In my most recent post, we discussed alternative ways of better online marketing that goes beyond the basics. Without an effective plan it can be extremely difficult to achieve the rankings that could put our business on the map. That reasoning is very apropos for today’s online business world but what plans do you have in place for the day when the website becomes outdated and needs to be replaced by something new? That day is not so far off in the future as you might expect.
As lawyers, one of your key goals is to get your business recognized on the Internet. In the past, that meant having a knock-out website that came fully equipped with all the bells and whistles. Smart lawyers made sure they had a steady blog keeping up-to-date with all the latest legal jargon, cases, and issues that were prominent in society. Without the website, getting the recognition you deserved was all but impossible.
Today, however, the online world is making another shift for which all of us will have to keep a close eye on. Some search engine experts are beginning to believe that the transition from the website to the next greatest thing has already begun. They predict that the website will eventually go the way of the record player, VHS tapes, and cassette players. What is replacing it? They say that everyone needs to start focusing their attention on business apps instead. According to Search Engine Watch,
If you’re like most people, you’re probably a co-user of apps and websites. You’ve downloaded a few games, utilities, and shopping apps, but much of your time is spent online using the browser on your desktop or phone. Why is that? Why don’t you exclusively use either apps or a browser?”
There are several reasons why the app hasn’t already overtaken the use of websites, but some experts feel that it is just a matter of time before these transitions begin to take place.
The Universal Use
Many people do not fully realize that a browser is really just another app that is designed to be entirely universal. As of last year, there were more than 816 billion websites holding trillions of pages of content for public use. The problem so far is that most of the websites do not have an app counterpart to allow visitors to find them without the use of a browser. As more developers and businesses begin to create their own apps that trend will gradually begin to change and the app will slowly begin to overtake websites in popularity. This new feature is the result of the new mobile friendly algorithm recently release by Google. As they explain at SearchEngineLand.com,
Google’s mobile ranking factors will not only label your site as mobile-friendly, but will also use that to determine if your site should rank higher in the search results. Google said this algorithmic change will have a “significant impact” in the mobile search results, impacting all languages worldwide.
Many believe that this new algorithm is just the beginning when it comes to ranking businesses. It will make it much easier for people to get relevant, high quality results from their search when it is optimized for their devices.
Another reason why apps have not as of yet taken command is that they do not offer search capabilities. They work well when the user doesn’t know what he’s looking for until he searches for it in the search engines. So far these search engines are not set up to crawl for content in a standalone app. However, just recently both Google and Bing announced that they are beginning to index app content so that they can include that search in their rankings.
One issue that continues to hold apps back is their download speed. As we said before, browsers are simply apps that have universal capabilities. When you visit a web page through a browser, in order for you to view that page on your computer, you must first download it. In most cases, this takes only seconds but with apps the process is much slower. Until apps are able to overcome the speed of app downloads, it will be very difficult for them to overtake the popularity of the website.
But Google is already working on addressing that problem. With the recent acquisition of a new software program, Google can now control a feature called “app streaming” where people can access those apps on their devices without the need to download them first. As they discuss in The Information,
The search giant last fall secretly acquired an “app streaming” startup called Agawi whose technology allows people to access apps on their smartphone without downloading them first. The acquisition, which hasn’t been previously reported, provides strong clues about the direction that Google is trying to move mobile software development.
Once apps are able to be indexed into Google’s search algorithms, it won’t be long before the convenience of having access to businesses through mobile devices becomes a mainstream activity of the Internet.
Ways Attorneys Can Utilize Apps
Because of this growing trend in app usage, it pays for attorneys to have their own app design to promote their offices. Some firms have already begun the process of creating an app to market their services. At the very least, readers can use an app to follow your regular blog but the potential can go much further than that. Clients can use these apps in much the same way as a bank allows its customers to check their balances, monitor their credit card purchases, and even open up new accounts. When a client can log into their app to find out the progress of their cases, or get their questions answered, your software application suddenly increases in value for them.
As mobility continues to be the buzz word for the modern day technological industry, it will pay for attorneys to think more creatively about their online presence. Yes, we do live in a world run by technology, but nothing in life is stagnant. Everything comes and goes in rapid succession. Those who are inclined to stick with the status quo will soon realize that their ability to stay ahead of the game will gradually dwindle. It is important that everyone stay abreast of the constant changes in the Internet, Google, and marketing in general so that they don’t find themselves falling behind the 8-ball so to speak. The future is always full of surprises but one thing we should never be surprised about is change, an inevitable part of life.
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