The prime goal of every developer lies in improving the app visibility in the App Stores. The number of apps registered on app stores is getting higher than ever. And, each of these apps aim to rank higher in the app store. You’d be aware that some apps get more visibility and downloads than the others. Why so? That may be because developers and the SEO professionals are using some algorithm to rank an application in the top searches. It is true that certain SEO (search engine optimization) practices are there to help your app rank higher. Besides SEO, the ASO (App Store Optimization) Practices are equally important to keep in mind while ranking applications higher in the app store.
Additionally, mobile web search has grown gradually in all these years besides the searches that are made over the web. In this write-up I am going to talk about all the important considerations that are important for app ranking. The post will also highlight the ways to track and optimize your SEO for mobile app and websites as well.
Prior to we move further, let’s have a quick look at the basics of SEO or Search Engine Optimization.
What is Search Engine Optimization?
Search engine optimization is the technical optimization of mobile and web pages including on page elements (such as content development, user-experience evaluation, and internal link optimization). It additionally includes improving the page’s visibility among the audiences. Primarily, SEO focuses on getting the organic traffic from natural or unpaid resources. The goal becomes easy to accomplish with the websites that have search-engine friendly architect.
How to Improve SEO for Apps
As we have already mentioned improving an app’s visibility is the ultimate aim of every developer, so it is important to follow the proven practices to improve the SEO for apps. The best news is that the ways are available to rank your app. From a number of practices available, I have compiled the most important ones. So, keep on reading to know the ways:
Bringing App Visibility With Single Snippet
Let’s pause for a minute to know the significance of single snippet in the SEO. Single Snippet is the most common result of an app search. The search result contains the name of the application, the rating for the app, and a small text fragment as the app description. It additionally shows the app install button as well and appears like this:
Basically, single snippet shows the result of a search.
Now, let’s move on to another exceptional element of app visibility which is:
The App Pack
App pack is the group of suggested apps that a user get after a specific search query. The result can have a number of applications as the search result. The apps that appear in the search are relevant to the keywords with which the search is made. App packs are generally featured at the top of the SERP (Search Engine Result Page); however, it can also appear in the middle of the page or at the end of the same.
The result will additionally show the app name, the app icon, its rating & the price of installation (if the app is not available for free). However, the results are also device-specific, so if a user is searching on Android device, the app packs will be shown directly from Google Play and if the search is made through an iPhone or an iPad – the apps will be displayed from the Apple App Store.
You will have a search result like this:
Such results are generally shown when the users make a query with the searches like “photography apps”, “games for kids”, and “sketch apps”. For marketers, optimizing for this kind of search is way different than what is done through the traditional SEO practices.
Compilation of Ranking Factors For SEO App Ranking
App store and Google Play use two different ranking methods when it comes to showcasing the search engine result page. And, that is how the keyword ranking of the app differs from Play Store if compared with the search result of an app over the web search. However, when it comes to utilizing the ASO or SEO optimization techniques, the factors appear to be somewhat similar. That concludes the result as: if an app is ranked higher on the app store, it will probably be ranked well on the web.
Ranking factors for SEO and ASO
- URL / Package ID
- App Name / Title
- Short and full descriptions
For the iOS apps, the description doesn’t impact ASO, but has an effect on SEO.
User reviews & ratings, installs volume and velocity, backlinks from authority websites.
Ranking the app over Google play store
Now let’s get on to the real thing:
Ranking your apps in the app listing on the app stores
There are a few basic practices that could help you rank your application in the app store. Well, you need to have a thorough knowledge of SEO and ASO practices. The basic knowledge of metadata is also important.
Here are the initial steps you must follow to rank your app over the web:
A thorough keyword research for both ASO & SEO
The best way to search the right keyword is to target on a keyword that has higher estimate traffic and lower competition among other searches. An application is searched with some of the core keywords along with a few ones that are not so much important in the search. With the well-proven keyword optimization techniques, you could also contribute towards higher app ranking. It is also important to find the right keyword (choose the ones that the users will pick while searching the app) for your app. The app name, title, and the rest of the description must have the ideal keyword compiled relevantly in the app explanation. There are specific keyword research tools such as SEMrush and Keywordtool.io that you can use for extensive keyword research.
Getting Positive Reviews & Ranking
When it is about ASO and SEO of your application, user reviews and ratings matter a lot. There are a number of reasons for that. First, Google ranks an application higher in the searches when it has positive reviews and ratings from the users. Secondly, Google search engine crawls user reviews to identify possible keywords. These specific words or the keywords offer extra weightage to the reviews and thus they are important to be included in the reviews that users post for you. Additionally, positive reviews convince new users to try the application. As more and more users will install your app, the conversion and download rates of the app will improve gradually.
Quality Backlink and Increasing the App Installs
In case your SEO practices are effective you are sure to have effective backlinks. With mobile web search, you could also promote an app store keyword or a download page. It is effective to add a link to your download page from the website in order to get different media channels to increase the visibility. The domain strength will also matter and in case your app has quality backlinks, Google will rank your app higher in the searches.
It is also suggested to include an additional link to the app store download page in the header of your mobile version of the website. Building a dedicated landing page is another way to promote mobile apps. Mention the features as well as the benefits that users will get by using your application. Try to entice the users with exceptional app benefits that no other app offers to the users.
Ways to Track SEO Performance
The SEO tracking activities for iOS developers are a bit different from those of Android professionals. Here is more on both the cases:
When it is about Android apps, there are three main tools that developers can use for tracking SEO performance, which includes Google Play Console + Google Search Console and ahrefs. You can add your app to Google Search Console through a screen that will appear as:
Select search analytics to view impression and click-through rate on the search result. The screen will appear as:
Through Google Play Console, opt for the following settings, User acquisition > Reports > Google Search (Organic) to get the keyword list that will help drive the installs with SEO as well as App Packs:
Now match keywords from Google Play Console and Search Console to drive the impressions, clicks as well as install data from SEO.
It is now time to monitor the backlink with ahrefs:
Being one of the prominent SEO tools, ahref helps to monitor backlinks not only for the website but also for the apps. Here are additional metrics to keep an eye on:
URL: The higher the Url, the more the app visibility
DR: Domain Rating (the more it is, the better ranking your app will have)
Referring Domains: It is the unique number of referring domain. The better it is, the greater visibility your app will have.
Organic keywords: Number of top 100 keywords ranking for the app. The more organic search, the better ranking your app will have.
It is not only about the visibility that your app would need to survive successfully in the game. Greater installs and additional revenue are the driving force behind the apps that also help it win the game against other applications. It is possible that your app gets discovered outside the app store and thus it is important to have your SEO in place.
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