How to increase mobile app downloads through SEO

Mobile apps are the future. In fact, apps are touted to be more popular than the Internet. Pew Research Center at North Carolina’s Elon University claims that apps changed the people use the web, connect with others, shop, and get entertained.

Pool in statistics from ComScore, Alexa, and Flurry and it’s evident that users spend 81 minutes on average on an app per day – that’s more than the average amount of time users spend surfing the net.

Tab Times , which alludes to a new report by Strategy Analytics , reveals that mobile business apps were worth a whopping $25 billion in 2012. By 2017, business apps for smartphones will be worth double that amount. A feature on Daily Mail states that Apple’s App store touched 10 billion downloads mark in December 2011. Apple’s App store has more than 585,000 apps and tracks more than 1 million downloads a month.

Clearly, mobile apps are big business. For successful web developers, companies, and brands that use apps for increased engagement with users, it’s the newly paved path to the future.

Marketing mobile apps, however, is as much an entrepreneurial endeavor as it can get. The basic principles of marketing apps are much like marketing a website, a landing page, a blog, or any other web property.

SEO is easily one of the most crucial elements of your overall online marketing strategy and it crucial because more than 90% web users dig into Google to find what they want online.

Since not every app makes it to the “Featured”, “Popular & New” sections of Apple App store or Google Play, app developers and businesses with custom-developed apps must rely on Google’s power to ramp up app downloads.

Here are ways to increase your app downloads using SEO:

Stick to the basics

Develop a minimal, simplistic, focused website to promote your mobile app with a blog thrown in for good measure. Use “above the fold” approach to boost your CTR (Click Through Rates) since most visitors don’t bother scrolling and want to click on the first element they see on a web page, according to Neil Patel of Kiss Metrics .

Develop landing pages. Use simple, search friendly URLs, and add social media buttons to gain valuable social signals for search (especially the popular ones such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn).

When linking out from your most important webpages to your app download page (Apple App Store or Android App Stores), link out using anchor text as “App Name + Brand Name” clearly.

Don’t use “Download our iPhone/iPad App”, “Download our Android App” because these generic links with common anchor text don’t add value to your SEO efforts in promoting your mobile app.

Outreach program with review sites, Bloggers, and Magazines

When the word gets out, it can get viral after you reach the tipping point. To make that happen, however, there’s work to do.

Depending on the platform you created your app for (iOS, Android, or Windows), reach out to websites and bloggers who publish reviews on respective niches. For instance, some of the popular review sites (with average monthly visitors) are App Shopper (149,421), Touch Arcade (115,083), and App Safari (75,201).

Some popular blogs for iPhone include TUAW (685,705), and Apple iPhone School (74,139).

It’s easier to reach out to these websites and bloggers to have them publish posts about your app. Since these blogs are already well indexed for mobile app searches, you gain valuable link juice to start with.

Alternatively, you may also try to get media coverage using websites like HARO (Help a Reporter Out) whenever writers and journalists request information on newsworthy apps to write about.

Create videos for apps. Distribute it on Video sharing sites

At least 71% of Americans online use video sharing sites such as YouTube and Vimeo. YouTube alone operates as the second largest search engine after Google. Creating videos (app-based, feature showcase, or even an animated video) is a must.

Merely uploading videos on YouTube, however, is a “hit and miss” or “Spray and pray” strategy. There’s a better way to do it:

  1. Upload your demo video or introductory video along with the app name + your brand name.
  2. Add Meta information, relevant tags, and a description for the video with clever use of keywords.
  3. Write dedicated blog posts, guest posts (to be hosted on other authoritative, high-ranking blogs), and point some social media links back to your videos.
  4. Reach out to YouTube app reviewers. Unlike bloggers who mostly use images and text, YouTube App reviews use screen casting or videos to review new or popular apps. Consider this: a popular app reviewer such as iJustine has 629,292 subscribers.

Develop an overall mobile app marketing strategy using a judicious mix of SEM, SEO, social media, video, podcasts, and other online methods.

How is your mobile app marketing coming along? What online marketing methods work for you? We’ll be happy to hear from you. Give us your two cents.

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