In early June, Google announced that iOS users who search with the Google app will be able to find content that exists on other iOS apps.
That means searching for a restaurant might return content from an app like OpenTable. Or if you’re looking for a recipe, the results could include something delicious from your Pinterest app.
See what they’re doing here? That’s right: Delivering a better experience. It means a combination of high-quality results AND the front-end interface users enjoy. In other words, it’s not just about web browsers anymore.
If we’ve learned anything from Google, Bing and Yahoo in the past year or so, it’s that user experience is becoming the top factor in terms of search rank. So it’s not just about traditional WEB content, but ALL content.
In the coming months, Google says it will roll out new search features to help users find content from even more apps. Bing’s doing it too. In many ways, it’s simply an intelligent response to how we realistically use our smartphones.
But just like every other technology rollout, it’s nothing to fear. Sure, it’ll mean some new optimization techniques, but they’re all pointing to the same thing: Better user experiences.
Welcome to 2014.
I haven’t written in a while…we decided to drive to Florida over the holidays with the dogs along. Suffice to say I didn’t get much work done. Except for Wisconsin losing the Capital One Bowl, and coming back to the Polar Vortex, it was a nice holiday!
It would be wonderful to talk about huge revelations from 2013…the truth is, back to basics remains the theme:
- SEO is not dead…it’s just hiding behind the mother ship: marketing 101. A good marketer knows their product or business and talks about it in a way that their customers understand. Putting the technology aside for the moment (which can still be a real showstopper,) a good website needs good content. In 2013, I worked with a couple of excellent content writers for the web and the one thing they have in common is their ability to TALK TO (not at) THE CUSTOMER in phrases and language the customer understands. In SEO terms, that means doing keyword research, ensuring keywords are prioritized based on what the customer is searching for, and writing compelling content. As someone in authority once said to me…”marketing is just common sense, right?” Well, yes, it is just common sense, but the skills to get there are real, and budgets can be improved or lost without a good understanding of the nuances of digital marketing..
- Content remains King…see #1
- Don’t try to fool the system…you’ll always get caught. When I worked for an airline and was fortunate to have wonderful benefits including flight privileges, there were always one or two people who tried to beat the system and break the rules. Inevitably, they would be walked out of the building with a box in their hands. YOU’LL ALWAYS GET CAUGHT. Do things the right way…form relationships with complementary sites and partners and get links naturally, don’t spam on your site by keyword stuffing, and if someone is telling you something that sounds too good to be true when it comes to SEO, it is. SEO and content marketing are hard work, but the rewards are great and long-lasting.
- Make decisions with facts, not opinion, or guesswork. In 2013, I came across several business opportunities where analytics were not used to measure success. In the world of FREE (Google Analytics,) I find it difficult to understand how a business can stay afloat without knowing where their customers are coming from, or what they’re looking at, or how many have responded to that promotion they did…I could go on and on. If there is one thing you can do for yourself in 2014, find someone that can help you understand the key metrics of doing business online. PLEASE!
- Embrace Mobile. According to Google, 90% of people use multiple devices to perform their online research. Google recommends that webmasters follow the industry best practice of using responsive web design. If your website is not built with mobile devices in mind, then you need a mobile app so your customers can reach you from their phone or tablet without needing a magnifying glass.
- Finally, if your website is not driving legitimate leads, sales, and revenue, please read 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 again and give me a jingle. I’d love to help. If this stuff is old hat to you, are you doing it?
Have a wonderful and prosperous 2014!
(Oh, and I guess I’ll have to settle for Seattle winning the Super Bowl considering their star quarterback Russell Wilson was also a star at Wisconsin!)
Besides building amazing websites and providing search engine optimization services… we also build, optimize and market mobile apps.
In many ways app optimization and marketing is similar to search engine optimization and online marketing… you start with a great app (or website). You ensure that app (or website) is built with a strong foundation for optimization. For a website you want to make sure it is crawl-able by the search engines, with friendly URLs and great content. With an app you want to be sure the app is optimized for strategic keywords. In both scenarios you start with keyword research (https://adwords.google.com/ko/KeywordPlanner) to identify keywords that are relevant to your app (or website) and that have the best opportunity to be searched for by your target market.
Title tags are important for SEO and the title of an app (Android or IOS) is also very critical. The name or title of the app becomes the Title Tag on the app store and it usually becomes the title tag on dozens of other app review sites or sites that aggregate apps. For IOS apps, Apple allows the app publisher to designate 100 characters worth of keywords to each app. These keywords are also important and could be thought of like meta-keywords-in-the-early-days-of-seo. If you don’t know what I mean.. back in the day a webmaster could “stuff” his meta-keywords full of strategic terms and the search engines used these signals in their ranking algorithms. Too many people went overboard and now meta-keywords are of no SEO value. But the 100 characters worth of keywords Apple allows, do hold value- so use your 100 characters wisely.
Once we go off page- links are important for any website. The same holds true for apps. Building links is usually one of the most difficult SEO related tasks. F ortunately with an app, it is usually easier to get links because many apps are interesting or useful tools. People like to link to useful or interesting tools (think about it, would you rather rank to some eCommerce website or a really cool iPhone App?). There are also many app review websites that will review and link to apps.
Social media is key as well. Social links, likes and mentions will only help a website. These social cues are like “votes” for your content. The same is true for apps. One of the interesting things with app optimization is that the more installs you get, the higher your app will get ranked and things can snowball. So getting social links and buzz and links from app review sites can lead to more installs, which leads to higher rankings and even more installs. Earning a review for an app today can lead to more installs tomorrow, higher rankings the next day and more subsequent installs in the future.
When it comes down to it SEO is all about value. Sometimes people over-complicate it. Google wants to return a relevant result that provides the most value for the searcher. The same is true for apps. The app stores want to return the best app for the relevant search. Optimizing your website or your app for your target market is a very important step, but always remember that delivering a great product, and value is going to be the key to long term success.