Bing Hops on the App Linking Bandwagon

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Let’s talk about apps for a moment. You probably have a bunch of them on your mobile device. Some of those apps are used daily, and it’s very likely that some of those apps have remained virtually untouched since the day you bought your mobile device. Heck, maybe you’ve even uninstalled some of the apps that you found useless when you turned on your brand-spankin’ new mobile device for the first time.

But there’s one interesting characteristic that all of those apps—used, unused, or uninstalled—have in common: their contents could not be crawled, ranked, or indexed by search engines in the past. Allow me to blow your mind for a moment: many of those apps of yours can be crawled, indexed, and ranked now.

You read that correctly! A few days ago, Dan Cristo wrote an article on SearchEngineWatch.com describing a new plan from Bing—a plan that would allow the search engine to begin ranking app content. Sure, Google may have been a few steps ahead of Bing here with the earlier release of their Mobile App Indexing API for Androids. However, Bing’s announcement from several days ago is still absolutely relevant to the ever-growing world of SEO as they and other search engines battle to keep their cyber heads in the game.

First, however, on the subject of Google—their Mobile App Indexing API allows an app’s contents to be crawled and indexed. This will help expand the apps’ audiences by directing potential users to new apps. Better yet, app indexing will help links to an app’s content to appear and rank on Google SERPS.

And now, Bing wants to follow in Google’s footsteps with their own version of this Mobile App Indexing API. Bing’s method contains two notable steps. The first is called app link markup, and it involves placing content in a meta tag that can be found on a Bing SERP. The second step is taking that meta tag content and incorporating some sort of “app action” into it. This action will allow a person to interact with the app after they have performed a Bing search that causes the content to appear on a SERP. Pretty neat, huh?

With these interesting advancements for apps, there’s a chance that apps could become much easier to access, thanks to the newfound ability to crawl, index, and rank their content. The more different apps’ contents are ranked, the more apps will appear on SERPs. And as more apps begin to appear on SERPS, more people may begin downloading and installing these apps to their mobile devices. Different apps can potentially reach larger audiences, and some apps that have remained in the shadows for their young lives can finally come into the limelight. Thanks to app linking, devoted app users can find other new and useful apps to add to their arsenals instead of sticking to the tiny handful of apps that they use daily!

With all of this in mind, what will become of web pages? Will indexed and ranked apps wind up forcing web pages into retirement? Cristo predicts that this could be the case. As the accessibility of websites and web pages has been so greatly impacted by SEO over the past 20 years, so will apps, he writes. When people become more dependent on apps, they could become less dependent on web pages.

In the end, only time can tell what will truly become of the web page and how app linking will continue to impact apps as we know them.

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