With consumers spending increasing amounts of time in front of mobile devices, it’s more important than ever to ensure your mobile business app is easy to find. The amount of time that consumers spend using mobile apps has increased by up to 69 percent in recent years, landing at 5 hours per day on tablets and smartphones in 2017. That increase comes alongside a decrease in web browser traffic.

What does that mean? If you’re using web browser or web search SEO tactics to market your app, chances are that it’s getting lost. Your consumers aren’t searching Google on their desktop to find your app, they’re using the App Store or Play Store. If you want your business app to compete, it’s vital that you take an app-specific approach to SEO.

Know How Mobile App Rankings Work

Before you can rank, you need to understand how app rankings work with the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Each of these app stores has over 1 million apps each, with an astonishing 66% sitting at zero ratings. So how do you help your app rise above the rest?

Both Apple and Google tend to be tight-lipped about their ranking algorithms, but Moz has determined that both app stores take into account the following:

Keyword density on the landing page
● Daily download and installation growth trends
● App usage, including retention, engagement, and churn/uninstall rates
● Growth and volume of ratings
● Average rating

That information narrows your focus and gives you some specific metrics to work on. So what’s next?

On-Metadata vs. Off-Metadata ASO

All of your target metrics fall into two categories: on-metadata and off-metadata ASO, or app store optimization. On-metadata includes the factors that you can control, such as keyword density on your landing page. Off-metadata includes factors that are often out of control or at least aren’t directly within your control, such as app usage and ratings.

Tackle On-Metadata ASO

Because on-metadata is entirely within your control, it’s your first stop when it comes to optimizing your mobile SEO strategy. Here’s where you should focus your energy, in this order:

App title. Include a concise description of what your app does and use keywords. “Cloud” doesn’t tell consumers anything about what your app is, while “Cloud – On-the-go Mobile Storage Solutions” is keyword-oriented AND descriptive.
Description. Short and sweet, the description should be just a couple of sentences describing what your app does for the consumer, including your feature set and strategic keyword use.
Keyword fields. Both of the popular app stores include a character-limited field where you can list keywords you want to rank for, but be careful and focus on relevancy and search volume so you’re setting yourself up for ranking success.
Icon. Consumers make snap judgments based on visual branding, so focus on iconography that’s simple, brand-heavy, and conveys your app’s functionality.
Screenshots. Your screenshots are the most important promotional graphics you have, so use them wisely to convey the story of your app. Pair screenshots and text to give viewers a reason to hit the “download” button.

Monitor Off-Metadata ASO

Off-metadata ASO can be tricky because it’s not within your control, but at the very least, you should always keep an eye on ratings, reviews, and link-building opportunities. Encourage users to submit positive ratings and reviews, which will increase your conversion rate in the long term and help maximize your overall downloads.

For link-building, your strategy should be much the same as with typical web SEO. Write and submit guest articles or blogs that strategically link back to your app page, or encourage reviewers to check out your app and share their thoughts.

Measure Success, and Repeat

You’ve done everything that’s in your power to maximize on-metadata ASO and keep a handle on off-metadata ASO, so what’s next? Just like with web SEO, the work never really ends. Now it’s time to monitor your search rankings and the top app charts in your particular category, as well as your ratings, reviews, and downloads.

Now that you’ve completed an SEO/ASO audit cycle, have you accomplished growth in every area? And more importantly, have you met any goals that you set for your app’s success? If not, start the process all over again, fine-tuning your SEO and ASO strategy until your app is where it needs to be. It may take a few cycles to get your app presence where it needs to be, but with the right attention to on-metadata and off-metadata ASO, you’ll get there.


nick rojas

Nick Rojas is a self-taught, serial entrepreneur who’s enjoyed success working with and consulting for start-ups. Using his journalism training, Nick writes for publications such as Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, and Yahoo. He concentrates on teaching small and medium-sized enterprises how best to manage their social media marketing and define their branding objectives.

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