Mary Meeker, an analyst at Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers who reviews technology trends every year, once said “Mobile to overtake fixed Internet access by 2014” and looking at current technology trends we can easily say that statement continues to be true and bold.
Mobile is the new normal, and businesses are striving to follow this direction so as not to lose the race of winning customers. As an example, even corporate giants like Google have announced that their product offerings would be “Mobile First.” In other words, while indexing a website, a mobile version will be preferred over a site that is not mobile-optimized. This is a clear and a strong indication of how brands need to adapt to latest trends, especially in light of the importance of optimizing websites for mobile devices.
With a massive increase in smartphone adoption and an ever-increasing internet penetration into rural locations, it has become easier than ever for users to access the internet while moving from one place to another. Whether it’s from the subway to their apartment or from the farmhouse to the fields, an expectation has been created that the Internet, and the sites that fuel it, will be available anywhere…anytime.
This expectation holds true for mobile apps, as well. Mobile applications often provide ease of access to information, as you don’t have to open your browser every time and type the long website address. On the service provider side, mobile apps provide many benefits beyond web sites, including enhanced customer engagement, usage tracking, brand building, brand recall, etc.
However, just like websites, the number of mobile apps in every industry is continually increasing, and it’s often difficult to make your mobile application visible to your target audience. Reaching the top 10 in app rankings and make your application visible in search results is not an easy tasks, mostly due to the volume of competition. However, for those promoting apps, following a few fundamental basics and some additional efforts can have a positive impact on your mobile app ranking on Google.
One other thing to mention. When it comes to improving organic search results for your mobile app, there are two aspects that you need to consider. The first one is known as ASO or app store optimization where we optimize our application to rank higher in an app store. The second aspect of the optimization is optimizing the app for the search engine results. Let’s discuss both and know how you can achieve both:
- Optimize Your Title, Keywords, Description and Reviews/Ratings: These are the basics or fundamentals that you need to implement in order lift your app’s ranking in search results. It’s important that you spend some time doing keyword research to come up with some relevant and highly searched keywords for your business and use them in your title and description. Keep in mind that using relevant keywords can increase the chances of your app’s high ranking in search results. You also have to keep in mind, though, that some keywords might be over-populated, so look for keywords that are relevant, are being used by your potential customers, and aren’t saturated by your competitors.
Along with title and description, reviews and ratings play a very critical role in ranking app high in organic search results. If you already have an active user base, ask them to consider giving you a ranking/reviews of their experiences. These reviews and rankings are one of the more important criteria that search engines use to identify positions in search results. The more ratings/reviews your app receives, the more likely it is to rise in the rankings.
- Link Your App Profile Page To The Most Important Pages On Your Website: On your website, consider creating a dedicated landing page or profile page for your mobile apps and link it to most relevant pages. Focus on the link equity like including a link to download your mobile app at the top of your home page. The idea is to signal the search engine that your download page has a high priority over other internal web pages, and hence, the greater chances of appearing your profile page in SERPs which will result in high apps ranking.
When it comes to creating your app download page, design it in a way that it makes it easy to navigate so users can quickly download your app. Place links to your app listing in both the Apple and Android stores. Use screenshots, reviews, and videos to help users understand the value of your app and drive downloads.
- Use Your Brand Name In All Of The Links To Your Download Pages: This is a huge opportunity to gain some high-quality link juice from the highly-trusted websites like Apple store or Android store. By associating your brand name with links to your download pages on Apple and Google, you are creating an association between your app and these powerful brands. In some cases, the link equity of these pages can also work for you. One bonus tip would be to use your brand name in the URL of your download page for an additional signal boost.
There is a common mistake of using very vague and irrelevant anchor text while linking. Using anchor texts such as “Click Here” or “Download our app” won’t help you get any high organic SEO, marketing results in SERPs. Using your brand name as anchor text is nothing but a strong signal to search engines that your app download page is all about your brand.
Big brands such as Amazon, eBay, and Flipkart have done a good job in this context.
- Enable App Indexing To Make Your App More Discoverable: App indexing allows the Google crawler to index the pages within your mobile app, just like a website and, as a result, allows the pages to be included in Google search results. App indexing permits search engine crawlers to index your app content via deep links, increasing the volume of results that are included and the breadth of keywords that can be used to find your app.
Mobile search should also be your focus of your efforts, in making your app discoverable, due to the fact that Google has announced that new app install suggestion will now appear in mobile search results. Prior to this change, results in mobile search appeared only from apps already installed on your mobile device. Thus, this adjustment from Google means that content previously restricted because it was located within an app can now appear in search results just like web pages.
- Let Everyone Know About Your App: As a rule, search engines pays special attention to sites with high traffic and authority, when considering the ranking of a page. Thus, in order to make your app download page more likely to ranked, follow some of the tried and true methods of increasing page rank and authority around specific keywords. In traditional SEO approach, publication of high-quality content and the development of high-quality backlinks from other relevant sites and social media platforms are a couple of the more important factors to focus on. One important way to boost the awareness of your app is to implement digital PR techniques by publishing press releases that include clear, concise value statements about your app, while also linking directly to the download pages on the Google and Apple app stores.
