In the last few years, the global market for smartphones has seen tremendous growth, led by innovative mobile devices running Apple’s iOS or Google’s Android. This has also created rich opportunities for software developers working on smartphone applications. However, app creators are now facing an increasingly cluttered field, with tens of thousands of applications available on sites such as the Apple App Store and the Android market. The solution to get your app noticed and downloaded may lie in search engine optimization (SEO) for smartphone applications.
How different is the SEO strategy for apps?
A smartphone application actually needs two types of SEO: one for improved ranking in popular search engine results pages (SERPS) and another for better visibility within the app marketplace.
The established search engine optimization best practices can be applied to influence external SERP rankings. You simply need to think of your application profile page as a landing page, and optimize the content for the optimal keywords.
Your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) strategy in regards to app store rankings will be influenced by the way Apple and Google rate apps in their online stores. For example, number of downloads, user reviews, and category all play a role in your application’s ranking within the store’s search results.
Search engine optimization for your application
The bedrock of good SEO is keyword selection and that applies for your app as well. Start by identifying your target audience: who would want to use your app, why, and what are they looking for? The answers to these questions should give you keywords that are relevant to both your app and your audience.
When it comes to SEO design for apps, there are a few critical areas you should focus on:
App name and URL
Ideally, your app name should include your brand name and indicate what it does. Your keyword selection process will also help you discover which terms can help your app name stand out and climb up the search results. Use the same keywords in your application profile URL.
Both Apple and Google classify applications in their stores based on functionality (game, productivity, utility, etc.) as well as pricing (free, free to try, paid). When potential users come looking for apps, they often use the categories to narrow down their search terms. You need to make sure your app is listed in the right categories, especially those with low competition. Tools such as MobClix (for Apple App Store) provide data on competition between categories in the app marketplace.
This is the area where you will need some creative content to help your SEO efforts. The app description plays a major role in attracting your target audience and helping them make the decision to download your app. While you still need to use your optimal keywords, you should also use the description to highlight your app features and differentiate it from the competition.
Getting stated on search engine optimization for your application
As you’ve seen, SEO for smartphone apps is closely linked to general search engine optimization principles. As a result, most app creators find that it just makes better sense to outsource app-related search engine optimization projects it to reliable, experienced professionals. After all, app development cycles are getting shorter all the time, which means application designers are already busy with the next Big Idea!