Google started testing app indexing on Android in October of last year, adding deep links from apps within search results on its operating system. In June, they opened it up to everyone.
On Tuesday, Google provided an update on what's going on with it, encouraging more webmasters to take advantage. What's going on with it is that clicks on app deep links jumped by 10x last quarter, according to the company, with 15% of signed-in Google searches on Android now returning deep links.
In other words, the amount of these types of results is growing, and people are clicking on them more, so you might want to get your app in the mix, especially considering that Google is increasingly focusing on a site's mobile user experience when it comes to ranking mobile results (though they do still take desktop signals into consideration).
Google's app indexing update includes four steps to monitor app performance and drive user engagement, which include: Give your app developer access to Webmaster Tools; Understand how your app is doing in search results; Make sure key app resources can be crawled; and Watch out for Android App errors. Obviously they go into more detail about how to achieve all of this.
Information related to app indexing that Google shows in Webmaster Tools includes: errors in indexed pages within apps, weekly clicks and impressions from app deep links via Google search; and stats on your sitemap (if that’s how you implemented the app deep links). Google says it will be adding a lot more in the coming months.
There are two new ways to track performance for your app deep links. Google will send a weekly clicks and impressions update to the Message center in in WMT, and you can now track how much traffic app deep links drive to your app using referrer information (referrer extra in the ACTION_VIEW intent). The company says it's working to integrate this info with Google Analytics.
"Blocked resources are one of the top reasons for the 'content mismatch' errors you see in Webmaster Tools’ Crawl Errors report," says Google Webmaster Trends analyst Mariya Moeva. "We need access to all the resources necessary to render your app page. This allows us to assess whether your associated web page has the same content as your app page."
"To help you identify errors when indexing your app, we’ll send you messages for all app errors we detect, and will also display most of them in the 'Android apps' tab of the Crawl errors report," Moeva says.
Google has three new error types that go along with the existing "content mismatch" and "intent URI not supported" error alerts: APK not found, no first-click free, and back button violation. Check out the original post for more on all of this.
You can bet that app indexing is only going to become a bigger part of mobile search, so if you have an app, you should probably start paying attention to this stuff. Otherwise, you might find yourself left behind on mobile search. And who knows? That could even affect you on the desktop eventually.
Image via Google