Mobile Apps and the New Google Algorithm
The latest algorithm update from Google focuses squarely on mobile friendliness and mobile search results. Businesses large and small, national and local are asking what they can do to respond to this change and make sure their site shows up well in mobile search results.
The development of a mobile app should be among the list of activities. Google sent that message loud and clear as the improved ability to crawl for apps is an inherent part of the update. If you have not thought that a mobile app could help you or if you simply don’t think you know enough to even know where to start if considering one, let the following be your primer on the subject.
How Can a Mobile App Help?
There are several benefits that mobile apps offer to companies. At a minimum, they can increase visibility to customers giving yet one more way to be found and to entice interactions. To that end, they also drive increased customer engagement. The best apps give people a reason to use them over and over again. Mobile banking apps may possibly be one of the best examples of this. They let customers access their financial information anywhere, anytime with greater security and customizeability than via a mobile website.
Mobile apps can also reinforce and strengthen a brand, especially when used as a way of managing customer loyalty programs. Such programs are ideal reasons to develop apps because they provide functionality and information unique to individual users and separate from what may be found on a website.
Mobile apps could also be viewed as one of the largest untapped direct marketing channels available. The existence of an app gives you another avenue to share news and promote specials, products, services and more with your most qualified customers. When someone has taken the time to download and install your app, that automatically boosts their level of engagement and qualification as a lead—something you should capitalize on.
Mobile payments can be not only facilitated but encouraged via a mobile app. Not so sure? Have you seen how many people pay for their lattes at Starbucks via mobile apps?
The Big Caveat
All of this said, before you run off and decide to create a mobile app, stop. It’s great that you have been able to see the potential value that an app holds for your business but that value only exists when there is a clear purpose to and goal for an app. Step #1 in your mobile app development process is to identify exactly what you want your app to do and why it should exist.
This reason should be something that your customers will get excited about and that will motivate them to want to download and use the app. Your app should never be simply a duplication of your website. It must offer features and functionality that people cannot obtain or enjoy easily via your site on mobile devices.
Whether you create a native app, a web hosted app or a hybrid app, let this concept be your guiding principle. Not only will this resonate well with your customers but Google will appreciate it as well. Remember that SEO today, including the new Google mobile algorithm, is all about the customer experience.