Thank you. I’m going to focus on app store optimization, which is the organic counterpart to app advertising. This will be an introduction for those of you who are maybe not as familiar with it, but hopefully it has something for more advanced practitioners as well.
For those of you who don’t know what app store optimization is or why we should be talking about it now, let’s first tackle the why of app store optimization.
Most people find apps in an app store. Research from Forrester in April of this year confirms that. And much of that comes from the app store search engines. People also find apps using search engines outside of the app stores, so optimizing them to be found by search engines can both help in app store environments as well as in search engines.
But it’s difficult to drive downloads if you’re not optimized because, as we know from data released by Chomp before they were bought by Apple to power their app store search, 83% of searchers enter the function rather than the name of the app when searching.
And you can see that with the top keywords, that I found for an article I wrote in Search Engine Land. People search on things like…If you don’t include words like these in your app, in places where it matters, you are less likely to be found.
And if you do include those keywords, you’ll see results. This is an example of Norton appearing on the first page for competitive keywords simply by adding those keywords to their description. Now this practice is considered black hat now and I wouldn’t recommend it, but Norton is still appearing for these keywords even after they removed them from their description. App store optimization works.
And this is another case study from MobileDevHQ, who does a lot of testing in the app store optimization space. They found that…
And another reason you need to do app store optimization now is because it’s getting harder. As people who measure these kinds of things are finding, the app stores are becoming crowded with optimized apps, and there’s less of a benefit to doing some of this optimization today than there was a few months ago. Best to take advantage of these opportunities now while you can.
Now that we’ve talked about the why, let’s get into the how, and give you a basic process for app store optimization.
First, some of you may have heard of ASO, and heard that it was similar but different from SEO. From our perspective, ASO is a type of SEO…
And you can see when you get down to it that the aim is the same but the types of things you do in each bucket do differ…
First, we start with in-app optimization, which is optimizing the meta data in the app. This deals with the title, icon, screenshots, description and keywords, all of which can be optimized.
For the title, keywords and description it’s very important to mention not just your brand but the function of the app, as that’s how people are searching for it. You can use tools like Searchman, shown here, which has a keyword library that breaks down visibility for keywords in your app, for free.
You also need to pay attention to the icon and screenshots that you show to searchers, as a compelling one could be the difference between whether it’s downloaded or not. Give it to the designer rather than an intern and test different icons to see which one performs the best.
Since downloads matter to ranking, many people use app interstitials to give people the option to download their app from their web site, but you shouldn’t do this as Google has announced that they will lower the smartphone ranking of sites that do this. Use Smart Banners instead, as these are less interruptive and sanctioned by Google. For iOS it’s as simple as adding a few lines of code to the head of your page.
Since reviews matter to ranking, many sites use these prompts to help users rate the app. Here are a few examples. A good rule of thumb to follow is every 3 or 4 visits so that it doesn’t become annoying. I also like how apps like Houzz remind people that they would like 5 stars and give them incentive to rate the app (i.e. to keep it free). Much more incentive than the Ancestry app here, which tries to get the user to get them a promotion.
If you want to take a step up from app review prompts, check out Apptentive and similar app engagement products. Apptentive prompts people to rate the app, but it finds out if they’re going to give it a bad review first. If so, it gives them to customer service. If not, it gives them the rate screen.
People are looking for apps in search engines so you need to have a page on your site that addresses it. Here are a few good examples. You can mark up these pages with schema app markup, which could help them stand out in search results.
And once you have those pages you can use them to generate more referral traffic and link equity to your app through link building. This is a great site called mobile awesomeness that rates apps and links to them on other sites.
Stick with high quality sites that people actually visit. This is an example of a directory that fits that description: appolicious by Yahoo!, which ranks for best apps in Google.
This is really about organic promotion, but that’s a lot easier to do if you have budget for advertising the app, as this chart from Realtor.com shows. You can see the ranking of the app actually falls when the downloads and ratings decrease, which coincides with ending paid advertising for the app.
And the last part of app store optimization is reporting. Many analytics platforms have capabilities for mobile apps now, including Google Analytics and Adobe. If you have one of those platforms it’s best to use it. If you want a lot of detail you’re best upgrading to something like Flurry, which is extremely robust in terms of app-specific analytics.
Rankings can be found in a number of different tools, including SearchMan and MobileDevHQ. MobileDevHQ has something unique in Sonar, which is a general measure of app store rankings to help developers see if changes to their app rankings are part of a larger algorithmic update. For SEOs, it’s to app store search what Mozcast is to Google.
And by using this basic process with these tools you should start to see results from app store optimization!
Thanks. I hope this was interesting and educational. If you have any questions, you can contact me here, and I look forward to more discussion at the end of the presentations. Thanks!
App store optimization Internet Summit Meunier
App Store Optimization
Director, SEO Strategy
November 14, 2013
ASO IS SEO
Related to app store
Related to search
ASO IS SEO
• Link building
• App store
• Search engines
in metadata with
• All fields in
app owner and
IN-APP OPTIMIZATION: TITLE/KEYWORDS/DESCRIPTION
• Function keyword
in title still matters
• Understand how
IN-APP OPTIMIZATION: ICON/SCREENSHOTS
• Doorways to
• Test for highest
QUALITY AND SOCIAL SIGNALS
• Social and quality
signals more difficult
• Like with YouTube or
resources exist to
influence fields in
• Black hat methods
do more harm than
RATINGS AND REVIEWS