In a recent post on the Google Webmaster Central Blog, Google highlights several changes it has made to the way that websites rank on mobile search and copywriters everywhere need to be alert. These include changes to the way faulty URL redirects are handled and the penalisation of error pages that occur only on smartphones.
In a further developer resource, Google discusses some common mistakes to avoid (so you can bet that these feature in their algorithms), and amongst these are ‘App download interstitials’, better known as pop-ups. These interstitials are used by many app developers to promote their apps to mobile users, and by others to draw attention to things like mailing lists. But Google says that these, “may be too disruptive to the visitor’s usage of the site”, and, “may cause indexing issues of smartphone-optimised content.”
Let’s face it, pop-ups are also just plain annoying, particularly if you’ve just arrived at a site. Google recommends instead using banner ads to promote apps and other features, but there are other ways which can be far more effective.
Can copywriters offer an alternative?
Rather than trying to capture users’ attention with visual interruptions (a tactic that seldom works), developers can instead use copywriters to promote their apps, or anything else for that matter.
Weaving mentions of your app into your main content wherever appropriate is an effective way of bringing it to the attention of your visitors, and you can easily direct them to the download by using clickable anchor text. Wherever you mention it, good copywriting should also bring their attention to one or more benefits that they will get from the download. This helps to paint it as something that they themselves need, as opposed to something you’re trying to sell them.
You can also use targeted landing pages to promote your app. These should be concise, snappy, and they should once again draw attention to the key benefits. Use relevant keywords to bring traffic directly to this page of your site, without the need for annoying pop-ups.