10 SEO Tips for Mobile Apps
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has traditionally been applied to websites only, and mobile websites in a certain measure. However, talking about SEO for mobile apps is more seldom. Yet, having your mobile application visible online is actually crucial for your success.
What is SEO for Apps?
Application marketplaces work similarly to simple search engines that only search a select inventory of mobile apps. Therefore all you know from SEO can be used when submitting an app.
When you think of SEO for mobile apps, keep in mind that you can actually talk about two things:
- Optimize your app rankings within mobile application marketplaces: key ranking factors include number of downloads, reviews, title, keywords, etc.
- Optimize your app rankings within search engines results pages (SERPs): traditional SEO ranking factors apply to app's download page.
How to Optimize your App?
If your end goal is to increase downloads and installs of your app, you have to optimize it to make it more visible in app stores and SERPs.
Here are 10 SEO tips to optimize your app in both mobile marketplaces and SERPs:
1. Define Target Audience Keywords
As for traditional SEO, you first have to define and understand your target market: who would be interested in downloading and using your app?
Following that, you must know what words and terms your audience search. You can use free SEO tools to see what keywords people use according to specific filters such as country, language, etc., and also get additional suggestions.
Of course, when you target a specific audience, it doesn’t exclude other users to find and use your app, you’re just more likely to attract the users who are most valuable to you.
2. Optimize App name
Having a good name for your App has positive impacts in terms of SEO, both in search engines and mobile app marketplaces.
When I say a good name, I mean you should consider having relevant keywords in your app’s name that can include your brand name, but more importantly additional keywords that describe the app, and will be added to your keywords tag (see below).
Remember you have to think about character limits and ensure you follow the guidelines for each application store, especially if you use brand names (you may be requested to show licenses before your app can be approved).
3. Optimize App URL
As in “traditional” SEO, the URL of the app is also a ranking factor. You must ensure that the URL of your app contains your keywords.
Note that the name of your app will automatically be used as your file name in the URL for your application.
If you don’t want to have an SEO-unfriendly auto-generated URL with numeric APP ID, it clearly means you should be sure to have the keywords you want in your file name (and avoid including special characters).
4. Create Keyword Tag
After downloads, reviews, and name, keywords play an important role in promoting your app in Android Market and Apple App Store.
For instance, in the Apple App Store, you should optimize all your keywords for 100 characters maximum, including spaces. You can separate your keywords with commas only.
Keep in mind that Apple App Store understands keywords one-at-a-time (rather than in phrases) unlike search engines. Therefore don’t forget to include plurals and synonyms to rank for those keywords.
I’d recommend you to think about what people who don’t know your application may search if they're interested in an app like yours.
And contrary to what you may read, spamming the keyword tag with un-related keywords or your competitor’s name won’t help you rank higher, and may even result in having your app rejected.
5. Optimize App Description
When you write your app description, think about it in terms of potential users just scanning it. Most people won’t read your app description, especially if it’s free, so the vital information must be clearly highlighted.
What should you write in your app description? Share insight on what makes your app unique, without going overboard on features and specs. Focus on the main values your app offers.
Pay strong attention to how the text is formatted in the app, notably where line breaks since most of users will read your app description from their mobile phone.
For instance, in the Apple app store, each line can contain 120 characters, and you only get three lines above the fold (before you have to click “more”), so that is a maximum of 360 characters including spaces.
A great tip is also to include user reviews directly in your app’s description, especially if your app doesn’t have many reviews in the store yet. This will encourage people to download your app, as well as add pertinent keywords in your download’s page, and therefore help you rank in search engines.
6. Choose Right App Category
Choosing the right category to submit your application to is actually crucial.
Your app can be listed in multiple categories but you have to find the ones that both reach your target audience and have the least competition, notably in terms of apps and keyword search rankings.
MobClix is a very useful tool that can help you determine the level of competition between different categories of Apple apps.
For example, you can divide the number of apps by free and paid, and then even sub-divide within the different categories.
7. Display Screenshots and Icons
Don’t neglect your images as they may have a great influence on conversion for apps. Your application should display great images, especially good quality icons, as well as visual screenshots.
Pay attention to quality of images, as well as sizes that may differ from one mobile marketplace to another. Besides, remember that large landscape images may be cropped.
8. Add Video Trailer
Another great feature of Android Market is video trailers that enable you to showcase your app.
You simply need to add the URL of your video on YouTube. As text description, keep it short and highlight the top features of your app.
Video trailers clearly increase downloads and conversions for apps.
9. Get User Reviews
User reviews are taken into account by mobile marketplaces to rank your app. Of course, the more positive you have, the better.
If your app is new and doesn’t have many reviews, you can invite your users to leave positive feedbacks. However, make sure they like as reviews don’t expire.
In addition, and as social media, interaction with the community is something vital. Try to spot top influencers among your users and interact directly with them. That is how you’ll satisfy them and get more and more users.
10. Promote App on Social Networks
Anything that is done online to promote your app is good for your SEO. From websites’ reviews to social networks, strive to promote your application online.
Use all your knowledge about SEO to optimize your pages to drive traffic to your app’s page.
For instance, the Android Market allows visitors mark apps as +1 and recommend them with their followers on Twitter. Those are simple but great ways to lead visitors to your app’s download page.
Feel free to share your other SEO tips for mobile apps!