Google Helps Drive App Installs Through Search Results

On April 16, 2015 Google updated its app indexing algorithm bringing the web and Google Play Store one step closer to one another.

Any Android app with content that matches the app’s web page will now be indexed. When the user opens a web browser on his or her phone and searches for something like “give me instructions on how to make a perfect cup of tea”, the user will see an invitation to install the BuzzFeed along with other relevant apps that include the content searched.

Google Helps Drive App Installs Through Search Results

This approach promises to greatly improve app discoverability.

“We hope that Search will now help you acquire new users, as well as re-engage your existing ones,” said Lawrence Chang, product manager at Google.

For proper indexing it is important to provide the Google Play Store with relevant content to be indexed on both the app side and the website. The better the website content matches the app, the higher its chances are to appear in relevant search results.

You should definitely consider app indexing if your app pertains to one of the following:

  • Booking
  • Cooking
  • E-commerce
  • Media outlets
  • Any other content-driven application


The actual steps required for your app to get the proper indexing are the following:

  1. Add deep linking to your app
  2. Link the website
  3. Publish app deep links (website markup, sitemap)
  4. Check for content mismatch and other issues
  5. Wait up to two weeks to be indexed

According to Maria Moeva, webmaster trends analyst at Google Zurich, the key to success is for the webmaster and app developer to actually work together towards a common goal. In mid to large sized app development companies, the two units are usually disconnected. In that respect, Indie developers have an unfair advantage, having a smaller yet more flexible team, where the app developer and the webmaster can frequently be one person.

The new technology has already been tested on a number of leading content apps. The results are quite impressive. For example, Etsy has seen an 11.6% increase in average daily app traffic from referral links (case study). Additionally, after a series of product improvements, Etsy has seen a 254.7% increase in impressions and a 32.5% increase in clicks (case study).

After implementing app indexing, 95% of mobile search clicks are opening the The Guardian’s app directly. The results show a click through rate of 4.5 percentage points higher for search results going through to the app, rather than mobile web content.

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Tatiana Protasova
PR/Marketing Manager at ComboApp