This post isn’t specifically related to apps and app marketing, but it is related to auxiliary marketing of your own materials – specifically your product page that you host on your own web site.
I spent some time at SMX a couple of weeks ago; it’s a conference called Search Marketing Expo, and is geared, appropriately, to search marketing – and to social marketing as well. One of the tracks I attended was titled Performance Media and was hosted by Covario. My takeaway from the discussion was that Google + is something to be cogent of, and not just in the, “oh it’s full of spammers and Google forces you to use it so it doesn’t really matter” way that is prevalent right now, because it is full of spammers and Google does force you to use it if you’re using Android.
The big question at hand, and a relevant one, is whether or not Google is going to leverage the user base into the search results more significantly in the coming months, and if so, to what effect? PR has been gamed so long and in so many ways that it’s not that relevant for a lot of things currently. Changing and tweaking algorithms mean that it’s a constant game of reaction, not of offensive maneuvering for results. Adwords is still Adwords, and it gets expensive really quickly if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Mobile search is gaining traction at the speed of light; Covario’s estimate of 1/3 of all searches being done on mobile devices by the end of this year is probably a solid figure – one I don’t have a problem working with as a basis, for sure. When Google determines the method of sorting phone searches from tablets and other appliances, that will be a powerful tool in their arsenal for raising the rates on paid results as well.
The hypothetical Author Rankings is an imaginable reality – and one that could impact organic search results (and eventually paid, I’m sure) in a way that PR and generating or purchasing reams of keyword articles and the like will never be able to replicate, since the author will become the commodity if this were to happen, not the content per se. Authors could make or break results by choosing what to write about and putting forth opinions.
Of course, the games will go on… authors will be recruited, traded, reviled, revered, much like players in the NBA or the NFL are today. Someone like Dan Lyons, of readwrite.com fame, could be likened to A-Rod, Kobe, etc – not necessarily because of the quality of his writing (which is quite good, btw) but because people like to read his content, he has a lot of traffic and if they +1 his content that makes him valuable as a marketing tool.
In a nutshell, I’m not telling you to go out and start your own readwrite, simply that it’s a good idea to start fleshing out your G+ account now, and not just with links to articles from other sources. Take a few minutes each week and write a post about something you know. Increase your circles so your content is out there in front of others and they can choose to +1 or not, based on whether they like the content. It certainly can’t hurt in the long run, since everyone knows that Google favors + in results already. If you can’t find 10 minutes a week to put into it, hire a ghostwriter and re-use the content for your own blog in slightly different wording (any good ghostwriter can do that for you as well) so you get more bang for your buck.
Why should you do this? Maybe you don’t care about search results, but the people looking for a new app just might. The app stores are getting so crowded that it’s nearly impossible to find anything new and noteworthy that isn’t recommended by the editorial staff. The gaming of the rankings with incentivized downloads, paid downloads, app a day downloads, etc is only going to grow more expensive and more out of reach for the average developer who hasn’t had an Angry Birds to leverage into new sales (oh, wait, AB hasn’t done that good of a job with that one either) and your app will continue to founder in the realm of unseen, unloved and unwanted. Any traffic that stumbles over your product via a different source than the app stores is probably a better chance at a conversion than no traffic at all. Who knows, Dan Lyons might actually stumble over your app by accident and review it in readwrite…