Make your app appear in related searches so that users can discover and download it. In order to do so, app store SEO marketing needs to be a key component of your mobile strategy. With over two million apps available in the Android and Apple stores and 63% of iPhone app discoveries occurring via general browsing in the stores, it is critical that yours stand out from the crowd. It’s important to first understand why app store optimization is important in order to know how to execute it and then analyse it. All of which we’ll go over in just a bit. Additionally, we’ll outline some tools and tips to help you through the optimization process.
What is app store SEO marketing?
We like to refer to app store SEO marketing as another term for app store optimisation, or ASO, which is the process of improving the visibility of an app in search results on mobile devices. Optimizing an app to rank higher in the search results is proven to result in more downloads. A well optimized app also has a higher likelihood of appearing on the top rated or most popular charts, which is where 33% of mobile users find iPhone apps. Effective app store SEO marketing accomplishes two things:
- App discoverability – is your app visible in related app store searches?
- App downloads – once users discover your app, are they driven to download it?
How to perform app store SEO marketing
How do you make sure that your app is discovered? Keywords are the foundation of a successful app store optimization strategy for visibility. What are the keywords that best represent your business? To understand this, your keyword optimization strategy should include:
- Keyword research to check for the volume and the type of competition.
- Competitive research: which keywords do your competitors rank highly for in the search results? Are there keyword opportunities that have enough search volume, but low competition to target your app?
- Inclusion of your keyword in your title.
- Inclusion of your keyword in your description.
- Make the above points a recurring activity.
- Frequent copy testing. Use your app updates to tweak copy to target newly discovered keywords or terms that you may have become more competitive for since launching.
Once you have made sure that your app can be found in searches, you need to make sure that users want to download it. Driving downloads is all about your app store page. Your app’s icon, screenshots and preview video need to illustrate the best features of your app to help drive adoption. You should do the following:
- Measure your current conversion rate to set the baseline.
- Analyze your competitor’s app store pages, and check out the latest trends in app store page designs. (Don’t forget to check our blog too 😉 ).
- Make a number of hypothesis about what your target audience is looking to find on the app store page.
- Make a number of variations with different app store page assets, including but not limited to, title, icon, screenshots, video, and more.
- Run A/B tests to discover which variations are increasing your conversion rate.
- Apply the winning variation from the A/B test to your app store page in iTunes or Google Play.
- Don’t just stop there, make these recurring procedures!
Ratings & Reviews
Gathering ratings and reviews from users is another form of app store SEO marketing that you can perform to drive app downloads. Consider (1) adding an in-app request for a rating from frequent users, and (2) request app reviews. These ratings are important for your app store conversions. Very low or a few perfect 5-star conversions tend to lower the conversion rate. Negative reviews? Don’t worry too much. Take those as a chance to improve your app! Turn confused users into evangelists after they see timely fixes or updates.
Tools and Tips: White Hat vs. Black Hat ASO
Above we have discussed white hat app store SEO marketing tactics that are within app store optimization guidelines. It is also important to understand the type of optimizations you should avoid. These optimizations are called black hat. While they may produce quick results, the risk of being penalized and removed from the app store outweighs the benefits. Black hat app store SEO marketing would hurt your rankings in the store, thus diminishing the true quality of the app in the app store.
Black hat app store SEO marketing tactics include:
- Fake reviews procured by review software.
- Gaming the paid app system by charging a high price, and buying your own app to push it into the top grossing apps category.
- Companies that guarantee a top 25 position via their optimization services.
- Companies that offer cheap app installs by incentivising users that are genuinely not interested in your app. Unfortunately, these users don’t become your active users. They might uninstall your app immediately, which in turn hurts your rankings too.
Measure and Analyse Optimization
Before launching your app, decide on the KPIs (key performance indicators) that you will use to measure success. Are you targeting a certain number of downloads? Revenue driven by the app? Repeat usage? The most important goal to any digital strategy is identifying a goal and then developing an approach that focuses on that goal.
App store optimization is a science. It involves experimentation, defined KPIs, ongoing adjustments and ongoing measurements. Applying a long-term strategy that centers on keywords and asset optimization with A/B testing is your best chance at success.
Kristina Altman is Head of Content at TestNest. She’s a marketing guru that thrives in a startup environment. After many years of working with smaller businesses, Kristina has learned to wear many hats—she’s a jack of all trades, a swiss army knife. She has a passion for blogging and loves any challenge. You can always connect with her on LinkedIn.