This post is part one of the series on optimising your website for search engines.
We here at Apptous like to look into other ways of marketing an app, instead of just running the rat race of the app stores themselves. And we’ve done several posts mentioning other methods of marketing an app.
Today, I am going to look into marketing your app’s website using Search Engine Optimization.
Wait, your app does have a home other than the app store, right? Well, it’d better. There are a several—very important—reasons you need to have a website for your app. For example, it serves as a new front you can market with. And this is the front you have complete control over. You can have any detail of your app, or yourself or your brand. And more importantly, if one day Google or Apple decide to take down your app for some reason(like Google did with Grooveshark — twice), you won’t completely be in the drain. In fact, you would be doing perfectly fine if you market your website alongside your app store listing. So, repeat after me, your app needs a website.
Marketing Your App’s Website: The Magical World SEO
If you have ever even slightly looked into marketing any website, you’ve probably heard about SEO(Search Engine Optimization), and for good reason too. As you know, search engines like Google or Bing(who uses Bing anyways?) are tremendously popular, and people use them to get to pretty much every destination on the web they need to get to.
So, if somebody needs to get to your app’s website, or look up information about your app, they’re going to Google your app.
More importantly, if somebody is looking for an app for a specific purpose—say an ebook reader app—they’re going to Google it. In fact, if you’ll look at the screenshot below(take from the Google Keyword Tool), you’ll see that around 18,000 searches are made every month for e-book reader apps.
Not a bad number at all. And if you can get on the first page of Google for the above mentioned term, you’ll probably get more installs than ranking high in any app store. But, how does one get to the first page for a specific term? Well, through SEO.
Search Engine Optimization is basically the process of making your app’s website seem more relevant to the term you want to rank for, to the search engines. If you seem relevant, you get ranked higher. The higher you are ranked, the more visitors come your way, resulting in more installs.
Now that you understand what SEO is and and know the importance ranking your website in search engines for a specific term, let’s get down to it.
Like the beginning of any process, we must begin the process of optimization with research. Research into what you ask? Well, there are several things you need to research into to kickstart your SEO process. They are:
Research into Competing Apps:
Other apps that provide the same functionality or cater to the same needs as you do. You probably looked into this when you actually developed and released your app in the first place. And even if you didn’t, there isn’t a better time to start, than now.
Research into keywords you want to rank for:
This is probably the most important part of your research, the right keyword can make a difference of thousands of visitors. Here’s an example, if you put your efforts into ranking for the keyword: ‘ebook reader app’, you can see from the screenshot below, that it gets around 18,000 global searches a month.
While, some other similar keyword—keywords may seem perfect for describing your app—may get very little global searches. For example, the term: ‘ebooks reader app’ gets around 12,000 searches every month. That’s a 6,000 searches per month drop. More importantly, it is a 33% decrease in number of global searches by just adding an ‘s’ to the word ‘ebook’.
So, select your target keywords carefully. Use the Google Keyword Tool, and check out different terms that best suit your application. Select around 10 or more terms you’d like to rank for. Don’t settle for any less, since you don’t want to use the same term over and over again, which will just make your website seem spammy(trust me, you don’t want that). But don’t fret too much into getting the ‘perfect’ keyword. Google is, in fact, pretty smart. If you can rank a specific term, you usually aren’t doing bad with other—related—terms either. So, if you’re ranking on the first page for:’ebook reader app’, you can’t be too far behind with the term:’ebooks reader app’ either.
Also, when you are starting out, don’t select keywords that have their global search count in hundred thousands or the millions. In fact, try to stay in four-figures, or the lower five-figures(if you’re gutsy), since higher trafficked keywords are more difficult to rank for.
Research into pages competing for the first page on Google for your selected keywords:
Once you have selected a keyword that you think really suits your app, and won’t be terribly difficult to rank for, its time to check out the competition you have for the that specific keyword.
To check your competition for a specific keyword, first clear your browsers cookies and cache(or use Chrome’s Incognito or Firefox’s Private Mode). Next, go to Google International(avoid using your local Google for this research). And then go ahead and search for your selected keyword. There. That’s your competition. You might find pages from app stores too. For the term:’ebook reader app’, some of the the competition is:
As you can see, Aldiko is doing pretty good in this example, with two rankings on the first page, they’re doing pretty darn good.
What you see on this page is the competition you will attempt to outrank. See what they are doing. Reverse Engineer it. Basically, steal like a developer.
Now, you’re research is complete. Well, it is never complete. But the above mentioned things are usually the only things you need to look into when starting the search engine optimisation of your website.
In the next part of this series, we’ll look into where to actually integrate your researched keywords to help in the increasing your rankings.
And remember, with app websites made with Apptous, the actual optimisation process super simple, and a lot of the complicated stuff is already taken care of(like a great loading time and making your website super mobile friendly).
I’ll see you soon!