App Marketing 101 Series: Search Engine Marketing (Pillar 8)

Search Engine MarketingIn Part 8 of our 10 part app marketing 101 series, we look at a SEM or Search Engine Marketing to help improve the discovery of your application online. A large part of discovery for your app will happen as a result of search. Your goal as an app owner is to make sure that your application comes up in the search results when users are looking for it. But as this is everyone’s goal, you will also need to find ways to make sure that you are not only in the results but that your ranking is high enough for users to find you.

Search engine marketing (SEM) touches on many aspects of your marketing campaign from app description, to press release to configuration of paid ads. So making sure that you spend some time and effort thinking about search engine optimization (SEO) at the start of your marketing will maximize your campaign.

Finding and Selecting Keywords

When it comes to search nothing is more important than the keywords you choose to attach to your product marketing destinations. Keywords are extremely effective tools to ensure that when a user is looking for your app or a service/niche your app fulfills, you show up as a result.

1. Make Your Own List

The best place to start when identifying keywords is to make a list. Think like a user as they approach a search engine. What keywords would they use to get your app as a result? What keywords are you already starting to use in your marketing efforts? Your positioning statement and elevator pitch you mastered describing your app’s purpose and benefits are a great place to gain some valuable keywords.

2. Look To Your Competitors

Add to this list by looking to your competitors. View your competitions keywords by using the Page Source option in your browser. Do some searches within the search engines to see who comes up. Leverage those words that work for you to be sure that your product comes up amongst the rest. You will also want to identify opportunities where relevant keywords produce little competition as these terms have a larger chance of pushing you up the rankings for this result.

3. Ask Your Network

Ask your friends, coworkers or users to describe your app and what terms they would use to search for it. Getting an outside opinion from someone not as close to the product is an optimal way to figure out what actual users need when it comes to search.

4. Use Online Resources

Finally, using Keyword Tools like Google’s AdWord Keyword tool found here: is a must have resource to utilize when you are selecting your keywords. Use this tool to help choose and validate keywords. In using keyword tools like Google you will be able to learn upfront which keywords should result in the most searches and what the competition is for each. These factors are great ways to focus on

When selecting keywords, be as specific as possible. Avoid focusing solely on vague terms like “app”. Leverage terms that are unique to your product and product offering. Key industry terms are extremely useful as are any sub-brands that may be associated to your app. If you’re apps is a game, for example, use your character names as keywords. If your app is content-based, use your topics and authors.

Additionally, it’s inevitable that your list of keywords will be long. Make sure you understand what your top or priority keywords are versus the long tail terms. Consistently echo the top keywords in as many places as possible.

Keywords will grow as your product grows so don’t see this exercise as a one time deal. Whenever your product grows to add new features or your industry changes to include new terms, make sure that you update the metadata for your marketing pages, product descriptions and other sites.

Maintaining and grooming your keyword list will come in handy for future press releases and paid advertising like AdWords when the time comes for your next marketing campaign.


Where to Use Keywords

The answer is everywhere you can online.

You will definitely want to incorporate these keywords in the metadata of your web marketing site for your application. The most effective way to do this is:

  • Add your keywords to the metadata of each page
  • Include keywords in your title tags
  • Use your keywords in the content on your site
  • Leverage your keywords in the alt tags for your site’s images

But your site is not the only place you should be using your keywords. Consider anything that will be posted online as possible search results. If this is the case, then you will want to make sure that your keyword strategy is consistent in the following places:

  • Facebook posts
  • Tweets
  • App description within the App Store
  • Blog posts
  • Press Releases
  • YouTube video descriptions


Search Engine Optimization for Mobile

As app owners, the best place for a user to find your product is on their phone. This will increase the chance to download which is your main goal. As your product is mobile, it is definitely important to make sure that you optimize for mobile search.

The biggest step in mobile SEO is to make sure that you have a mobile optimized marketing page. A fully optimized mobile page will rank higher in the mobile search results than that of a desktop page so it is in your best interest to have this created when you are developing your online marketing presence. In addition, this page will be of better use to the users who click on it, as they won’t have to work (pinch, zoom etc.) to use it.

When building your mobile site make sure you consider site performance, rendering and speed. You will also want to leverage the keywords you are using on your desktop version but cater it for mobile.

Remember that search on mobile is on average much shorter than that on web so you will want to think about fewer and shorter keywords for mobile

You should also utilize Google’s Mobile Keyword Tool to see which desktop terms work and don’t work as well using this medium and perhaps what new keywords should be added.


SEO Takes Time So Plant Seeds Early

The key thing to remember for search engine marketing is that it takes time for the keywords to be crawled and used by the search engines.

Knowing this, make sure you give enough time to start to judge your results and make modifications. Also, you may wish to start your efforts early through a coming soon page both for desktop or mobile even before your product is released – including your priority keywords both in the metadata and visual text on these pages.

If you are in a hurry, you can try to speed things up by submitting your sites to the engines directly but there is no guarantee on the turn around for these requests.


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