Google announced on Thursday that it has indexed 30 billion links within apps, and that it will now show Android users apps in search results even if the user hasnâ€™t already installed them. This is the latest move by the search engine to further integrate the app ecosystem into search and improve mobile results.
Are you taking advantage of Googleâ€™s app indexing? If so, have you noticed a boost in your rankings?
â€œWith the addition of these install links, we are starting to use App Indexing as a ranking signal for all users on Android, regardless of whether they have your app installed or not,â€ he adds. â€œWe hope that Search will now help you acquire new users, as well as re-engage your existing ones.â€
Google announced in February that it had already begun using app indexing as a ranking signal for signed in users who had the apps installed on their devices. They must have liked the results since theyâ€™re expanding it into include apps that the user doesnâ€™t have installed.
This comes at an interesting time as the European Commission just announced that it has opened an investigation into Googleâ€™s Android business. Complainants will no doubt point to this as a sign that Google is using its dominant search position to get people to focus more on Android as a development platform. Increased search visibility certainly seems like a pretty major plus.
The Commission said the investigation would â€œfocus on whether Google has breached EU antitrust rules by hindering the development and market access of rival mobile operating systems, applications and services to the detriment of consumers and developers of innovative services and products.â€
â€œSmartphones, tablets and similar devices play an increasing role in many peopleâ€™s daily lives and I want to make sure the markets in this area can flourish without anticompetitive constraints imposed by any company,â€ said EU Commissioner in charge of competition policy Margrethe Vestager.
Google first began testing app indexing in the fall of 2013. Googlebot began indexing content in Android apps, and gave webmasters the ability to let Google know which app theyâ€™d like Google to index through their existing sitemaps file and through Webmaster tools.
They also made it available globally in English. The following month, they made it available in more languages. At Google I/O last year, they announced a slew of additional apps, and opened app indexing up to all Android developers. If you have an Android app, you can participate.
Also at Google I/O, the company held a session called â€œThe Future of Apps and Search,â€ which discussed bringing search and apps together to give users a better experience. In light of the ranking news, you might want to give that a watch:
To get started, visit g.co/AppIndexing and to learn more about the other ways you can integrate with Google Search, visit g.co/DeveloperSearch.â€
In other mobile ranking signal news, Google is going to start using mobile-friendliness as a factor on April 21.