What To Know About Mobile App Store SEO

App Store SEO: App for that

The app environment is growing at a very fast pace. The massive movement from desktop to mobile applications is taking place much faster than most people anticipated. The times are certainly a-changing as far as mobiles go and consumers fully focus on these handheld gadgets. Thus, digital marketers today have to reach out to the places where consumers are – on their mobile devices like tablets, Smartphones and via app stores.

The app ecosystem is still in its infancy, but it’s growing so fast and each new announcement results in huge changes in the marketing process of apps. Which brings us to the question, how do you get more downloads for your apps? Through App Store Optimization (ASO), the procedure that helps to improve a mobile app’s visibility in an app store. The aim of ASO, which is related to SEO (Search Engine Optimization), is to rank high in the search engine results of an app store and top the ranking charts. If done properly, this process will get you more app downloads. So what does this ASO constitute? In this post I’ll explain what it takes for a good ASO procedure and also SEO for an app store.

How to Find Apps

There are no definite means to find out specifically from where your apps are being downloaded. Information from owners of platforms like Google, Apple and others are a good way to learn what the most popular app downloading channels are. Marketers also depend on fellow marketers for such information. Two major studies by research companies Forrester and Nielsen have thrown valuable light on this subject. The studies state that the biggest download drivers are inbound, organic channels in the app store. Both studies state that app store search is the largest channel accounting for 61% of consumers who find apps via app store search. Organic app store search is just one element of Inbound App Marketing; there are many other components like social, search, web-to-app, Top Charts and more.

What is App SEO?

For a website SEO is on-page as well as off-page. For apps it is on-metadata/off-metadata ASO. The former comprises factors which are fully under your control; they are the stuff that deals with your app store. Off-metadata ASO too has elements that are in your control – but you can influence them still. Let’s take a look at the elements that marketers have to take into consideration to improve search and how they can be optimized.

Elements of on-metadata Title of App

The one most essential metadata factor that affects ASO ranks is the app’s title. It’s like your HTML <title> tag and is a terrific indication to the app stores describing what your app is really all about. Just as on your web, your app store title must describe what you do and a bit of branding. Ensure that the analysis of the symbols is proper and logical. Don’t include spam words, but don’t forget the keywords.

Break Description: It’s a good idea to split the description above and below the fold. On top should go a couple of sentences that describe the app and its main use; place below the fold a clear feature set besides social evidence.

Tips on Keyword Field: There is a 100 character limit in the iOS Keyword Field. These enable you to tell iTunes Search what keywords you must use. Because of the character limitation, concentrate on relevant keywords, volume of search and difficulty. Use single word phrases and refrain from repeating keywords that are present in your title. Avoid using spaces everywhere and use commas to break up the keywords.

Selection of Appropriate Category: The category that you select to submit your app can be quite tactical. In many cases your app may fit into several categories and as a marketer you will have to choose a category in which the competition is the least with regard to the app itself as well as keyword search ranking. Don’t commit a mistake when selecting a category for your app. If it’s a game app then it must be submitted to a game category and not a comic or music one.

Icon: They say the customer is always right, but he is also very fussy. Consumers seek apps that they can easily understand and also be attractive. So ensure that your icon, which consumers first interact with to get to your app, sends out a clear message about your app’s utility, brand value and attractiveness. Don’t forget, an icon is one way to display your app’s utility and brand in the search results.

Screenshots: Your screenshots must be promotional graphics, not simply screenshots. So you can add other graphics or text to tell the story of your app in a visual, gripping manner. You can use these graphics in a flowing way so that the user will keep on scrolling in order to know more and more about your app.

Elements of Off-Metadata

Though they are not directly in your control, there are some elements you can focus on to get the best ASO effort.

Ratings and Reviews: A marketer must ensure that the app gets the finest rating possible. A great show in app store search will ensure a good rating and this fact probably makes rating a factor in rankings of app store search. In the same manner, you need to get good reviews. What your users write about your app must be positive. This will raise your downloads rate.

Link Building: Like website SEO, ASO too needs link-building. Build links to your app’s page in the store; it really matters for Google Play apps. Being well-versed in SEO, marketers should know all about this process. Marketers must link the app store page to the website’s app page and give back that link from the site to the app store page. This will convince users that what they’ve found is the authentic brand’s app and not something bogus.

Top Charts: Top Charts are quite different from app store, search and can be a great driver of downloads, particularly if your app falls into the general category. It’s an art as well as a science to manage your Top Charts place; it may even require a whole string of blog posts. One of Top Charts’ most noteworthy aspects is the ability to use paid marketing for inbound marketing, basically by buying yourself into the Top Charts.

