Mobile Commerce

Google Will Soon Index iOS App Content

Google had some news yesterday (May 27) that should please the iOS developer community — its search will soon begin pulling from iOS app content.

The news was announced via Google’s Developers Blog, which noted that the search engine would be expanding its app indexing beyond Android apps to iOS. What does that mean for the iOS world? Well, according to Product Manager Eli Wald, who posted the announcement: “This means users on both Andriod and iOS will be able to open mobile app content straight from Google Search.”

That’s pretty big news for Apple and its iOS mobile operating system.

In the blog post, Wald also explains how developers can get their iOS app indexed — which is a key factor in helping that app reach a much wider audience. Currently, App Indexing for iOS is being rolled out in a small test group, but Google plans to expand the technology to more developers in the near future. Google also provided a four-step process for developers for getting a “head start” on being indexed, which includes: adding deep linking support to the app, enabling the user to return to search with one click, providing deep link annotations on the app’s site, and keeping connected with Google to know the developer is interested.

App indexing, which indexes apps in the same manner as it does websites, allows searchers to reach those mobile apps quicker by finding via search, as opposed to having to search via an app store. While Android has always had the edge with Google’s search index, iOS will slowly close that gap once the option is open to all iOS developers.

After years of pushing eCommerce sites to be more mobile friendly, Google pushed retailers in March to make their Android apps more search friendly as well. It emphasized at the time that fully indexed Android apps will get much higher search placement than apps with no indexing.

“We will begin to use information from indexed apps as a factor in ranking for signed-in users who have the app installed,” wrote Google’s Takaki Makino, Chaesang Jung and Doantam Phan in a company post at the time, when they added that Google “may now surface content from indexed apps more prominently in search.”

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