Apart from traditional, digital PR tactics, there are also other ways to promote your newly launched mobile app:
- Post your app on app promotion websites: There are several websites that you can use to promote your app. Post your app on these sites in order to raise awareness within communities that often review apps and promote them within their mobile developer communities. Some of the leading app promotion platforms are as follows:
- Springwise: Springwise is a little choosy when it comes to accepting and publicizing new apps on their portal. They don’t just accept any mobile app. However, if you have something groundbreaking, you are welcome to post on the platform. Springwise can get your app a huge exposure to an audience that can drive your download numbers.
- Netted: Netted only considers consumer-focused apps, but if your app really solves a consumer challenge, a positive review can promote your app and create valuable word-of-mouth marketing. If your app is accepted, one thing that can help initially is their inclusion of your app in their daily newsletter roundup.
- Appstorm: Appstorm is yet another great program to promote your mobile app, especially if you need to target a specific audience, as this platform is divided into several sections, like Android or iOS-focused communities.
- Use the advantage of social media: Social media can play a significant role in page ranking determination. Links from social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube can boost page awareness and generate enormous traffic, which can be converted into downloads. If you have the ability, find ways to get your app in front of digital influencers who might already have a connection with your target community and have a sizeable social media following. If you can get them to positively review your app, or at least recommend trying your app to their followers, you may see a boost in your downloads.
If executed correctly, the techniques mentioned above can help boost your search engine results. That’s only half the equation when it comes to making sure that your app is visible in search results. For instance, what if someone is already in the app store and searches for a keyword that you would like to rank for? If you haven’t optimized your app description page within the Apple or Google stores, someone might not ever find your app.
This is where the concept of ASO or app store optimization comes into play. ASO, much like SEO, helps your app to be found inside an app store where thousands of mobile apps are already fighting with each other for user attention. Where SEO ensures that your app is found via web searches, ASO does the same thing within app store searches.
Below are the few tactics for app store optimization that you can use for better app ranking within the app store organic search results:
- Keyword Research: Just like in a traditional SEO approach, start by doing some keyword research for your business, your consumers, and your competitors. Analyze your target audience and come up with some highly relevant keywords that you think users will use to find your business/product. Create a list of 20-30 keywords and then filter out the most appropriate keywords to use them in the title and description of your application. Take into account that the proper keywords can increase chances of improving organic search results. As a starting point, us the following questions to help you identify keywords that are appropriate:
- How your customers would describe your mobile app?
- Why would they download your app?
- What would be the keywords that they can use to find your app?
- What language does your target audiences use naturally?
- What are the keywords that your competitors using already to target customers?
If you already have an existing audience, consider conducting a survey to find out what keywords they think are appropriate for your app. Creating buyer persona is another way to do this task. Ask yourself who might be your ideal customer and research their demographics and behaviors. After creating a persona of who this customer might be, put yourself in their shoes and ideate some keywords that you think they might use.
- Decide on a number of keywords to use: When it comes to using keywords, the Google play store and iOS App store have two distinctive approaches:
- The App Store: The keyword field for App store is 100 characters long. Because of this character limitation, you have to be very selective with your keywords. Try to incorporate only highly relevant keywords that you really think your target audience will use.
- The Google Play Store: The Google play store uses completely different approach for keywords. Just like traditional SEO approach it uses to rank the websites, it scans through all your titles and descriptions to find out the relevancy with the searches terms. In this case, the total character length is 4,000. A recent study performed by Sensor Tower showed that 5 is the optimal number of times to repeat a keyword on the product page.
- Again, create a relevant title and description: This is the most fundamental technique in SEO whether you are doing it for your website or your app in an App store. Make your app title and description highly relevant and use your targeted keywords in these two fields carefully.
- Include screenshots and videos: This might not change your search rankings, but it can produce more downloads. Sometimes, descriptive text fails to describe all key features of your app. High-quality images and videos are a great way of showing your users the true potential of your app, demonstrating unique features and convincing them as to why the app is the right fit for their needs. Edubirdy, a writing services provider, has done an excellent job with its app in this context. They have added all the great screenshots from their mobile app to attract the users.
- Update your app on a regular basis: Regular updates of a mobile app can help drive a perception of continual improvement and help raise your authority within the search engines and within the app store searches. Be sure to take feedback from your users into account and make updates that help solve their problems and provide additional, useful content.
These trusted and tested tips will organically lift your app and increase rankings – all it needs is research, hard work, and patience!
|Thanks, again, to Robert for sharing his experience and tips in raising awareness of mobile apps and driving downloads/adoption. This is a great list that not only focuses on resources to use, but the hard work it takes to get your app to rise above your competitors in the space. There are a ton of mobile apps published today and the number continues to grow on a daily basis. Achieving a top ranking isn’t easy, but those with the knowledge and persistence can make it happen.
Have a comment, experience, or tips on driving adoption of a mobile app? Be sure to share it in a comment!