March 2, 2012

Search Engine Journal: How Apps are Changing the World of SEO

posted March 1, 2012 by Gabriel Gervelis,

Recently, the game-changer to rule them all occurred; as we know, search engines have moved social.

For SEO content developers, this means we’ve got to get our content onto social networking platforms. And in order to do this, it’s got to get used, and it’s got to keep the user in mind.

But there’s another less visible game-changer on the horizon as well, and it’s one that could be every bit as consequential for the practice of SEO.

We all know it, we’ve all used it, but so far we haven’t been talking too much about what it means for what we do.

It is the search feature in the mobile app markets.

Allow me to explain.

Sometimes, in order to determine what the future of an industry is, it helps to watch the moves of the biggest players. So when Apple makes an acquisition, I like to pay attention.

Last weekend I read an article on Tech Crunch that stated that Apple recently bought a platform called Chomp for an undisclosed amount. Chomp is a platform which allows people to organize their apps. This article states that over 25 billion apps have been downloaded since the creation of the Apple APP Store. And currently, it says, there are over 500,000 apps being offered.

Now, as we know, search engine optimization—our industry—came to be when business owners had websites that had to be found on the SERPs. So we identified the algorithms and discovered tips and tricks that helped our clients gain visibility on search engines.

But what if someday soon, that isn’t what we do anymore? (Not all we do, anyway.)

What if we find ourselves needing to gain visibility on apps marketplace search platforms, too?

Well, I think we’re about to find out.

An earlier post of mine for SEJ stated that index search is down fifty percent. Search has moved to sites like Wikipedia and other popular content sites. Search in the app store is up. People have made a the statement that they prefer branded content form apps they trust, rather than sorting through links on a SERP.

When the term “search engine” is actually in your job title (or at least in your job description), that’s a change that demands your attention.

The question, of course, is: what are we going to do about this shift in search behavior? Will search engine optimization experts like myself continue to focus on the results listings of Google, Yahoo and Bing? Or will we adapt our talents to the changing needs of the consumers and the businesses that we represent? Where will our clients turn when they no longer need to be #1 on Google, rather, #1 on the app market.

And if we do, are we still “search engine optimization” experts? Or should we be ditching the “SE” in “SEO” and replacing it with something else?

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