Recently, Google published a blog post explaining that mobile friendliness of a website will be a ranking factor. What very few people are talking about was the second announcement that was made. Google also said they “will begin to use information from indexed apps as a factor in ranking for signed-in users who have the app installed”. With this being the case, would it be wise for companies to create apps and if so should they try to get their apps to rank higher in Google Search, the Google Play Store or the iTunes Store?
At this point, we are still in the dark as to how Google will rank apps in search. Most people search for an app in their respective “stores” rather than in Google search. In the future, I think people will start to use Google search much more for something like “Real Estate App” or “Cheap Deals App”. How is Google going to determine which real estate app should be ranked #1?
When searching “real estate app” on February 28th, 2015 these are the top results:
Notice that three of the top four search results are websites that either review apps or allow for an app download. This could change drastically in the near future.
Getting someone to download an app can be extremely difficult but quite lucrative for a business. Having an app on someone’s phone is worth more than an email address or a Google search because they are likely already a customer. You also have a piece of real estate that is in the palm of their hand every single day. Mobile App SEO is something that will likely skyrocket in interest over the next several months and years.
Just like natural SEO, Mobile App SEO will have a lot to do with quality of content and links pointing to an app. What will be interesting is to see if Google Play apps show up higher than iTunes or Apple Store apps. Google has recently started to allow advertising in the Google Play Store which will have nothing to do with SEO but it can get app developers much more exposure leading to links and reviews.
Something most people do not recognize is the value of a review. A long form review is free content on a website or product. There is a reason Amazon pushes so hard for reviews. If you have purchased from Amazon you know how many emails they will send attempting to get a review for the product you purchased. The reason for this is Amazon knows the value of free content and SEO. When searching on Google document how many times you see Wikipedia or Amazon. These are two of the largest user submitted content portals on the web.
What is even better about app reviews is the review can often be completed only by someone that has downloaded and used the app. This means there will be minimal spam and Google will be able to much more easily rank these urls in search.