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SEO and Mobile Apps

Every business needs to think about Search Engine Optimization, but what does a mobile app have to do with SEO?

Mobile apps appear in search results, and the content of your apps can also be indexed by Google. This can help you dominate the SERPs (search engine result pages) for specific keywords, and help you increase brand awareness and engagement.

Mobile app search is on the rise, along with mobile app usage. This is especially true of teenagers, who are highly engaged with apps. In addition, an average of 34% of the top 10 websites are mobile only.

This means that one of the fasting growing segments of mobile users cannot be marketed to by optimizing HTML webpages alone, requiring search marketers to expand their skills into app optimization. –Moz.com

Let’s look at how you can use a mobile app as part of your SEO strategy.

Your App in the SERPs

Simply having a mobile app on the app stores is the first part of the equation.

Take the DradCast search result page for example:

DradCast SERP

The DradCast has increased their footprint in the SERPs just by having an app in the app store.

If you add “app” to the search, it’s even more obvious with Wakami:

Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 10.20.54 AM

Once your app is in the stores, it doesn’t end there.

App Indexing

Along with appearing in desktop search results, mobile apps can also be installed directly from the SERPs. Google introduced app indexing in 2013, and earlier this year started introducing relevant app installation directly from search results.


Source: TechCrunch

App content is indexed, then when someone searches for content relevant to the app, Google will recommend installing the app. This currently only works for Android, but is coming soon for iOS.

App indexing is for content that is in apps, but not on websites. If you are using content from your website in your app, you probably don’t need to add app indexing.

App Store Search

App store search is completely separate from Google search, and is another form of mobile app SEO.

To get more people to download your app, you need to make sure they can easily find your app. iOS app store search is notoriously horrible, so it’s very important to make your app easy to find.

iOS app store optimization mostly has to do with keywords, and it feels a lot like SEO from 10 years ago. Adding keywords to the title, description, and tags section of your app store listing is about all you can do for now.

Notice how Kayak’s title includes keywords. These keywords and others would also go in the tags section and description, and supported by great screenshots.

Kayak app

The process is similar for Android, although titles have to be shorter. This guide is a great place to start to learn about app store optimization.

Where does mobile app SEO fit?

Mobile app SEO may not be your #1 growth strategy, but it’s too important to ignore. Mobile is only increasing in popularity, and apps dominate device usage (86% of device usage is in apps).

Mobile app SEO is a great way to augment your existing strategy to drive growth and retention.

1 Comment

  1. Marcus Kay on January 5, 2017 at 6:40 am

    Great post!

    With million of apps around nowadays, mobile app SEO has become very key to getting your app found. I like your point about app indexing, but it is often overlooked because most mobile app developers are not familiar with SEO tactics.

    Anyway, thanks for the awesome content. Related to this, I also written a mega post (>5000 words) about 35 app SEO tips to increase app downloads in 2017: https://www.meatti.com/blog/app-seo-increase-app-downloads/ . I hope the readers here can get a kick out of it 🙂

    Either way, keep up the great work!

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Scott Bolinger