App indexing has made several “top trends for 2016” lists in the digital marketing world. Once I noticed this I decided to research a bit more and figure out what it really is and what it’s going to do for us. So if you’re interested in learning the basics of app indexing, read on!

Long story short: App indexing makes apps available as search results on mobile devices. It used to just be websites that show up when we look on our favorite search engine. Google and Bing have made strides to include mobile apps as clickable options in their search results. This comes as part of a large effort to improve user experience with search engines in a mobile environment.

Google led the charge and changed its ranking algorithms in April of last year. In the new algorithm, mobile-friendly sites rank higher than desktop sites in search results on mobile devices. Also, mobile apps that are indexed with Google rank higher than those mobile-friendly sites. This means that if your sites are optimized for small-screen devices or you have a mobile app, you can grow a better presence in organic search results than your competitors without those resources.

The goal here is to drive users to the best experience based on the device they are using. We’ve probably all experienced the pain of trying to navigate a landscape oriented desktop site on our portrait oriented smartphone. Mobile sites have helped to alleviate some of the agony, and apps aim to be even easier to use.

If you’re a user, this is good news. Whether you’re an app hoarder or an app ignorer, these changes can help you to get better results in a better format on your mobile devices. Even if the apps that show up in your search results aren’t already on your device, you can easily download and begin utilizing them from the search result. If you already downloaded the mentioned apps, even better! Most likely, the link from your search results will take you directly to the page within the app that you’re looking for. This is called deep-linking and it makes things way easier.

If you’re a business/app owner, this is also good news! It may take you some work to get a useful app created, but indexing your application with search engines can massively improve your existing users’ interactions with your app and also win you new customers. These search engines have made it quite easy for users to download in one click, so make sure your app is ready to go and get on to delighting some customers.

To get your app indexed with Google, you can follow the directions on this awesome tutorial. When you index your app, you’re telling Google where to send users within your app when they search certain terms.

So now you know! App indexing makes your app more visible and accessible to mobile customers. Get your app set up, index it, and win some business!