Apps: The New SEO Frontier?
On Feb. 26, Google announced it would “surface content from indexed apps more prominently in search.” This announcement brings up an important question for digital marketers: are apps the new SEO frontier?
Did Someone Say Ranking Boost?
Google’s Feb. 26 announcement that the search engine will now “surface content from indexed apps more prominently in search” is significant news for SEOs. If a user has downloaded your app, your app content can get a ranking boost in their SERP — and if a ranking boost is on the table, it definitely makes an SEO stop and consider the possibilities.
On average, people install 26 apps on their phone … but there are more than 1.3 million apps in the app store. And we know that 5 percent of apps drive 92 percent of all app downloads. Moral of the story? Apps are a very competitive space, and before any coding begins, it’s important to determine whether or not an app is worth the investment for your business.
Last week, Bruce Clay, Inc. hosted the weekly #SEOchat on Twitter to discuss this very topic. Digital marketers had a roundtable discussion about important app matters, including:
- What makes someone download an app
- The current effect of deep linking
- Strategies for app store optimization
- How wearables will affect app development and use
What Makes Someone Download an App?
There are many reasons a user might download an app. Chief among them, according to SEO-chatters, are:
- The user gets something for downloading it — a coupon, a discount, etc. (Starbucks, Delta, Macy’s, Target).
- The app solves a problem or makes life easier for the user.
- The app is a better experience than the mobile site.
- The app provides entertainment.
- The app boosts productivity.
The Current Effect of Deep Linking
Igal Stolpner, head of marketing Investing.com, has already enabled deep linking on an app. (Deep linking is necessary for app indexation). We asked if he’d seen a ranking boost, and he had this to say:
— Igal Stolpner (@igalst) March 26, 2015
While Stolpner is right — there is a very slight increase — it’s hard to say that this was, in fact, a boost from deep linking. The slight increase could be attributed to a variety of factors.
The lack of clear ranking boost evidence is consistent with what we’ve seen in our own clients at Bruce Clay, Inc. We have not seen any apps changing rank in the SERP (yet?).
In any event, deep linking should be implemented for all apps. Learn more about indexing your app in this Google Code Lab.
App Store Optimization
The conversation touched on app store optimization. Matthew Young, a senior SEO specialist at Adobe, advised app developers to consider SEO 101 items: “Optimize the titles and descriptions with keywords, use video and images. Also, linking to the app listing in Google and/or Apple is a good thing, as well,” he tweeted.
The Effect of Wearables on Apps
When asked how wearables will change the way apps are used and developed, Chad Lio (digitial marketing manager at Massage Magazine) said that he could see a future where developers make two versions of an app: one for mobile and one for wearables.
The development of wearables, of course, depends on an industry’s demand. All parties agreed that the space where apps for wearables is destined to skyrocket is fitness and health.
Have you seen a ranking boost from deep linking? Share your insights (or questions) in the comments!