How to Target Local Users

To increase the reach of their apps and therefore revenue, developers must target local or native customers. Apple has thus offered precise ways by which developers can go international and localize in a procedure that’s called localization. But when you invest in such localization learn the market carefully for you have to know what’s popular in a certain country and what’s not. For instance, music apps may be more popular in a certain country compared to another that has a large potential market where the people prefer music apps. You also have to calculate if it would be profitable to undertake such localization. Studies however shown that it’s a good way to increase earnings and enlarge your app installs.

Optimizing Mobile App Pages

Great cross-linking between the app store and the site will not only enhance the app’s SEO, it will also restore customers’ confidence that the app comes from their trustworthy brand and is not a fake. Marketers can even use the Software Application micromata to tempt more searchers to click through from search engines to their mobile apps.

Your app’s quality, installation and removal all counts towards rankings. To get the best results make sure that your app is easy to handle and error free. Your app must be fast enough for everyone today wants quick-functioning applications. Remember, the search engine indexes, displays and then ranks app pages. Add customer reviews and instructional videos to make your app more presentable. Descriptions ranging from 4000 to 7000 words are considered best for app optimization. All your downloading pages must have QR code to enable visitors to access the app using any device easily. Make sure that your app is not heavy. Lessen the weight of the file for small size apps are great for all types of devices. Give an online assistance URL in your app so that it’s user-friendly. Two weeks before its release date your app must be submitted in both Google Play Store and iTunes. Your app download link and app download page link has to include your brand name. This will give a boost to the popularity of your brand along with your app.

How to Promote Your App to Increase Downloads

Promoting and marketing apps is almost the same as marketing other web elements. But developers have to use Google’s power if they want to push up downloads of their apps. For this, adopt the basic rules of optimization. Firstly, your site must be simplistic and minimal. Have a blog and landing pages. Your URLs must be search friendly and social media buttons will get you precious social signals. When you link out from your most valuable web pages to your app download page use anchor text like ‘App Name+Brand Name’ and not “Download our….’ for these generic links will not be useful for your SEO effort.

Social media is a must-use tool for marketing. So you must use at least the top four to market your app – Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn. Write engaging and striking content on these networking sites and provide a backlink to your site. Do networking with other online communities and blogs and app review sites. Then you’ll generate coverage as well as promotion and also helpful feedback telling you how you can improve your app. Use video-sharing sites like Vimeo and YouTube. You must create videos that are app-based and share on YouTube in a scientific manner.

Tools to Help

  • App Store Optimization Keyword Volume Estimator. With this tool developers can get to know their present ranking and how frequently a certain term is getting searched in the app store. This tool will tell you the most useful keywords you should use when you enter the URL of your app.
  • AppCod.es. You can use this tool to find out the keywords that are being used by apps of your rivals. It will also help you to determine what keywords are best for you.
  • Flurry. This popular tool helps developers to track patterns of usage of the people who have downloaded the app. Flurry allows you to evaluate your audience and, on the basis of this analysis, alter your marketing strategies.
  • MobileAppTracking. This tool helps you get a bit of attribution for your paid ad campaign. With it, you can know from which paid channels you are getting the best returns, based on the metrics that you select. The best part is that you pay only for what you use.
  • Appentive: This is a great tool to get feedback from customers as well as the best way to impact your reviews and ratings.

Summing Up

I’ve detailed some of the finest SEO strategies for mobile and other apps. They are the most powerful of the lot and will help increase your ranking opportunities as far as apps are concerned. Use these strategies to accomplish what you have set out to get: link networks, site traffic, page content and social popularity are a few of the gains of SEO. Apart from the benefits, they will help you get raise your brand and app’s popularity. But, unlike web marketing, it’s tough to calculate app marketing success, particularly when you work with inbound channels. It’s early days but things are getting better. As more services and tools come into the market, marketers will get a better chance to know what success in ASO really is.

Alan Smith

Alan Smith is an avid tech blogger with vast experience in various IT domains, currently associated with SPINX Inc., a Los Angeles based Web Design & development company. You can follow Alan on Twitter.


  1. Hello Mr. Alan Smith, this is a really nice and a timely solution to my current requirement. I got a freelance project for a local restaurant’s app which I need to optimize for local market and communities.
    These tips are good for my knowledge and learning as this is a new scope for me to work on app optimization after being trained on SEO.
    Points noted and link bookmarked for future read.


  2. Sandy

    Such a great piece of content.

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