Apps used to be reserved for only big-name businesses. With the accessibility and ease of creating your own app, however, more and more businesses are creating apps to deliver valuable content and top-notch service to their customers.
In fact, having an app is not only possible but expected. Over half a million millennial-owned small businesses have their own mobile app. Unfortunately, growth is still stagnant for small businesses. It’s one thing to create your own app, and another to promote it successfully.
In the mobile app environment, many small business apps are competing for attention from customers. You need to have a robust app promotion plan in place that utilizes both SEO and ASO best practices to stand out.
Why Combine SEO and ASO?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is about optimizing your site and content for search engine rankings, while mobile app store optimization (ASO) is about optimizing your app specifically for the app store. These are two different goals, but brought together, they give your app the best chance of standing out.
Many apps are still discovered through Google, so it’s vital to follow the best practices for Google SEO. Otherwise, your rankings, traffic, and visibility may suffer. As a result, you may miss out on promoting your app to your target audience.
Now, app stores also require well-done optimization to make sure your app shows up when a user searches for it. Think of the app store as a limited, closed search engine. So, ASO is similar to SEO in that you’re trying to get your app the best ranking and visibility for user searches.
As more and more customers use mobile along with desktop, web marketing and app marketing must be combined.
SEO as a Foundation for ASO
SEO and ASO shouldn’t be thought of as separate or conflicting strategies. Organic SEO is still vital to online presence and visibility, as well as for your ASO. Plenty of SEO techniques have a direct benefit for your ASO, such as:
- Keyword research and targeting: Keyword targeting is important for your SEO. You can perform keyword research through Google or SEMrush to find the best keywords for your app’s audience. If you need help, many tools are available to audit your site for SEO, or you can hire an SEO consultant.
- App name, title, and URL optimization: Once you have your keywords, it’s important to include the most relevant keywords as much as possible. For example, we include “DMV practice test by Zutobi” in our app name, description, and URL.
- App ratings and reviews: Ratings help users decide which apps to download. You can use push notifications, email outreach, and in-app popups to request or remind users to review your app. As ratings add up, your SEO will likely improve.
- Deep linking for your app: Deep linking is using a hyperlink that connects to indexed content. In the case of your app, your deep link should send users directly to an app, rather than a website or store. This not only saves users time and effort, but it improves the overall user experience.
- App indexing: App indexing allows your app to open links from Google mobile search directly in your app. Then, if a user clicks on a link in a search, which would be a teenager looking for a DMV practice test in our case, it will open directly in the app instead of the desktop.
- Click-through rate optimization: The click-through rate is the percentage of people that click an element of your site. This is calculated by dividing the number of people who click on an element by the total number of visitors to your page. The click-through rate is a valuable metric to evaluate the performance of an ad, hyperlink, or call-to-action.
- Link building: Linked building is designed to increase the number and quality of inbound links to a website with the goal of improving SEO. The more links from external sources that connect to you, the better you’re likely to rank for different keywords. It signals to Google that you have a quality resource. Organic link building requires patience, but it’s worth it for the benefits when you have high organic search rankings.
Unfortunately, many business owners get so invested in their app development and ranking that they forget about building a quality, responsive website for SEO. Your website is a valuable tool in directing users to your app and getting the user to download it, so it’s important to keep the information as informative as possible and offer guidance to get them to the app itself.
Websites also give you a chance to position your business as a reliable, trusted source of information about a topic. Blogs with valuable, engaging content boost awareness for not only your business, but your app. For example, Zutobi caters to new drivers and offers driving guides, online permit tests for CDL, and drivers education in most states to help drivers prepare as much as possible. We have published a lot of supplemental content, guides, and tests so that we can continue to serve our user expectations. It’s all about being a one-stop-shop for your visitor’s needs.
Though a quality website can drive traffic to your app, many users find the apps they need directly from the app store. If you’re not boosting your ASO along with your SEO, you could miss out on excellent promotion.
The main mobile app stores are the iPhone/iPad, Android, and Windows Phone. The ultimate conversion goal of ASO is most always app downloads, but you may also want to:
- Increase brand exposure
- Generate positive app reviews and ratings
- Encourage frequent and increased volumes of app reviews
- Engage the audience
- Diversify marketing channels
Even if you’re new to ASO, it’s similar to other types of online marketing and has overlaps with traditional SEO. App stores are a closed search engine and rely on easy content discovery, indexation, and app ranking algorithms that consider brand scale, freshness, perceived app quality, and user value signals like engagement and ratings.
How to Optimize for the App Store
App store features may vary, but these are the key components of optimization:
App Name, Subtitle, and URL
As discussed in the SEO section, the app name, subtitle, and URL should include as many high-value keywords as possible. You could also use your names to send perceived value signals and reinforce why your app is different than competitors.
Many app stores have character restrictions, so it can be challenging to come up with the right name with the given length. That said, avoid using low-quality spam tactics like keyword stuffing, which is when you cram as many keywords as possible into a title. The end result is an app title that doesn’t make sense and potentially penalizes your ranking.
App Keyword Fields
App keyword fields are incredibly valuable – if you get them right. Traditional keyword research should give you clues into the best keywords to include in your keyword field to target common search queries.
When you optimize your app for keywords, be sure to write your title and descriptions for the target audience beforehand. This should entice users to download your app. The more people download your app, the better your app will perform for in-store rankings. Over time, you should review and refine your keyword field to improve your ranking.
