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Is Your App Invisible?

Google have followed through with their initial promise from last year. As you’ll remember a new Google algorithm aimed at significantly changing mobile search results to give preference to mobile ready content over non mobile ready content was introduced in April 2015 but it’s not just a small ranking signal anymore, sites that are not mobile-friendly will rank even lower than before. We covered this topic and implications of the algorithm when it was first announced last year. So we thought it would be useful to repost our guide to optimising this for Mobile SEO purposes.


MTT’s Director Consulting & Digital Insights and self-confessed Mobile SEO aficionado, Glenville Morris shares some guidance on how to improve the discoverability and the organic search performance of your mobile app. Here he focuses on the basics of Mobile SEO, in light of the ‘mobile first’ algorithm introduced by Google, and shares MTT’ s top tips for the world of App Store Optimisation.

Admittedly, Mobile SEO and App Store Optmisation are far from the most interesting topics to discuss, not least on a Friday! But they are critical to get right when launching and maintaining your travel app and mobile web. It often does not get the attention it should when a new app is launched – but this is a big mistake.

Mobile SEO has reached its tipping point and recent updates to Google’s algorithm and app store search ranking mean that mobile SEO is now more important than ever to building a successful mobile app strategy. Below I have included some of my thoughts on why:

Let’s start with some stats to make your ‘non-mobile, SEO-loving’ knees tremble.

Google announced that search on mobile overtook that on desktop at the end of 2014 and announced that mobile search is already more popular than on desktops in 10 countries around the world – including the U.S. Read more here.

Moreover, a report published by Comsore just last week makes clear that mobile is now the growth driver of digital behaviour and that desktop is rapidly becoming a “secondary touch point” for a large percentage of the US digital audience with 65% of digital time now spent on mobile in this region.

To bring this into a travel context, according to emarketer, in 2016, over 50% of travellers in the U.S. who book trips via digital means will do so using a mobile device.

And these trends are being replicated amongst consumers in the travel industry worldwide.

Having mobile ready, optimised content is more important than ever before for travel brands… so let’s take a look at the newly introduced Google algorithm that favours mobile first.

  • On April 21st 2015, #Mobilegeddon was announced. Google commenced roll out of its ‘mobile friendly’ update within its infamous algorithm. To put it more simply, Google now favours ‘mobile friendly’ sites (e.g. either responsive or a full mobile site) and will place these sites higher in its search engine page results for mobile. Read more here.
  • For an additional bit of fun, why not check out if your site or mobile site passes the test using Google’s handy ‘mobile-friendly’ tool.
  • Jumping on the bandwagon, Bing also announced that it would follow Google in favouring mobile friendly sites in search results.


And it’s not just all about the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages), ASO is the buzzword du jour. App Store Optimisation, or ASO as it is more commonly known, is basically SEO for apps and just like its search engine big brother, it has its own unique algorithms and techniques.

Plus, with a recent study suggesting that more than 50% of users find apps via app store search, app store optimisation should not just be a buzzword; it is a total must.


Well first things first, you need to get started! As I said at the start of this post, mobile SEO and ASO should be up there at the top of your mobile to-do list. So to help you, here at Travelport Digital we have written this handy guide on the basics to get ASO right and improve your chances of being found in the app store:


 1.   Title, title, title

Keep it short, keep it concise and ensure that you include either your brand name or your most important keyword within the title. DO NOT come up with a ‘wacky’ marketing title that means nothing to your brand or to your customers and has only been searched for 5 times in the entire world since 2007.

 2.   Choose the right category

For some reason, I have often seen travel apps that are in the travel category and kids or games category. This is a no no. If you are a travel brand, stick to the travel category!

 3.   Be on your descriptive ‘A-game’

After your app title, the description of your travel app is the most important part of ASO. Users will only see the first 225 characters on iOS before it cuts to ‘…read more’. Spacing is even more limited with Android. Material Design has now rolled out across the Google Play store, so the app description appears as just a snippet. Choose your words carefully and get to the point quickly in the first lines of your description. The app description is your main opportunity to sell your app.

4.   Optimise your keywords

Obvious I know, as I mentioned, it’s just like web SEO. You need to identify the keywords users might choose when searching for your app. Use analytics tools to determine what the high traffic keywords are and use these. You are allowed 100 characters on the App Store and up to 4,000 on Google Play.

5. App Icon 

Create an original, visually appealing icon. You’ve got a few seconds to stand out in the sea of apps.

6. Design/screenshots 

You have 5 screenshots for the App Store (plus an App Preview video) and 8 screenshots in Google Play. Use them wisely and showcase your app’s best features and functionality. The infographic style is currently on trend.

7. Go global 

Make sure your app description and screenshots are in multiple languages.

Take a look at Part 2 of Glenville’s blog post on Mobile SEO which uncovers top SEO tips for promoting your mobile site and app landing page.

Glenville Morris - Director of Consulting

Glenville has over 12 years experience as a digital & mobile professional in the travel, entertainment & retail sectors. Prior to joining Travelport Digital Glenville worked at easyJet across analytics, mobile marketing & was the product owner for easyJet mobile. At Travelport Digital Glenville heads up the Digital Insights team looking at market trends, operating system updates and how new mobile technologies will affect the travel industry.

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