Though app download rates have been increasing, the playing field throughout the app stores has also become far more crowded. A focus on App Store Optimization (ASO) is essential to ensure your offering does not get lost in a sea of apps. In many ways, ASO is incredibly similar to traditional SEO. However, on-page optimization for the internal App Store or Google Play search engine is far less complex than traditional SEO.
Just like with traditional SEO, one of the initial and foundational steps to ASO is keyword research. Much of the process and tools used for App Store keyword research aligns closely with that done for traditional SEO. A deviation would be taking into account App Store and Google Play autocomplete suggestions in the same way you might use Google autocomplete or “People also search for” suggestions.
Google Play Console now shows data surrounding installs by keyword, which is a highly valuable incorporation into your App keyword research process.
There some differences in keyword incorporation between App Store and Google Play.
Incorporating your keywords into the Title and Subtitle are incredibly important for App Store SEO. The Title and Subtitle can both be a maximum of 30 characters. The Keyword Field allows you to add additional keywords in the backend without having to worry about the user seeing them. Remember to avoid including keywords you’ve already incorporated into the Title and Subtitle.
Promotion text and the app description are both valuable for ASO, however, they don’t impact rankings in search. There should be a strong focus on CRO with these elements rather than keyword optimization.
For Google Play, the keyword(s) should be included in the Title, which is allotted a maximum of 50 characters. In addition, unlike the App Store, Google Play’s description factors in search ranking and should be keyword optimized.
Installs and Ratings
There is less direct control in these search ranking factors than in on-page keyword incorporation and CRO. However, these engagement signals strongly influence ranking for both App Store and Google Play.
For ratings, one tactic is asking for a review when it’s more likely a user is satisfied with the app. Actively responding to reviews and quickly addressing bugs, which are causing dissatisfied users are tactics for preventing future poor ratings and reviews. In addition to addressing issues quickly, provide alternative methods of contact for unhappy customers to provide feedback rather than leaving them to write a public review that could be detrimental to rankings and conversions.
Optimization Outside of the App Store
Having a dedicated landing page for your app could improve discovery through Google Organic search and other channels. Since App Store and Google Play character limits don’t give copious amounts of space, a dedicated page on your site offers opportunity to provide more in-depth information and convincing copy about your app.
Aside from typical on-page optimizations, adding MobileApplication Schema and potentially Android App Links or iOS Universal Links to direct users to specific content inside of your apps is recommended.
Competing in a Crowded Space
App downloads are projected to more than double by 2021. In 2017, there were 2.2 million apps available in the App Store and 3 Million in Google Play and these numbers just keep growing. Staying on top of App Store Optimization is now more crucial than ever. Contact Anvil if you need help with your organic App Optimization Strategy or App landing page!