Mobile App SEO - 5 Things You Need to Know
You search ‘Grocery Delivery App’ in the play store, and the list of apps appears on the app store screen, just like Google.
Ever wonder how your app could appear on the first page of the play store?
Well, there’s a way: ASO (app store optimization)!
Just like web page SEO requires different elements for better ranking, with the ASO, you can optimize mobile apps based on different factors.
Mobile App Optimization: Why to Care?
Looking at the consumer behavior pattern, it is obvious that mobile app usage is skyrocketing. Approx. 27% users follow the traditional search method for searching an app besides the app store. The number is huge to neglect as it affects the app’s visibility. Thus, just optimizing the app store for higher ranking is not enough anymore. Businesses need to optimize their apps accordingly.
Google treats app store SEO and web SEO both differently. In 2013 Google introduced app indexing till date; it compiled over 30 billion links within apps indexed in search results. The feature works for both Android and iOS devices.
Not the only reason to go for it!
App Indexing lets users find mobile apps in Google search results with an install button. It optimizes search options in the app store and on the Google search page, with a focus on technical optimization.
To know more, let’s first understand app indexing.
What is App Indexing
According to Google, App Indexing allows Google index apps just like websites. Deep links to the apps appear in the search results, allowing users to get the relevant information in the app on their mobile phone.
Practically, it’s like a user searches for a product on Google and the most relevant content for the searched product is on your app. Instead of redirecting to the website, Google will show your app’s result on the search page that will allow users to open the relevant content directly in the app.
With app indexing, here are the five things to know about app optimization.
Things to Know About Optimizing Mobile App
1. App Optimizing Requires a Hybrid Approach
Recently, ASO optimized the mobile app search, but now a new approach has come up, a hybrid approach where ASO and traditional SEO combined together increase the app’s visibility.
How does this work?
Starting with ASO, it uses keywords and performance to rank the apps in the app store. Keywords mean the ones used in titles, description, headings, device/platform, etc. It also includes app performance based on the ratings, reviews, number of app downloads, internal links, engagement. Web optimization such as external links, social shares is another element of ASO based on which it defines the app’s ranking. Overall, ASO defines the app ranking in the store based on the keywords, app performance, and web optimization.
Now, traditional SEO works on the same principle, keywords, performance, authentic links, unique content, etc.
So, an app performing well in the app store and satisfying all the aspects of traditional SEO have higher chances to rank on the top and appear in Google search results.
2. App Pack Results
Just like Google’s local packs search results, it now has an app pack results that lets users find relevant apps in Google search. Suppose a user searches for a music app on their smartphone. Google will show the pack of relevant apps on the screen, as shown in the image.
That’s amazing how users can look for apps on the web search instead of using the app store.
But as they said, ranking in the app store helps with visibility on web search, app performance, web optimization can overall optimize the app.
3. Deep Linking Is Important for App Visibility
If Google does not index an app, it’s quite obvious that it won’t appear in the search results for relevant queries. To make it possible, users need to implement deep linking to be indexed by Google and appear in the results. First, understand what is deep linking.
Deep linking is the use of hyperlinks that link to a specific (generally indexed and searchable) content on a website rather than the website’s home page.
Deep linking optimizes the user experience and drives engagement by navigating them to the specific target of requirement. For example, a user looks for gadget ratings, using deep linking, Google will redirect them to the rating page of the gadget instead of the whole list of gadgets.
Now, the mobile app businesses might have a question, “What if a customer doesn’t have my app?”, the deferred linking would be the solution here. If a user doesn’t have an app installed, they would be redirected to the app store for installation and, after the installation, directly to that specific window.
Deep linking encompasses businesses in optimizing the app by taking relevant steps and actions during mobile app development.
4. Intent Filters Are the Must-Have
For better visibility, apps need to support deep linking. You can achieve it by creating intent filters. Intent filters are like an expression that is to trigger the specific content within the app using deep links from Google’s search results.
Suppose an app has different actions/pages. Intent filters would redirect the customer to the specific content they are looking for in an app. They work by matching HTTP or custom URI schemes to the app content.
To use intent filters, place the code in the app’s manifest file that matches HTTP and URI patterns for a user to open the app directly from the Google search results.
The elements required for integrating intent filters in an app are:
- BROWSABLE category
- DEFAULT category
The work doesn’t stop here. After creating intent filters, it is necessary to check whether the deep linking is properly working; Google is indexing the content/app so that it redirects to the desired location.
5. Utilize App Actions Using Google’s Knowledge Graph
What are app actions?
Indexing an app, launching it, and getting the relevant actions done are known as app actions.
They work by using entity detection and knowledge graphs to understand user actions.
For example, a user searches for a flight, what actions they can perform, such as booking the flight or checking the flight details that Google’s knowledge graph records and relevant actions are shown to the user. If the users mostly check the flight details, actions such as Check Details can be shown on the search result using the proper schema markup for app actions.
These five factors define the app’s position, performance, and overall demand on the app store and website.
ASO Ranking Factors
Here are some ranking factors that can help in-app optimization.
To improve rank in Google App Packs, search results, keywords in the title and description are important. Mobile app developers can add keywords such as app/apps, game/games for an app store. Though these basic keywords won’t be used mostly in the app store, while searching on web search, users can search “app”. It will help in ranking over there.
- Ratings and Review
Google ranks the apps higher if they have more positive reviews and star ratings. But it also scans the user reviews in search of keywords. It would rank the comments with high keywords on the top of the page.
Positive reviews and ratings also increase the click-through rate. The first thing users notice while installing the app is the star ratings and reviews. So, developers need to ensure that their app provides smooth functionality and a better user experience with minimum to no bugs and errors.
Adding links to the app store from the website will help in Google rankings. If a user can find the relevant app download link or content on the app directly through a high-quality backlink, it increases the chances of better visibility.
Backlinks encourage users to download the apps quickly. And as discussed, ASO also depends on the app’s downloads.
If the number of downloads is more, the ranking on the app store would be higher.
Developers and mobile app businesses need to focus on these three factors to increase the chances of appearing in App packs results.
Tips to optimize apps in the app store
- Keep the app title short, clear, and under 25 characters along with the keywords.
- Upload a preview video of the app for user convenience.
- Make sure that the app icon looks clear, visible, and effective. Just like speaking the brand name.
- Add a detailed description of the app, its features, and what exactly it does. (Don’t miss the keywords)
- Provide easy translation options for users to interpret the content easily.
ASO alone will not be enough for better returns in mobile app businesses.
Developers need to work on both the app store rules of ranking and some traditional mixes to reach the target audience. After all, optimization is not a one-time strategy. It needs continuous work based on user demand and actions. Developers and businesses can look out for these five things for app optimization.
Waiting for your app on the Google search!
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