Many businesses today opt to invest in a high-quality website and an easy-to-use mobile app in a bid to increase their online presence. This means increasing discoverability and driving potential users across multiple platforms. The two most common levers used to increase and optimise organic growth are Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) on web pages and App Store Optimisation (ASO) on mobile apps. In fact, the two have enough similarities that they often get confused as one and the same. However, whilst ASO and SEO both incorporate long-term keyword optimisation and are both employed by marketers to increase visibility and ultimately hit KPI’s, the strategies used are significantly different.
Your Quick Guide to App Store Optimisation
With new apps being released every single day, you need to ensure that you are doing everything you can to stand out in the crowded marketplace. You may be well versed in the art of ASO – but here’s a quick breakdown of some key App Store Optimisation best practices that will in effect, lead to more app downloads.
App Store Optimisation is really focused on two things, increasing visibility – that’s improving your App Store ranking and your keyword rankings – and improving your conversion rates on organic downloads from impression to install. Additionally, it’s not just keywords and copy that have an impact on your ASO, creative does too!
First things first, you need to gather a strong keyword list for your app listing. It will take time to test out new keywords and to increase your ranking, but you can start by conducting keyword research to collate app store keywords that align with your app, your competitors’ apps and even pulling in keywords that have worked in your SEO strategy. You want to try to ensure that your keywords (which will contain both long-tail and short-tail keywords) start ranking in the top 50. If not, you can switch out some of the keywords for slightly less competitive ones.
Improving App Store Optimisation Copy
The copy that sits on your app page should be simple and informative. As well as highlighting your brand name alongside your app icon, you should aim to contain your relevant keywords and clearly explain, through a short description, the purpose of your app, any version updates, and any potential costs involved through in-app purchases (so the user doesn’t feel as though they’ve got an unwelcome surprise). Aim to incorporate some of the keywords from your keyword list into your app name, app description, subtitles, and copy. That’s not to say you should stuff all your keywords into one description! Be tactical and ensure you’re providing value to the user whilst incorporating all the core keywords.
Provided you are satisfying search queries with an accurate app description that includes clear, applied call-to-actions, you will significantly increase your click-through rates and consequently, your app downloads.
Getting Creative with your App Store Screenshots and Video
We’ve always been taught that first impressions matter. That’s why it is important that your Apple and Android apps draw users in from the offset, even when you’re at the pre-launch stage, with good creative. Not all users will read through your long description, so you need to make sure that your app name, your icon and in-app screenshots give a clear enough depiction of the purpose of your app.
Top ASO tip: using flowing in-app screenshots with clear text will encourage users to continue scrolling through your full set of screenshots and help them see the full value of your app!
Search Engine Optimisation At a Glance
Much like the process of app marketing through ASO, SEO enables your business to increase its visibility online, but on search engine result pages (SERPs) as opposed to app search results such as the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store. Employing on-page and off-page SEO techniques and best practices will not only improve the quantity of inbound traffic that you receive from web search, but also the quality of each of your inbound leads. Additionally, SEO is similar to ASO in that far from being a one-time practice, it is an ongoing procedure that needs enhancing over time, and requires additions after content has been created, such as checking internal links and backlinks, updating metadata including meta titles and meta descriptions and much more.
Satisfying Search Intent
To make sure that you are providing the right answers to your target audience’s search queries, you need to understand two key factors: your enquirer’s search intent, and how to create, adapt and deliver your content using the right keywords and with SEO-friendliness and optimisation in mind so that it can be found and understood by search engine algorithms.
By crawling and indexing all available content from the furthest corners of the internet, search engines do the duty of matching the user’s search intent to the best search results that fulfil their request. The accuracy of the match, along with a variety of other ranking factors, will determine an organisation’s position on the SERP.
Additionally, many businesses benefit from capturing users who are doing research on google around their product or service offering. These businesses either have a web offering in conjunction with their app or they utilise landing pages to drive traction to their app, and in both cases SEO is important.
Optimising Your Content
In this regard, SEO feeds directly into the content that you are creating. You may be publishing quality content on a consistent basis, but what good is this content if it is not seen by the right people? Without implementing SEO tactics such as ensuring that your site indexation is mobile-first, identifying opportunities to rank for terms you discovered during your keyword research, including internal and outbound links and using appropriate HTML tags, you miss opportunities for exposure and risk having your content become lost in the sea of content that gets uploaded to the internet every day, however engaging it may be.
By ensuring that your website is curated in a way that is easily understandable by humans and meets the ranking factors of search engine algorithms, you will be rewarded by having your content placed in front of the right eyes at exactly the right time.
Optimising content can also be a great way to nurture and educate audiences regarding your product and features. Creating viral content is a great way to push users to the app store and encourage organic discoverability, providing you with an additional acquisition channel.
Prioritising User Experience
As your visitors are not just looking for answers when visiting your site, but a seamless UX also, search engine algorithms are also increasingly prioritising user-centric experiences as a means of ranking websites in search results. Fast load times, optimised images, and site mobile responsiveness each have a huge impact on the amount of time users spend interacting with your site, and will directly affect your SEO effectiveness.
Considering that the majority of online traffic is driven by search engines, organic search is one of the most valuable channels available to marketers today.
The Relationship between ASO and SEO
By now, you may have noticed the striking similarities between SEO and ASO – they both aim to increase visibility and drive new users – but once actioned they tend to have different results.
There are some benefits to incorporating ASO and SEO in tandem into your marketing strategy. For instance, your app has a public URL that is automatically hosted by either the Apple App Store or Google Play – so by working on your ASO you are actually improving your SEO at the same time.
You can also use learnings gathered from SEO and incorporate them into your app marketing and ASO strategy, particularly when it comes to building out a keyword bank. This can be a great place to start when determining which keywords would be the most strategic in your app store listings.
However, not everything translates from your ASO strategy to that of your SEO and vice versa. One of the most notable differences is that whilst SEO is independent from any paid advertising, ASO can be significantly impacted by paid ads. The higher your advertising spend, the more users you are bringing into your app store listings and the higher your app will rank as a result. The same way, ASO has an impact on your paid advertising, as the clearer and more engaging your app store listings are, the higher your conversion rate from impression to install will be, and the lower your overall CPI will be.
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