For the last several years, we have heard repeatedly that Google is shifting its focus to mobile users. This is undeniably true, as countless Google algorithmic updates will attest. Today, the sites that are optimized to be found on mobile devices are the ones that tend to fare the best from a rankings perspective, and a big part of SEO is simply ensuring that a site loads quickly, looks good, and navigates easily on a mobile device.
The prioritization of mobile-friendly sites (and, thus, the downgrading of non-mobile-friendly sites) is not the only result of Google’s mobile focus, however. Apps have become crucial to the search landscape. In fact, thanks to recent algorithmic updates, apps may now appear in organic Google search results, assuming they match the user’s query. Get out your mobile device now and do a Google search for Pokemon Go; you should see an App Store listing for the game appear right there on your results page, a good example of what we’re talking about here.
Mobile Apps and SEO
There are a few noteworthy implications of this, and the first is that building your own branded app can actually be a powerful form of SEO. Consider that a well-designed and optimized app will give you another listing to populate Google search results; consider also that many mobile users go straight to apps, rather than search listings, to fulfill certain functions—e.g. opening up the Twitter app instead of using the browser to locate Twitter.com.
Developing an app version of your products or services—or simply an app that helps customers find nearby locations and hours, complete online orders, locate coupons and discounts, or access exclusive branded content—can help sustain business growth, draw more customers, and add real value to the lives of your customers. The thing to know about doing this is that app development is not only time-consuming on the front end, but will also come with its own ongoing maintenance—App Store Optimization, or ASO.
A Few ASO Basics
ASO, like SEO, is an ongoing project. A good place to start is by naming the app correctly. Generally, you want this to be a branded keyword that you already rank for, though you might consider shortening lengthy terms into shorter, punchier words or phrases. Another suggestion is to add a couple of short, descriptive keywords to the name of your app. IMBD does this; their app isn’t simply called IMDB, but rather IMDB Movies & TV, which not only informs the user but also helps rank for those keywords.
In addition, make sure you take the following steps:
- Add a good, keyword-rich description of your app to the App Store.
- Add screenshots, too.
- Tag the app with additional keywords.
There are also some complexities of indexing the app in the app store, which you may want to talk over with an SEO professional. You are always welcome to call us at Sefati Consulting Group, and we invite you to ask about how an app might play into your broader enterprise SEO strategy.