Bing Wants To Better Surface Mobile Apps

Chris CrumDeveloper

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Bing is trying to make it easier for mobile application developers to get their apps found in search results. It's expanding its "Actions Intelligence" to Bing and other Bing-powered search products, such as Cortana, and creating a "massive" index of apps and app actions.

To make it easier for developers to participate, it's utilizing standardized markup, which developers can use on their websites to establish the link between content and apps and between content entities and the actions that apps perform on them. Bing is utilizing App Links, which Facebook launched last year as an open source project, and Schema.org.

They have an new tool in the Bing Webmaster Tools pubic tools area. It's called the Applinks Markup tester, and shows you how Bing extracts the App Links data from your page and performs a validation process.

"Establishing a link between apps and your content is not where it stops," says Vincent Wehren, Product Lead Webmaster and Publisher Experiences at Bing. "More likely than not, searchers are trying to perform an action, complete a task using your app. So how can we establish the relationship between the content (entity), the task (action), and the provider (app) that can complete the task? The Bing intelligence platform is already pretty good at inferring some of this information based on its understanding of your site, but as always, being explicit about these things from the publisher side gives you an edge. Your tool of choice in this case: schema.org."

"Expressing the relationship between entity, action, and your app using schema.org is a bit more involved than App Links markup, but it is extremely powerful in that it allows your web page as well as app to rank a whole new range of entity action-oriented queries," he says. "Naturally, your app developer needs to do also do some work to open the app with in the right location, and this work is usually specific to the platform or device. I dedicated a section of my App Discovery talk at Build 2015 to this very topic. The talk was geared towards enabling app deep linking and app actions on Windows 10 and Cortana. However, the applinks.org website has detailed instructions on the navigation protocol on iOS and Androidas well and Bing is creating an app index that covers all of these platforms."

Read this blog post for much more on implementing all of this.

Bing has already started analyzing the web for App Links and actions markup, and is telling people to get started right away. It's also readying mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal, not unlike Google, which recently announced app indexing as a ranking signal on Android devices.

Image via Bing

Chris Crum

Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.