Every developer who sets out to build a mobile app does so in the hope that it will see great success. But while app revenues are soaring and expected to surpass $170 billion by 2024, the majority of apps don’t make any meaningful cash—if at all. By the first quarter of 2020, Google Play had in excess of 2.5 million apps while the Apple App Store was home to 1.85 million apps.

There’s no magic formula to app success. Nevertheless, applying certain principles can substantially grow your odds of making it. In particular, there are proven techniques that mobile developers can adapt from Google and the best SEO tools. When your app goes live on Google Play or the Apple App Store, you instantly come up against dozens or hundreds of competitors.

The following Google and search engine optimization (SEO) tactics can give your app the edge over the competition and increase your revenue.

A tablet using Google is displayed with a pen beside it.

Leverage the Power of User Data

Over the last two decades, Google has grown to become a diverse tech company offering dozens of products. Nevertheless, one thing has remained at the core of the company’s astounding success—data. There’s perhaps no other entity in the world that’s privy to such a vast volume of user information. Google captures data on what people like and what they are looking for then uses these insights to define and fine-tune its products and services. 

Likewise, mobile app developers must place user data at the center of the software development process. At the very start of the project, this user data will come from market research. Once development begins, end user participation is key. Bringing the app’s customers closer to developers and actively involving users from the earliest stages of development is vital for success.

Once the app is live, software development agencies will have access to real-world user data. This provides a strong foundation to continuously improve the app based on user experience, actions, requests and preferences.

Understand User Intent

Google’s algorithm has evolved over the years from just displaying search results based on the exact keywords in the query, to deciphering the user’s intention. It’s a move from a literal interpretation of user requests to a more anticipating, nuanced view.

Similarly, developers should create apps that address a problem or introduce a new, more efficient way to do something. Don’t build an app that you think your users want, build an app that they need. Don’t fall too deeply in love with your own ideas as to lose sight of what your customer actually wants.

What are your user’s goals? What issue are they looking to address? Maintaining and updating your app over time is a continuous process to deliver a better customer experience. Learn from and adjust to the evolving user problems, challenges and preferences.

A critical step to improving your app is collecting user feedback. It’s a challenge to obtain comprehensive user feedback without irritating the end user. Your requests for feedback should be strategic and intuitive. Keep it subtle and optional. Some of the tools you could use to continuously monitor user experience and extract user feedback include contact forms, feedback forms, optional surveys, star-ratings and business social media profile comments.

Performance

When it comes to page load speed, few websites can purport to compete with Google.com. As the world’s most visited site, Google.com has maintained a minimalist interface. The simple page, yet extremely complex algorithm, is responsible for filtering the hundreds of billions of web pages to give users the most relevant results.

Most of your users won’t wait 20 seconds for the app to open or for it to respond to a command. Except for apps that enjoy the benefit of an already well-known brand, users show no mercy to apps that score poorly on performance. Optimize your app by getting rid of bulky unnecessary elements that could weigh down on its performance.

The image depicts a download scale, indicating different levels of performance.

There are multiple reasons an app may be slow. Fortunately, most, if not all, are within your control. The framework you build the app on is unlikely to matter much. Most times, the problem lies in code implementation. A best practice to optimize app performance is to stick to native UI components and load the least data needed. With that, you’ll prevent the majority of potential performance problems.

Automation

Google Search processes tens of thousands of queries per second. It’s impossible for this volume of queries to be handled any other way except via automation. Similarly, the best SEO tools aim to reduce the amount of manual work SEOs have to do.

For developers, this principle of automation is particularly important during the app testing phase. The more automated your app testing processes are, the quicker, more consistent, and more accurate they are bound to be. This dramatically lowers the number of bugs that make it to production.

Consider these Google and SEO methods throughout the software development process and you will be on your way to building better mobile apps.