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‘We need to talk about… mobile SEO’ - Part 1

MTT’s Head of Consulting 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. Part 1 focuses on the basics of Mobile SEO and uncovers some top tips for the new world of App Store Optimisation.

OK, let’s talk about mobile SEO. No, stop, please don’t go run away, come back… hello…cough… *tumbleweed sound*.

Come on, I know it is probably not the most ”sexy” subject in mobile. If you mention mobile SEO to any Head of Mobile, of any brand with apps or a mobile site, it is likely that they will roll their eyes and reply: “yeah, we’ll look at that after launch, next year, budget permitting …once we launch a Windows app” – *snigger*.

Well this is WRONG!

Mobile SEO has reached its tipping point and recent updates to Google’s algorithm and app store search ranking mean than 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.

  • Mobile search will overtake desktop search for the first time ever this year. In fact this year, Google announced that mobile search is already more popular than on desktops in 10 countries around the world – including the U.S. Read more here.

Between Q3 2013 and Q3 2014, mobile organic search in the U.S. rose by 45%, compared with just a 3% rise in overall organic search.

  • 40% of eCommerce transactions globally will come from mobile by the end of 2015.

And the big one to really make those knees knock…

This happened…

  • On April 21st 2015, #Mobilegeddon happened. 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.

Quick bit of advice: I wouldn’t look if I were you Ryanair.com, oh dear, oh dearie dear.

  • Jumping on the bandwagon, Bing later announced that it would follow Google in favouring mobile friendly sites in search results. But as only 5 people a year use Bing, who cares!


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.


So I know what you are thinking: What does this mean for me?

Well first things first, you need to get started! As I said at the start of this blog, 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 – yes we are that nice.

ASO for apps guide

 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

If I see another travel app that is in the travel category and kids or games I will come round to your house and scream in your face. If you are a travel brand, stick to the travel category, doh!

 3.   Be on your descriptive ‘A-game’

After your app title, the description 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, see I told you 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.   Actually, 5, 6 & 7 (I needed more than a Top 5)

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

- 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.

- 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.

Image sources:

Image 1: http://zeendo.com/info/google-mobile-seo/

Image 3: http://suite.booking.com/blog/hark-mobilegeddon-to-rain-down-apocalypse-of-pain-on-your-serps/

Image 4: http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04/rolling-out-mobile-friendly-update.html

Image 5: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/

Image 6: http://theappmedia.com/app-store-optimization-aso/

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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