with too many technical details, probably, because they do not understand the benefits of downloading it, or what they can do with it, few users will download it.
  • Be honest. Do not create false expectations or make promises that your App does not deliver. This only results in bad ratings and reviews.

How to implement application indexing? 

In order for Google to be able to read the content of the App and index it, it is necessary to make a series of simple adjustments. This is the most technical part, so if you don't know this area, you will need your developer or development team to implement it.

Until now, Firebase App Indexing was the tool that helped you integrate your application into the search engine. This option is no longer recommended for indexing applications and displaying them in suggested Google search results.

Here's how to index your app now for both Android and iOS (updated to 2023)

Indexing for Android Apps or Android App Links 

Android App Links is Google's new recommended way to link search results to your application.

This option allows you to directly reach users to the content they want to see in your app. Configuring Android App Links will allow you to take users to specific content directly in your app even if they don't have your app installed.

There are two types of links you can create for your app:

  • Direct links: lead directly to the specific content of your app. To do this you must add intents filters and redirect users to the specific activity. 
  • Android App Links: lhe biggest advantage of android app links is that they have instant android app compatibility, and users can get to run your app without installing it. 

Positioning the app on Google

How to implement Android App Links

To set up Android App Links you need to do these two steps: 

  1. Create direct links to specific content in your app: here is Google's complete guide to creating direct links to app content.
  2. Add verification for your direct links: Configure your app to request verification of app links. You will need to publish a Digital Asset Links JSON file on your websites to verify ownership using Google Search Console. Here you have all the information on how to verify app links.

Google also offers the Android App Assistant LinksAndroid App Links, an Android Studio tool that guides you through each of the steps required to create Android App Links. We recommend it so that you don't miss any of the steps and check that the indexing of your Android app has been done correctly.

Thanks to this indexing, your Android app will appear in the results of searches carried out through mobile devices and you will be able to direct users to the specific content of your App. You will get more traffic and downloads.

Indexing for iOS applications 

The Universal Links or universal links are the recommended way to link search results to iOs apps.

Like Android App Links, Universal Links allow apps and websites to link to your content. They allow users to directly open your app in a specific context, click on the universal link and the system redirects to your app without going through Safari or your website.

Universal links are standard HTTP or HTTPS links, so the same URL works for both the website and the app. If the user has not installed your app, the system opens the URL in Safari.

Prepare your iOS app to support universal links:

  1. Create a two-way partnership between your website and your app: specify the associated domains. Here is all the information from Apple on how to do it.
  2. Update the App delegate to respond to the object of user activity: support universal links in your app so that they redirect correctly to your app. Here you have all the information you need to do so. 

These steps are essential to set up your app on both iOS and Android and start indexing it in Google search engines.

But be careful, it is very important that after making these implementations, you also work on other aspects to make sure that the indexing of your page is optimal:

  • Performs implementation testing

Before completing the App Indexing process, you will need to complete a series of tests to verify that the indexing is working correctly. You can use the preview tool or other tools.

  • Incorporates metrics

Once indexing is up and running, as with a website, metrics need to be collected to analyse the impact and quality of the content. Firebase Analytics is a good tool for this.

  • Work the ASO

App Store Optimization is something that should be worked out beforehand. In fact you can go to other lessons from the ASO course to see how to do it.

Keep in mind that the first thing that the user will see in the search results of your App will be the title, the icon and the description. The more elaborate these are, the more likely you are to attract the attention of users so that they download it. 

  • Increase your App's reviews and rating

The more and higher the reviews, the better. So implement a review collection strategy that will help you increase your popularity.

It's no use having an App with thousands of reviews if they are bad and the average score is a one or a two.

To increase your score, fix App bugs, upload updates and keep implementing improvements for users.

However, there is also the option to delegate the whole process to a professional team and save time, money and headaches.

If you're up for it, contact us. At Actualízatec we would be delighted to be your an ASO agency and we have an expert team capable of getting Google to position your app content at the top of the search results.

And if you want to learn all about Mobile & App Marketing, don't miss our online programwhere we train you as an App Expert so that you yourself can improve the results of your app. In addition, you will discover how to carry out this and other strategies to get more downloads.

Any questions? We are on the other side to answer you. Write to us in the comments section and we'll help you.

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4 Comentarios

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    • Isabel Actualízatec May 3, 2023 at 1:22 pm - Reply

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    • Isabel Actualízatec May 3, 2023 at 1:21 pm - Reply

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