Google continually changes the rules on website designers and business owners. Last January, the company started incentivizing mobile device app (application) creators to get rankings in Google search results. These apps don’t need to be tied to an actual website. If you’re someone who worked hard on local SEO for your website this may seem like disappointing news. However, there are things you can do to compete with apps in the search engine results, and use apps and mobile optimization to your advantage.
You Might Be Competing with an App and Not Know It
If you’re only checking web analytics through anonymous searches, you may not view the results seen by people with mobile devices. You need to check your rank through multiple devices – both Android and Apple, iOS or otherwise. AND you need to check from phones/iPads that have installed those apps. Google will push links to users with a downloaded app (like Yelp). These are applications that never before had to concern themselves with organic search or web presence. Scary? Yes. But you can take action.
Apps are starting to dominate local search results (SEO). Google is coming out with something called “app streaming.” They’re hosting a virtual machine in the Cloud that runs Android and Android apps. Then, they allow users to stream the app from their phone. What this means is users will be able to access the app without actually having it installed on their phone. This is groundbreaking. Now that there is no “installation barrier,” the apps are more like websites. What this means is that eventually people who don’t have an app will start seeing it more highly ranked in Google search results, when before it never would have been visible at all. A lot of apps that had no prior web presence will appear in Google searches and may be competing against your business.
What You Can Do: Optimize Your Site for Mobile
One search you can do yourself (again, perform this search on various mobile devices) is “site:yourdomain.com.” You might find surprising results. Your page might be mobile-friendly, but if reviews pop up instead of your home page, are the reviews mobile friendly? Then, once you have a list of all the pages that fit a non-friendly description, you can put them in Google’s “mobile friendly testing tool.” Google will tell you what to do about it. Sometimes their suggestions and corrections are as simple as:
- Remove app interstitials (provide app banners that push the content below)
- Check mobile UX (make sure all your tap targets are large enough for mobile use and that your font size is large enough to read on small screens)
- Improve page speed
- Get rid of unnecessary custom fonts that slow your site down
- Improve your knowledge graph – it may make the difference whether users can find your phone number and use it
Consider Adding an App
With the constantly changing paradigm between Google and SEO, you may wish to add an app to your website itself. This might be a completely strange idea for your business. If you would benefit from some expert advice, call LocalSEOsearch.ca. The professionals at our company can maximize SEO for your current website and keep you up to date on new Google initiatives, while adding new content and links that will keep your search ranking high.