As more and more apps are crowding app stores, users are resorting to the age old method of web searches to look for new apps. For any app to enjoy increased visibility and reach the right audience, it hence becomes essential to employ SEO as one of the practices. This calls for a growing need for mobile app publishers to optimize their apps and rank high on relevant searches.
The mobile search has now become a growing priority for app developers and Google has now started differentiating between mobile web search and traditional web searches. It has tweaked its search algorithm in favor of more filtered results by adding an option for an “app” in the search tabs for mobile devices followed by introducing device-specific App Packs into mobile SERP.
What are App Packs?
When a user makes a query for an app, Google in turn suggests a group of apps based on search. This is called as App Pack. Usually featured at the top of SERP, there can be a number of apps in an App Pack. Formed of app cards, each app card is like a mini single snippet with app name, app icon, rating and price.
Optimizing for app packs is hence essential as here the user gets multiple options which can result into choosing another app than yours. More unique keywords can lead to narrowed options and more chances of conversion.
Factors that affect ranking:
The ranking logic on Mobile SERPs is different than on app stores. However there are certain similarities in optimization techniques that work well on both.
On-page factors: URL, App name/description/meta data.
Off-page factors: Reviews & ratings, installs volume, backlinks.
Here are some of the key steps that have proved to be most effective for improving app visibility and driving more organic downloads:
Use keywords in title, subtitle and app description
Be it for App Search Optimization (ASO) or Search Engine Optimization (SEO), the right keywords do the trick. Keywords that you select should have the highest estimated traffic and lowest competition. Keywords should always appear on the landing pages, app titles, app description and metadata. Both platforms Google and Apple give higher priority to apps names with keywords. If an app name contains the search input, such apps are considered as more relevant by both the platforms.
Use your most important keywords up to 5 times in your app description fields, and you are giving a signal to the Google Play algorithm that your app is most relevant to those keywords.
Get positive ratings and reviews for your app
Google loves reviews and hence the apps with highest positive reviews is always the winner. The higher the rating of an app, the better will be its visibility. Be it for Google Play or App Store, reviews act like containers for keywords and Google search engines crawl user reviews to identify possible keywords. Moreover, reading positive reviews will also convince your users to go for the app as it will boost the trust factor.
Get quality backlinks and increase installs
Quality backlinks is the key to having effective SEO. Make sure to include download link on your website and get more media people talking about your app. It not just helps build domain strength but the more quality backlinks your app has, the better will be the ranking. Building a dedicated landing page to promote your mobile apps or adding a link to your app store download page in the header section of the mobile version of your website is a proven method to boost app downloads.
Tracking SEO Performance
Having all said and done, now comes the tricky part- tracking the SEO performance. SEO performance monitoring is as essential as its implementation. SEO experts are well versed with App Analytics and making the best use of SEO reports. What makes a difference is continuous performance monitoring and tweaking as and when required.
Studies reveal that nearly one-third of the apps are found through web searches outside the app store. App developers can’t depend on just app store search results but have to deep dive in SEO also for increasing installs.