You’ve got iOS and Android apps – and a hundred thousand competitors. Cost-effective discovery is a major marketing challenge. Now, there’s a powerful new way consumers can find and download your apps and increase your app’s popularity, for free: Google!

Google recently unveiled major improvements to how they index and display apps in organic search listings. These changes mean your apps can show up in Google’s results. Imagine consumers searching Google for your brand on their mobile device, finding your site – and multiple apps – monopolizing the first 10 listings. That’s the idea.

Here are seven powerful SEO tips to get started. Best of all, these techniques tap into you’re your existing digital assets, costing you nothing extra. Bonus!

Tip #1: Brand Your App

The key insight is that your app’s name doubles as link anchor text within the App Store and Android Market. Getting both of these enormously popular sites to link prominently to your app page, using your brand name as the anchor text, puts their huge link equity to work for you. Don’t go overboard. Unless your app is among the most popular, there’s little benefit to stuffing keywords in the app name. Be sure to feature the brand name in the download page URL as well for additional signal boost.

Tip #2: Connect with Hub Pages

Put your own link equity to work. Point your most important pages (home page, category pages) at your apps pages. Many make the mistake of burying these links – which buries the app in Google. If you’ve got multiple apps, consider a landing page promoting them with screen shots, reviews, features, etc. Pages like these also need to be linked from the most important pages to maximize the flow of link equity to the apps.

Tip #3: Brand Your Anchor Text

Send a signal to bots that each App Store and Android app page is all about your brand, as in “Download the Nordstrom iPad app” or “Get the HSN App for Android.” Don’t make the classic “click here” SEO mistake of linking to your app without mentioning your brand in the anchor text. The only thing worse to avoid: linking to your apps only through the “Available on Android/App Store” image graphics.

Walmart Links Graphics & QR codes to Apps

Tip #4: Target Mobile Users – and Bots!

You have a captive audience accessing your site with a mobile device. Make it easy for them to download your app. When iPhone, iPad, or Android browsers hit your desktop or mobile site, offer a link at the top of the page for them to download the appropriate app for their device. Don’t stop there. Make sure Google’s new Smartphone Googlebot also sees the app links when it crawls your pages. Make sure it sees branded anchor text, not images!


 Amazon’s Mobile Site Promotes iOS App – Lacks Anchor Text

Tip #5: Create QR Shortcuts

QR codes give desktop visitors easy app access – and they’re an emerging signal for mobile search rankings. Provide a dedicated QR for each app (see Walmart for a good example). The links should be compressed before generating the QR, since native Apple and Android site URLs exceed 50 characters and you’ll want low-density QRs around 25×25 pixels. (Consult our Free Guide to Creating QR Codes for guidelines.) Make sure your QR platform lets you measure crawl requests from major bots.

Tip #6: Hotwire Press Releases

Any app Press Releases need to feature links with branded anchor text pointing at the app download page at Apple or Android. Some news outlets will post your release “as is” with links intact, creating an instant backlink network, with great anchor text pointing at your new app. Use links in your press release that let you easily change the destination later without changing the release itself.

Tip #7: Tap Your Social Profiles

Your social profiles like Facebook, LinkedIn, even Wikipedia allow multiple URLs in your profile. Like app pages, your social profiles are also powerful ranking opportunities in their own right. Give your app an added boost: aim the considerable link equity of your social profiles at your app pages! While social sites like Facebook do not allow you to create anchor text with your link, there are ways you can track clicks and crawls from these third party sites to your app.
Promoting your app doesn’t need to be expensive! Considers strategies to optimize your digital assets and help more mobile consumers searching for you find your apps for free.

Brian Klais is a nationally-recognized mobile marketing strategist. He is a columnist, speaker, and founder of Pure Oxygen Labs (@PureO2Labs), a consulting and technology firm specializing in Mobile Search, Social, App, and QR marketing. Brian can be reached at [email protected] or @BrianKlais