Long titles are usually cut off in the results page, potentially leaving your users confused about what the app is for. Meta titles should be short and memorable, telling the user what the app is designed to do. If possible, include high-value keywords in the title. These apps tend to rank higher than apps with lower-value keywords or no keywords at all.
The meta description gives you an opportunity to say what your app is intended to do and include more keywords to target your ideal audience. Your meta description should be simple, but inspiring. If possible, include high-value keywords to improve search rankings.
App Ratings and Reviews
As discussed in the SEO section, app ratings and reviews give potential users confidence to download your app and boost your brand’s credibility.
You’ll need a framework in place to generate reviews and reply to reviews. Your team can provide valuable responses to app reviews and gather positive volumes of app reviews. You could also remind your current users to rate your app through pop-ups and email reminders.
As expected, the more your app is downloaded, the higher the demand and user value. Higher volumes of downloads will support the organic ranking by showing that users are searching for and downloading your app.
To support this, integrate your marketing channels outside of the app store to drive traffic to the app and maximize its performance. The more you integrate your marketing channels the more you can impact the traffic that ultimately goes to the app.
Screenshots and Preview Videos
Users want to know what they’re getting into. Screenshots and preview videos highlight the type of interface and content your users may experience if they download the app. Your screenshots and video previews should include the most common tasks the apps satisfy for users.
For example, the Zutobi app shows examples of some of the practice questions, so users can see what they’ll learn if they download it.
App Icon Optimization
Both Google Play and the App Store have different standards for the app icon’s size, color, and shape. Android icons are required to be 512×512 pixels, while iOS icons are required to be at least 1024×1024 pixels. The app icon is your app’s first impression, so don’t neglect this part of the design process.
Your design should communicate what your app is for. Once downloaded, your app will be identified by its icon, so having a striking, memorable icon also helps with the engagement and open rate as well.
Another vital component of ASO is continuous updating. The highest-ranking apps are the ones that perform the best, whether it’s with better technology, improved features, or new user feedback. Updating your app regularly not only impacts your brand image and trust, but keeps your app showing up high on the rankings.
JotURL Deep Linking Features
Another solution that might interest you is the Deferred Deep Link, a technology that can help you redirect your users within your App or your App Store all from a simple link.
JotURL as a solution to improve your ASO
JotURL is an excellent choice to improve the App Store Optimization because of the tools designed to make the use of different applications via mobile more smooth. URL links, in fact, do not just keep track of or analyze data, nor just shorten or brand your URLs – they also have a very advanced Deep Linking system which is also well accomplished for the ASO.
Deep Linking is a technology that facilitates the transition from one App to another and that allows links to correctly redirect users within specific app contents, without the user landing on browser pages. All this takes place through a configuration platform that allows you to decide the final destination of the user.
The most interesting part of this technology (deferred deep linking) is that it has the ability to recognize or not the presence of an Application within a device. If the user owns the application, the link will redirect the person directly to the landing within the app – whether this is a third-party app (such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, etc.) or personalized and private apps. If the reference app of your deep link is not present on the device, you can redirect users directly to the App Store and then suggest downloading your App or learning about it.
This whole process may seem very complex, but in reality, it is all really simple. Each step is conveyed through a simple link to which the Deep Linking function is associated, so applying it becomes truly trivial. All you do is simply create a deep link and share it on any desired platform, the beauty of the links is that they can be placed almost anywhere (in emails, SMS, social media posts, etc.)
The more widespread your link, the more possibilities to redirect your users within your app, or directly to your application page in the App Store. Logically this entails a whole series of benefits and advantages that can also be estimated with an increase in the time spent in the app, the download rate of your app, and more conversions (up to 65% more).
If you are looking for a way to improve your ASO and to make your apps reachable even in an omnichannel context, then this tool could prove to be very beneficial for you.
Are you interested? Take a look at this page.
ASO Bonus Tips
Here are a few more tactics you can use to boost your app’s ASO:
- App stores use keyword triggers in the name, title, description, and relevant fields. Be sure to invest the time into getting the best keywords to use. Over time, you should revisit the keyword research and determine the best keywords for better optimization opportunities.
- App store product page presentation can have a massive impact on users and perceive value. Product pages should have conversion rate optimization, which is a type of optimization designed to increase conversions. Evaluating the look and presentation of your app product page should be an ongoing focus with your ASO efforts.
- A/B testing is a great way to see what’s working, and what isn’t. You can A/B test your app name and store fields to see what drives the most traffic and conversions. This testing can be time-consuming, but it’s worth the validation that what you’re doing is working and critical for getting every bit of value out of your optimization efforts.
- Consider Apple’s Spotlight Search feature, which allows users to search the apps they have installed on their phone. When users are aware of the app on their phone, they’re more likely to engage with it often and potential rate or recommend it to others.
Ready to Get Started?
App optimization is challenging, but the results are worth the effort. Apps carry a lot of value in the marketing mix and contribute to user experience and satisfaction, but only if they can find your app.
Fortunately, these techniques and tips should help you get your apps discovered, drive more traffic to your apps in the app store, and encourage more downloads and engagement. Once your app reaches optimal visibility, don’t forget to continually test, refresh, and refine your efforts to keep your app performing its best.
Author: Tim Waldenback
Tim Waldenback is the co-founder of Zutobi Drivers Ed, a gamified e-learning platform focused on online drivers education to help teens get their license. Tim founded Zutobi to make world-class driver’s education fun, affordable, and easily accessible for all.