Mobile apps in marketing
Marketing SEO

Will Your Mobile Apps Help or Murder Your SEO?

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The digital marketplace is growing more crowded each day, with new tools, services, and gimmicks pushed by marketers. For the most part, so long as it doesn’t directly affect a web page, most marketers don’t worry too much about whether their initiatives are harming their search engine optimization. However, this might soon change for some companies.

Mobile apps have proven to be an effective means of improving a brand’s reach and retention, particularly on mobile and with younger audiences. Promoting these apps, however, has always been a challenge. Many companies encourage their audiences to download their mobile app by serving specific landing pages of full-screen pop-ups when accessing their website. For the most part, this seems to work (though, it’s resulted in many of us having to search out that small, inconvenient “continue to full site” button on more than one occasion). However, in a further step to improve their engine for mobile, Google has recently announced that websites that serve oversize ads to mobile users will be penalized in SEO ranking.

Google Penalizing Mobile Apps Pop Up Ads

Numbers vs. Users

In this move from Google, digital marketers are reminded of something very important: Metrics, KPIs, and analytics all are meant to measure people, not data points.

There are hundreds of ways to manipulate the mechanics and presentation of a website to improve search engine visibility and rank, but at times these decisions can come at the cost of user experience.

The use of mobile apps by companies is perhaps the best example of this disconnect between data and audience. Theoretically, apps allow customers—particularly engaged customers—to interact with a brand on a more consistent and convenient basis. Forcing users to download an app defeats this goal. It might bring your brand a little more visibility, but if the cost of visibility is frustrating your current audience, then it’s counterproductive.

Mobile apps can be a boon for your marketing. But pushing them too hard online might be harming your SEO.Balancing the Scales

While avoiding Google’s penalty might be as simple as reducing the screen space of your promotions, this latest update might be the perfect time to reevaluate your brand’s customer experience overall. Here are a few ideas to help:

  • Use Apps for Funneling: Rather than forcing all of your users to download your app, presenting your app as a choice, not a requirement, can allow you to identify more engaged and interested audience members. If a good lead is worth more than mobile data to your team, this can help.
  • Compare Data to Qualitative Feedback: Improved numbers are good, but finding ways to interact with your audience on a conversational level can help save you time in testing and evaluation. App reviews, site forms, social media—these should all be tied into your interpretation of site traffic and visibility.
  • Keep Your Onboarding Up to Date: Whether this means investing in app updates or new website plugins for simpler pop-ups or alerts, this part of customer acquisition can be easily overlooked—and in this oversight you might be missing out on opportunities to capture more leads.

Interested in more detailed insight into working with Google for SEO? Skyword’s guide to Google SEO and webmaster tools will help you dig deeper.

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