App Store Optimization Basics

How Backlinks and SEO Affect App Visibility

seo for apps

Apps Can Show Up in Mobile Browser Search Results

In 2015 Google announced that in the search engines of a mobile browser, the results would also include apps. This simply means that Google indexes apps just like websites. If any content of your app is relevant for that search, it will appear for the user in Google search results. This is actually great news for app developers as people have been accessing the internet more frequently through mobile devices rather than on computers.

How to Get Google to Index Your App?

It might seem like the most difficult and complicated part, but in fact, it is not. You just need to provide Google with the information that links your app to your website. If the person has the app that appears in the search results, the option of opening it will be there at the results. If the website and the app have the same content, the app will appear as a deep link in the search result.

Backlinks Impact On App Visibility
Web-based backlinks to your app affect its visibility

A deep link is when you redirect the person to a specific section of your website rather than the homepage. For apps, it is the same. The user will go straight to the app store listing in Apple App Store or Google Play Store. This is true for people who don’t already have the app downloaded. If the person already has the app installed, they will be redirected to the app.

Get mobile search engines to index your iOS apps

To make this possible, Google has to be able to discover and understand your app. For iOS apps, you can do that through Universal links, also known as HTTP links that have a single URL. It is used to open both a specific website and the corresponding app page. Your web server has to be secure, meaning having a current HTTPS certificate, in order to validate an association between your app and your website. 

Get mobile search engines to index your Android apps

On Google Play, you will have to enable the API for Android. The important thing is that you map your website with the corresponding app screens. You will do that by referencing the app URL in your XML sitemaps or in the HTML markup of your web pages. Do not forget to opt in your app for indexing. To have more information how to make Google bot crawls through your app, check on Google’s website.

Google mobile browser also has a ranking system for Android and iOS apps, regardless of whether a person has your app installed on their phone. If you allow Google to index your app, it will be more present in search results. As a result, you increase your app’s visibility. 

If you have a fitness app and someone searching for “fitness app” on Google, your app can show up in the results even before the webpage results. See the example:

Mobile Browser Search Results Show Apps
Apps show up in mobile browser search results
Source: Google

When indexing your app, you are going to:

  • Boost your conversion rates: you are going to bring traffic to your app page, which will convince him easier and faster to download it.
  • Increase retention rates: the potential user will go straight to the relevant page of your app. This might increase the number of active users to your app.
  • Increase credibility: being an app shown in the browser research engine can indicate credibility.
  • Find the right users: this is another way to bring the right users to your app in an affordable way.

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