Introduction

App Indexing puts your app in front of users who use Google Search. It works by indexing the URL patterns you provide in your app manifest and using API calls from your app to make content within your app available to both existing and new users. Specifically, when you support URLs for your app content, Android and iOS users can go directly to it from Search results on their device. Finally, Google uses App Indexing API calls from your app as a ranking signal for your URLs.

iOS

Supporting HTTP URLs and integrating the App Indexing SDK allows our systems to promote Search results from installed apps, and provide enhanced display elements, such as your app icon.

Android

For Android apps, App Indexing also enhances the performance of your app install buttons for users without your app. For users who do have your Android app installed, the App Indexing API powers Search autocompletions for their queries to the Google app, which leads them directly back to your app.

Let’s say a user is browsing the Live Nation app and finds a concert that she likes, but isn’t positive she wants to attend. She holds off on buying tickets, but later in the week, searches on Google for the same concert. URLs for the Live Nation app appear as autocompletions, allowing the user to quickly and seamlessly jump back into the app.

  • Search results: The use of App Indexing allows Google systems to better promote Search results from installed apps and provide enhanced display elements, such as your app icon.
  • Drive installs: Use of App Indexing provides a better ranking signal for all your URLs and this means that users who don’t have your app installed will be more likely to see an install button to your app for relevant queries.
  • Query autocompletions: The App Indexing API enables query autocompletions for users of your Android apps. This means that a mobile user who types a query into the Google app sees your app appear in the autocompletion drop-down when that query matches content from your app.
  • Now on Tap: Your app is better poised to be a destination in Now on Tap when you implement App Indexing.

How App Indexing works for both Android and iOS

App Indexing support for Android and iOS involves this basic process:

  1. Support HTTP URLs to your mobile app.

    Both Android and iOS apps support HTTP URLs and use site association to verify the relationship between the app and its website. This allows our systems to index URLs that work for both your site and your app and to serve them in search results.

    Once you associate your app to your website, our systems quickly recognize the association and begin the crawling and discovery process for your app URLs. This can take between 24 hours and a number of days, depending on a number of factors. Because most app content is currently associated with web content, crawl scheduling works in a fashion similar to that of webpages: we take into account multiple factors like frequency of content updates, server load, importance, and freshness of the page. We’ll send you a message in Search console when content from your app shows up in search (“first impression”). If it’s been a couple weeks and you still don’t see any app links in search, check for crawl errors. Read about Google Search crawl frequency on our Help Center.

  2. Add the App Indexing API or SDK.

    Use the App Indexing API for Android, and the App Indexing SDK for iOS 9. The use of our API or SDK enhances ranking performance for the URLs and provides the basis for link titles and content snippets. This provides the titles and description snippets associated with your content, as well as the history of actions to your app. Users of your app can delete past activity in apps at https://history.google.com/.

  3. Check your implementation.

    Test URLs to your app in your development environment to make sure they lead to the correct content.

Technical requirements

Android

  • Developed on apps with a minsdkVersion no higher than 17.
  • Available for users signed into the Google app and for all users on Chrome.

iOS
Google App Indexing documentation for iOS 9 serves iOS universal links from Google Search in Safari. App Indexing for iOS versions 7 and 8 is now deprecated and no longer available for new integrations.

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