The goal of any app developer or marketer is basically app installs. Until recently, successful app marketing required intense efforts in ASO (App Store Optimization), a PR push to get your app featured in top 10 lists and Hottest App articles, and a serious dose of good luck. But Google has changed the game for app marketers with their algorithm that puts apps front and center in mobile search.
In this article, you’ll read all about the growth of mobile search and the connection between ASO and SEO (Search Engine Optimization). We’ll also cover how to write compelling content that can improve your app’s Google search ranking.
Mobile Search Has Overtaken Desktop
With smartphone and tablet ownership on the rise, mobile search has boomed. In 2015, mobile search queries exceeded desktop search for the first time, leading Google to focus more than ever on their algorithm for search on mobile devices.
This increase in mobile activity worldwide is of course great news for app developers since the market is wide open for the introduction of amazing new apps. But did you know that the average smartphone user only interacts with about 30 apps every month? The abundance of mobile app availability has made it harder for any one app to stand out from the crowd and become a must-have app. That’s where ASO and SEO come in!
ASO and SEO Go Hand in Hand for App Promotion
ASO and SEO serve different objectives for apps: downloads in the app store vs installs generated from Google search results. However, they do use many of the same strategies and must go hand in hand to maximize app promotion and visibility.
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the art of optimizing your website or specific landing pages to get a top ranking in search engine results pages.
ASO, or App Store Optimization, serves the goal of making your app visible in mobile app stores, like Google Play or the Apple App Store, leading to increased app downloads. Successful ASO will not only bring your app to the top of the search list, but it will improve your chances of being included in top app charts and featured categories within the app store. Since 65% of iOS app downloads are the direct result of an App Store search, it’s hard to deny the importance of optimizing your app’s product page for discoverability.
With Google now actively including app listings in its mobile search engine results pages, that’s a lot of potential for organic downloads! Working SEO practices into your existing ASO strategy will help you get more eyes on your app.
Google Search Results Link to the App Store
Due to Google’s efforts to highlight app listings in mobile search results, search has become a great way to discover new mobile apps. There are two ways in which apps appear in Google search:
App Packs At least one in ten mobile searches includes an App Pack in the results. App Packs are a grouping of three or six apps with the option to expand even more results. Packs will generally show up in mobile web search when users are looking for an unspecified app or a task that can be done with the help of an app. Think of fairly generic search queries like “meal planning” or “app for kids”.
Single Snippet A search for a specific brand or app will often result in a single snippet app listing that includes the number of downloads and the application’s app store rating.
Single snippets and app packs can also show up in the same list of mobile search results. Clicking on a single snippet “install” button or on any app in an app pack will take you from your mobile browser directly to the app store that’s relevant to your specific smartphone.
These Ranking Factors Help Make Your App Visible
SEO for apps is not unlike App Store Optimization. The same ranking factors are at play for both:
- ratings and reviews
- quality backlinks
That covers the “what”, but what about the “how”?
How Can the Content You Create Help You Improve the Google Mobile Search Ranking for Your App?
How to Incorporate Keywords
An enthusiastic app description is necessary, of course, but it’s hard to overstate the importance of keywords in your app listing! (Bear in mind that those keywords might be slightly different for your ASO than for your SEO.)
Including the best and most relevant keywords in your app’s metadata — particularly in your app title - is instrumental in getting your app to rank high in search. Since Google’s algorithms change by the second, it’s important to work with the most up-to-date keyword pool available. Optimize your keywords as often as possible to stay competitive and to keep generating new installs, ratings, and app reviews. When you continue to grow those metrics, they will ultimately help you rank higher in search, both in-store as well as in Google results.
Tool Tip: Webtexttool helps you optimize any written content related to your app with real-time guidance on writing optimized text. This makes it the perfect tool for writing any text for your app listing and any content on your app’s website or landing page, like blog posts and product pages. Prior knowledge of SEO isn’t necessary, and you can try out webtexttool free of charge for the first 30 days.
How to Boost Positive Ratings and Reviews
Of course, it’s key to provide an incredible app that people will love. But loving your app doesn’t necessarily translate into app store reviews. There are several easy ways to actively encourage your app’s users to leave you great reviews. These mini-messages to your app users deserve just as much thought as longer articles or full web pages about your product. They are an important part of your communication strategy and can drive positive ratings, leading to higher click-through-rates and download conversions.
Ask for help
Explain to users why you need their honest feedback and explain how great ratings can help you provide them with an even better product! If users actually like using your app, a prompt for quick feedback won’t be an inconvenience. (Just don’t ask too frequently, since that can get pretty annoying.)
Timing is everything
It’s not the best idea to request feedback and ratings every single time someone opens your app. Try to plan your request for special milestones, like when users reach an exciting level in a gaming app or after a user has completed their first ten to-do items in an organizational app.
Mix things up
Don’t use the same prompt for feedback every time. Keep things interesting by alternating different styles of app rating requests.
Get feedback in-app
Asking for people’s thoughts in-app can help you deal with potential negative feedback before it ever hits the app store! Great customer service can really turn a less-than-perfect experience around and keep your app store ratings up.
Capture the right tone of voice
Depending on the type of app, you’re marketing and your intended audience, requests for feedback can range from tongue-in-cheek to much more serious. Be consistent in your tone of voice throughout all your app communications.
Ask the right people
Don’t bug first-time app users with requests for immediate feedback. Instead, consult your user data and ask for reviews from those people who use your app the most! Keep in mind that your social media channels are a great way to connect with people who love using your app. Since they took the time to follow you there, it’s not a huge stretch to think they might want to leave you a positive review. And don’t forget to talk to the people who are most invested in your app’s journey towards success: the beta-testers who were there from the start.
How to Build and Encourage Quality Backlinks
When authoritative sources around the internet contain links to your app download page, that gives your app standing and authority, too. In turn, that will improve your Google search ranking. But how do you get those backlinks out there? Try these avenues for written content and in-person communication:
Start with yourself
If your app is your main product, like a game or a service, you likely already have a website or landing page dedicated to it. But if your app is simply a portal for accessibility into your company or products, it might not have a dedicated web page. Make sure your main website includes an app landing page and a link to your app store download page. Does your website have a blog section? Consider writing a piece on your app and its features, and include app store links in any other relevant blog posts.
Make sure that your social media profiles include a link to your app store page. It’s all about building a link profile for your app!
Invest in PR
When you first launch your app or make any major updates down the line, consider sending a press release to any relevant news, tech, and lifestyle sources. You might just get some publicity (and authoritative linking!) out of it.
Get out into the world
Any virtual or real world activity is a great opportunity for network building, and link building by default. Writing guest posts on relevant websites, partnering with other brands, sponsoring an event, or speaking at a conference are all great ways to get the word out about your app and to garner new backlinks.
There’s no time like the present to get your app discovered outside the app store. To sum it up, being visible in Google Search and mobile app stores is a great driver of organic app downloads. If you know the basics of ASO and SEO, and use the right tools, you can get the most of your app store content. Just try!