On October 31st, Google announced they are now supporting a new feature named app indexing, which allows publishers to create links from Google’s search results directly into the deep content within their Android apps. So if you search for something on your Android device and happen to see a result from a publisher where you also have their app on your device, clicking on that link will open the app and take you right to the content within the app that is related to your query.
In December, the first apps started appearing to support app indexing, including the IMDb Android app.
Google announced an addition 24 apps now support app indexing. The apps supported include 500px, AOL, BigOven, Bleacher Report, Booking.com, Eventbrite, Glassdoor, Goodreads, Huffington Post, Merriam-Webster, Pinterest, Realtor.com, Seeking Alpha, TalkAndroid, TheFreeDictionary, The Journal, TripAdvisor, Tumblr, Urbanspoon, Wattpad, YP, Zagat, Zappos and Zillow.
Google also announced they expanding it to work for English content worldwide. Google is urging publishers to adopt this new markup for their apps and then when it is implemented, to let Google know via this form.
Google offered some technical best practices with implementing app indexing:
- App deep links should only be included for canonical web URLs.
- Remember to specify an app deep link for your homepage.
- Not all website URLs in a Sitemap need to have a corresponding app deep link. Do not include app deep links that aren’t supported by your app.
- If you are a news site and use News Sitemaps, be sure to include your deep link annotations in the News Sitemaps, as well as your general Sitemaps.
- Don’t provide annotations for deep links that execute native ARM code. This enables app indexing to work for all platforms.