As a developer, your main goal should be to get your app into the hands of as many users as possible. To do this, your app needs to be visible. Your potential customers need to be able to find it when they search for keywords within your niche.
However, this is not always the case. There are millions of apps in the app stores today, and more keep being added every day. This means it is harder and harder for your work to get noticed. Your app will definitely get buried under an avalanche of similar apps if it does not stand out. Furthermore, appearing in the search results within the app store is no longer enough. Studies show that over a third of mobile phone users use search engines to search for new apps for their devices. This means that traditional web searches are playing a bigger and bigger role in aiding the discovery of new apps. By not taking advantage of this, you lose access to over a third of your potential client base. This is a loss that new apps cannot afford if they want to be successful.
So what do you need to do if you want users to find your app in the app stores? The answer is simple: SEO.
Search Engine Optimization is essentially a free tool that app developers can take advantage of in their app design process and take their apps to the next level. SEO can help you get organically discovered by your customers. Although most people understand the importance of SEO for website optimization, only a handful of people know how vital it is for apps.
SEO for apps is a little different than mainstream website SEO. SEO for apps needs to take into account mobile SEO as well as app store optimization (ASO).
What Is Mobile SEO?
Mobile SEO is SEO that is specifically tailored for mobile phones. Since most apps are designed to be used on phones and tablets, mobile SEO cannot be ignored. As of 2015, apps matching a user’s criteria appear as organic links when they perform mobile searches. This makes it possible for new apps to be discovered organically through the use of search engines. This is the role that SEO for apps plays.
What Is App Store Optimization?
App Store Optimization is what affects the ranking of your app in the app store. It works hand in hand with mobile SEO to affect the ranking of your app in search engine results.
There are several ranking factors that affect the visibility of your app. These factors can be grouped into two: on-page factors and off-page factors. On-page factors are determined by app design itself, such as URL, App Name, and metadata such as keywords and descriptions. Off-page factors include ratings, number of installs, reviews and backlinks.
Tips for a better SEO for Apps
There are several ways to increase your visibility by carrying out SEO for Apps. Here is a simple step by step to this goal:
- Keyword research
You need to do a thorough keyword research for both ASO and SEO. This step comes before everything else because it is essential if you are preparing for success. Select the relevant keywords based on the highest estimated traffic and the lowest competition. Use these keywords in your app’s description and titles.
- Reviews and ratings
Good reviews and better ratings mean a higher ranking. If your app has better reviews and a higher rating, it will rank higher than an app that does not. Furthermore, Google crawls user reviews for keywords, and this pushes your ranking even higher. Plus, good reviews and ratings translate to more organic downloads.
- Backlinks and Installs
Backlinks are vital for SEO. Get good backlinks by spreading the word far and wide about your app. A good place to start is to add a download link to your website that links back to your app listing. Then, get your apps linked to in as many reputable websites as possible, such as media houses and blogs. Also, make sure your app has a dedicated website. This way, you will get more installs, higher ratings and a better ranking.
- Track and reevaluate
Track your SEO performance continuously. This is the key to success. Always looking out for what works for you and implementing the lessons you learn from what doesn’t, this is how your app will achieve success. SEO is a continuous process, it never ends.
If you want to track the performance of your app, there are several tools available to help you do so. For Android developers, the best tool is the Google Search Console. Through it, you can add your app and view its analytic data You can combine it with your Google Play console to see the highest ranking keywords. Using this information in your app will improve its ranking. iOS developers also need to take advantage of the analytic tools available to them. The most common option is the App Analytics that is available through iTunes Connect. It is an effective tool, even though it has its own limitations.
Another useful tool is Ahrefs. Originally designed for websites, it can now be adopted and used to track the performance of both iOS and Android apps. Through it, you can see all the relevant URL, Domain rating, referring domain and organic keyword data.
If you want your app to really stand out, use there are a few tips that not everyone uses but everyone should definitely know about:
- Strong copy
Make your app description brief, illustrative, and to the point. Your users need to know why they need that app as soon as possible. Compel them by getting to the benefits quickly, and encourage them to download and engage.
Create stunning app screenshots to entice your audience. Your images should communicate to your users what your app can do. Take them through your apps main features, and make them see how easy it is to use it. Encourage them to download.
Use your keywords as your tags. Keywords help you pop us in searches, so be relevant and diverse enough to reach a broader audience. What words describe your app? What would potential users be looking for in order to find your app?
- A high rank is more than just downloads
High-quality engagement is more important than the number of downloads you have. Your users need to be able to do more with your app after they download it. To improve your search ranking with Google’s algorithms, your marketing activities must prompt customers through the process of downloading and then successfully move them through to engaging with your app.
If the goal is engagement, all of your copy and imagery needs to be critically analyzed with these questions in mind:
- Would users want to download?
- Would users find it easy to download?
- Does this compel the users to use the app beyond download?
Good visibility is essential for your app’s survival. It can make or break an app, especially if it is a new entrant into the app market. This makes SEO for apps an essential part of the development process at an app development company. Your app could be the best app at what it does, but as long as no one knows about it it will have failed. This is why it is essential to get the word about your app out there. Today, it is not enough to just rank highly in app stores. You need to take advantage of SEO to rank highly in mobile web searches too because there’s a whole 30% of mobile users to reach. This is the only way you can get to 100% of your potential userbase.