Ultimate Guide: How to do SEO for mobile apps

Think there’s no connection between your mobile app and search engine optimization? Think again, because Google is changing that! Now is the time to take mobile app SEO seriously, and ensure that your apps and content rank as highly on search engines as they can.

Google decided in 2019 that the mobile-first index would be enabled by default for all new websites. . With the majority of web traffic now coming from mobile devices, Google will direct searches to mobile-friendly sites first, and importantly, offer suggestions matching mobile apps with related search terms.

Why is mobile app SEO important?

Our lives are mobile and to get a good search engine results page (SERP) ranking, it pays to be mobile-friendly. As we all carry out more and more work using our smartphones, enterprise apps are going to become the norm for businesses with staff on-the-go.

So how can app publishers make sure their apps rank highly on Google and increase your brand’s search engine ranking? Here are four key ways to improve your mobile app SEO through organic search:

1. Make sure your in-app content is optimised for search engines

It’s important to place an emphasis first and foremost on the quality of your in-app content. Google launched app indexing in 2013 and it essentially allows mobile apps to appear in Google searches, taking users directly to the app in their respective app stores.

This means that the content within your apps has to be optimised and of high-quality to ensure that your mobile apps rank highly on search engines.

Google can search deep within your mobile apps to find, and take the user to, specific pieces of content. What’s more, the importance of app indexing has only increased, with more users than ever using search to find new mobile apps.

2. Create an optimised landing page for your mobile app

Creating your app is not the final step by any means. To ensure that you drive as much traffic to your app you should create a landing page which links users to the app store where they can download it. Optimising the landing page for your mobile app is crucial to ensuring that it ranks highly on search engines.

You can use traditional SEO techniques to ensure you optimise the landing page appropriately e.g. keywords in the title, in headings and throughout the page. write an optimised meta description for the page, include images with alt tags containing the keyword, and more.

Whilst it is important to have traditional keywords on your landing page and in your mobile app, Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keywords add value by helping search engines identify exactly what your page is all about.

According to Brian Dean of ‘Backlinko‘ there are three ways you can identify LSI keywords for your mobile apps:

  • Enter your keyword on Google – any drop-down suggestions are potentially LSI keywords
  • Check the keywords that Google has highlighted in bold in these search results. These are relevant to the search.
  • At the bottom of the page, Google will suggest additional keywords, which are also LSIs. Check them to see what they suggest.

3. Optimise the title and description of your app

Boost your mobile app ranking and stand out from the pack by optimising your app title and description. This ensures that you can get key information into your app title and description, which is often the only thing users will read before decided whether to download an app or not.

This is a chance for your app to take a position previously given to a website. 

“In some cases,” Emily Grossman and Cindy Krum say, “being an indexed app may be the only way to rank at the top in mobile Google search. Keywords like ‘games’ and ‘editor’ are a common trigger for app packs and app carousels, but Google is also prominently surfacing apps for queries that seem to be associated with utilities or verbs.”

4. BONUS: Don’t forget about app store optimisation (ASO)

Justin Briggs tells us mobile app store search rankings are based on a combination of App Store Optimisation (ASO) and traditional SEO. Titles, descriptions, and device and platform keywords all count. Additionally, dynamic success metrics impact the ranking of your mobile app. The best way to judge your success is to track multiple metrics, including:

  • Number and quality of ratings, average rating score, and content and sentiment analysis of reviews
  • Number and frequency of app downloads
  • Engagement and retention
  • Internal links in app store
  • Freshness

“For iOS, the primary public metrics are ratings and reviews,” Briggs says. 

“However, app performance can be inferred using the app store’s ranking charts and search results, which can be leveraged as proxies of these performance metrics”

Increasing your app’s average rating number, increasing your volume of ratings, and increasing downloads of your app will have the greatest influence on your mobile app search ranking.

What do marketers have to consider when optimising for mobile?

As a marketer, thinking about mobile-first when you approach your content can be different to what you may have been used to. That said, optimising mobile apps for SEO is in many ways similar to optimising any other piece of content.

Here are a few things to keep in mind before your begin the optimisation process of your mobile apps:

  • Design and optimise your site for speed and mobile-friendliness
  • Identify and differentiate mobile vs. desktop demand
  • Understand different online consumer intent signals
  • Produce separate mobile content that resonates on the small screen
  • Optimise mobile content and mobile pages to convert key micro-moments
  • Track, measure and continually compare mobile and desktop results

Prioritise optimising your mobile apps

To recap, it’s important to consider the impact that changes in Google’s algorithms can have on your content and mobile apps. Change can mean that you have an opportunity to optimise your current in-app content and you can do that by:

  • Create high-quality SEO content for your app
  • Create an optimised landing page for your mobile app
  • Optimise the title and description of your app
  • Don’t forget about app store optimisation (ASO)

Each of these will ensure that your mobile apps rank as highly on Google as possible, exposing a wider audience to your brand and apps.

What other strategies do you use to optimise your mobile apps for search engines? Comment below and let us know what we’ve missed!

If you’d like more information on how you can get started creating your first enterprise mobile app just visit our features section. If you’re still not convinced that apps will improve your organisation’s efficiency and productivity you should read more on how enterprise apps are a key driver in competitive advantage.  

For more on this topic, read our Ultimate Guide to Marketing For Apps.

Do you want to learn more ways to promote your mobile app? Read our full article “The Ultimate Guide to Marketing for Apps: 13 ways to Promote Apps and Drive Marketing ROI

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