Google announced today that it is testing app indexing, which it says is aimed at creating a “seamless” user experience across sites and mobile apps from search results pages.
Googlebot will now index content in Android apps, and webmasters will be able to let Google know which app they’d like Google to index through their existing sitemaps file and through Webmaster Tools.
“Searchers on smartphones experience many speed bumps that can slow them down,” writes product manager Lawrence Chang in a blog post. “For example, any time they need to change context from a web page to an app, or vice versa, users are likely to encounter redirects, pop-up dialogs, and extra swipes and taps. Wouldn’t it be cool if you could give your users the choice of viewing your content either on the website or via your app, both straight from Google’s search results?”
“If both the webpage and the app contents are successfully indexed, Google will then try to show deep links to your app straight in our search results when we think they’re relevant for the user’s query and if the user has the app installed,” Chang explains. “When users tap on these deep links, your app will launch and take them directly to the content they need.”
App indexing is only being tested with a limited number of developers for now. These reportedly include: Allthecooks, AllTrails, Beautylish, Etsy, Expedia, Flixster, Healthtap, IMDB, Moviefone, Newegg, OpenTable, and Trulia.
Android users in the U.S. will start seeing deep links in apps from search results in a few weeks, Google says.
Documentation for getting it set up on your own app is available here.