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SEO Team Lunch & Learn - App Indexing

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SEO Team Lunch & Learn - App Indexing

  1. 1. What You Need to Know About App Indexing Stephanie Wallace Director of SEO
  2. 2. What is App Indexing?
  3. 3. 26% of apps are actually used on a daily basis
  4. 4. App Store Model • “Meta Data” provides a preview of the type of content in the app • You don’t know what’s IN the app until you download it • App store search is heavy on brand & head terms vs. long tail
  5. 5. Managing Your Content WWW. M. APP The Old Way Separate URLS App Store
  6. 6. Managing Your Content Mobile Version Single URL App Version The New Way Desktop Version
  7. 7. Why is this important for SEO?
  8. 8. 15% of Google searches on Android return deep links to apps
  9. 9. Deep Linking
  10. 10. App Indexing Implementation
  11. 11. 1. Support HTTP deep links in your mobile app.
  12. 12. 2. Implement Google App Indexing using the App Indexing API for Android.
  13. 13. 3. Explicitly map web pages to corresponding app screens with rel=alternate, including app URLs in the XML sitemap, or with schema markup.
  14. 14. Technical Nitty Gritty For Android
  15. 15. Support HTTP URLs 1. Add intent filters for HTTP URLs
  16. 16. Support HTTP URLs 2. Add logic in your app to handle intent filters
  17. 17. Support HTTP URLs 2. Add logic in your app to handle intent filters
  18. 18. Support HTTP URLs 3. Associate the app & the site in Search Console & Play Developer Console
  19. 19. Support HTTP URLs 3. Associate the app & the site in Search Console & Play Developer Console
  20. 20. Add App Indexing API 1. Add Google Play Services
  21. 21. Add App Indexing API 2. Import Classes
  22. 22. Add App Indexing API 3. Add App Indexing API Calls
  23. 23. Add App Indexing API 4. Indicate the App Activity
  24. 24. Map Web URLs to App URLs 1. Rel=Alternate
  25. 25. 2. XML Sitemap Map Web URLs to App URLs
  26. 26. 3. Schema Markup Map Web URLs to App URLs
  27. 27. What about apps without matching web pages?
  28. 28. What about apps without matching web pages?
  29. 29. What about Bing?
  30. 30. What about Bing?
  31. 31. App Ranking Factors
  32. 32. Positive Ranking Factors • Installation Status • Proper Technical Implementation • Website Signals
  33. 33. Negative Ranking Factors • Content Mismatch • Interstitials (pop up ads)
  34. 34. “Google has said that indexed app deep links are a positive ranking factor for the associated web pages.”
  35. 35. Real World Application
  36. 36. Apps are becoming more and more accessible in search.
  37. 37. Opportunities to improve app visibility is only growing.
  38. 38. The future of App Stores is unclear.
  39. 39. Resources
  40. 40. Search Engine Land • App Indexing & The New Frontier of SEO: – Apple Search + iOS App Indexing – Google Search & Deep Linking – App Packs & App Store Search
  41. 41. Questions?

Editor's Notes


  • been around since Oct. 2013!
  • the average person only uses 26% of their apps daily, one in four apps are never used at all.
  • Because without apps in its index, Google was missing a huge piece of the world’s data
  • 15% if searches on Google Android devices return deep links to apps.


  • Deep linking consists of using a URI (specific URL) that links to a specific location within a mobile app rather than simply launching the app.

  • for Android apps:
    users searching on an Android device who have not yet installed the app will see the app show up in mobile search results; and
    Android users who do have your app installed will get query autocompletions when they use browser search which can include results from your app, as well as seeing enhanced display elements in the SERP (such as the app icon). It’s basically like rich snippets for apps.
  • And for iOS, app ranking is currently only supported for apps already installed on the device.
  • For iOS you do this by explicitly setting up support for "Universal Links” which are what Apple calls HTTP links that have a single URL and can open both a page on a website and the corresponding view in an app.
  • Implement Google App Indexing using the App Indexing API for Android.
    or by integrating the App Indexing SDK for iOS 9.

  • Think of this as very similar to a mobile separate site setup
  • Intent filters declare the HTTP URL patterns that your app handles from inbound links. These URLs can be the same URLs used for the corresponding pages to your website.
  • Once the system starts the app activity through an intent filter, use the data provided by the Intent to determine your app's view response.

  • Here, the onNewIntent() method verifies the deep link format and displays the page content:
  • this is what enables search auto complete
  • Define the title, description, URL, and type for relevant activities and build the App Indexing object.
  • Call activity start after the view completely renders, passing in the App Indexing object defined above.
    Call the AppIndexAPI.end() method after the activity completes, and disconnect your client.
  • Unfortunately, Google does not officially offer app indexation for apps which don’t have corresponding web content.
  • Bing also supports app indexing with a similar process through Schema.org and AppLinks.org
  • Installation Status. Android apps are more prominently featured in Google search results when they are installed on a user’s device or have been in the past. Rather than checking the device, Google keeps track of app downloads in their cloud-based user history, so this only affects searchers when they are signed into Google.
    Proper Technical Implementation. The best way app publishers can drive rankings, according to Mariya Moeva of Google, is to “ensure that the technical implementation of App Indexing is correct and that your content is worth it.” She later elaborated in a YouTube video, explaining that app screens with technical implementation errors will not be indexed at all. (So start befriending the app development team!)
    Website Signals (title tags, description tags). Traditional SEO elements in the <head> tag of the associated Web page will display in deep link search results, and thus are also likely ranking factors for the deep links. In fact, good SEO on corresponding Web pages is critical, since Google considers the desktop Web version of the page as the canonical indexing of the content.
  • Content Mismatch. Google will not index app screens that claim to correspond with a Web page but don’t provide enough of the same information. Google will report these “mismatch errors” in Google Search Console, so you can determine which screens need to be better aligned with their corresponding Web pages.
    Interstitials. Interstitials are JavaScript banners that appear over the content of a website, similar to pop-ups but without generating a new browser window. The same experience can be included in apps (most often for advertisements), but this has been discouraged by both Apple and Google. In her recent Q&A with Stone Temple Consulting, Mariya Moeva implied that app interstitials are a negative ranking factor for deep links (and said to stay tuned for more information soon). Interstitials can also prevent Google from matching your app screen content to your Web page content, which could cause “Content Mismatch Errors” that prevent Google from indexing the app screen entirely. In either case, app and Web developers should stay away from interstitials and instead, opt for banners that just move content down on the screen. Both Apple and Google have endorsed their own form of app install banners and even offer app banner code templates that can be used to promote a particular app from the corresponding mobile website.
  • Will Critchlow of Distiled spoke at their SeaArchLove London conference on the Future of Search:

    http://www.slideshare.net/DistilledSEO/searchlove-london-2015-will-critchlow-practical-tips-for-the-future-of-search#104
  • SEL Three Part Series by Emily Grossman and Cindy Krum

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