Distributing your app as widely as possible is the goal for just about every app as the more users you have, the better the earning potential for your business. There are a couple of primary efforts businesses use to capture the attention of their targeted audience with the intent of converting them into paying users – outside of directing marketing efforts, the website associated with your app needs to show on Google and your app needs to appear in marketplaces as part of your organic growth strategy.
Marketing your app is the most involved process you’ll tackle alongside the development of the app itself. The goal is to build up your name early so potential users can find your app with minimal effort. These feats are accomplished through SEO (search engine optimization) that determines how well your website ranks in a search engine and ASO (app store optimization) which is how well your app listing ranks in the app stores. We’ll start by first looking at the publishing process for both Android and iOS then we’ll move on to techniques that maximize your app’s exposure on the web and marketplaces.
Publishing your app to Google Play and the App Store
Each platform provides a console for developers to upload their app to the marketplace thus making your product available to the masses. The idea is much the same as putting a product on store shelves when you sell a physical item. Like a physical product, the more catchy marketing collateral you use to supplement your product as it sits on a shelf, the more attention you’ll draw.
So long as you have a developer account in Google Play – or you’re linked to an existing developer account – that’s in good standing, you’ll use the Google Play console to upload and prepare your app. You’ll start by entering some preliminary information about the app, giving it a name, and providing contact information. While in the dashboard, you’ll go through the motions to check the boxes by completing each task. Once you’ve completed everything the console requests, you’ll be able to release your app for open or closed testing as well as simply launch the app.
For apps being published to iOS, the process is much the same through App Store Connect. Through Apple’s console, you’ll select the platforms (i.e. iOS, iPadOS, watchOS, etc.) where intend to make your app available.
In both systems, you’ll create product pages that appear in the respective store as well as manage other portions of your app. It’s also through these consoles that you’ll optimize your app as part of your ASO initiative.
Getting your app to show on Google and marketplaces
Much like creating a web presence for anything else, you’ll need to employ well-designed efforts to make your product as visible as possible for prospective users. For maximum exposure, you should be using a combination of SEO for mobile apps and ASO as the two work hand-in-hand to reward those with well-designed strategies.
Your SEO for mobile apps effort
About six months before releasing an app to the marketplaces, you should have a live website related to your upcoming product as this is necessary to both inform users about your product and build hype. During the early phases of product development, you’ll want to direct users here to give them as much information as possible. The idea is to begin “selling” the idea of your product before it’s released.
Building a solid SEO for mobile apps strategy begins with identifying keywords that you want your site to rank for. You’ll want to find key phrases that have high search volume but low competition in order to begin building your web presence. Using tools like Ahrefs, which is our preferred product at Blue Label Labs, or something similar like Moz, you’ll be well-equipped to research viable keywords that you’ll need to tactfully work into your content.
The initial iteration of your website should be simple and to the point but it should be scalable. Your earliest version should at least include a contact form where users can sign up to get periodic updates about your product via a newsletter. While the product is still in development, use newsletters to keep prospective users engaged with brief updates on a monthly or bi-weekly basis.
It’s also a good idea to get a jump start on a directed blogging endeavor as soon as possible. Adding good content to your site accomplishes a few different goals aside from sharing valuable information with your viewers. By researching and incorporating keywords into your blog content, you’ll have a chance at ranking on search engines like Google. If you’re using WordPress, you should be using tools like Yoast as they “score” your content based on multiple factors as well as offer specific feedback that allows you to make SEO-friendly tweaks.
You’ll also want to look for guest posting opportunities on sites with high domain authority (DA) as backlinks on such sites are instrumental in building up your site’s score. Ideally, your backlinks should reflect the target keyword of content to you’re linking – of course, this isn’t always possible so do your best as having backlinks on high DA sites is far better than having nothing at all. Having a combination of good SEO-optimized content and backlinks from reputable, external sites is the basis for raising your site’s DA which in turn will rank your pages higher on SERPs (search engine results pages) for your targeted keywords.
One trick to building additional backlinks without creating entire articles is to use services like HARO where you can respond to queries from authors who will often link back to your site if your quote is accepted. You can also use sites like Reddit but this is something that should be done sparingly as the site has little tolerance for spam.
Social media should be developed around this time as well. By using paid advertisements on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, you can begin to build interest by targeting the right audiences. While the links you’ll share won’t affect your site’s DA score, you’ll still be building interest.
Your ASO effort
Alongside a concerted SEO for mobile apps effort, it’s important to understand how to optimize your app in each marketplace to maximize exposure. In addition to filling in basic information, properly categorizing your app, and writing a detailed description, you’ll be using the dashboard for each respective marketplace to maximize visibility and view analytics.
Much like SEO, both Apple and Google use several metrics to rank your app in their marketplaces which determines the position your app will populate during a search. For starters, the app name you select for your product needs to be relevant and unique. When possible, the name for your app should include the most defining keyword that describes your product. A good example of this is the music discovery platform we developed called bopdrop – if you click the link, you’ll notice that “music discovery” is incorporated into the title which helps users locate the app, even when they’re not specifically searching for bopdrop.
Keywords you use throughout your text should be relevant to what your product does and how you think your potential users might search for your app but each platform is a little different in how they handle keywords. For Apple, you’re provided with a keyword field where you can identify keywords that you’ve used throughout your product description. In Google Play, you don’t identify the keywords you use in your app store content – nonetheless, the system will populate apps when corresponding phrases are used in searches. Both platforms cross-reference search queries against the content in the short and long descriptions to populate relevant apps according to popularity.
Another major factor that determines where an app will populate in any given query has to do with its popularity. It seems like a bit of a paradox, but the more your app is downloaded, the higher it will rank among competitors that use similar keywords to describe their product. Ultimately, you’ll want to use a variety of tactics to increase downloads you can learn about by following the link which will, in turn, boost your app’s popularity and cause it to populate higher in search results.
Finally, another good strategy to increase visibility is through paid advertising on either the App Store or Google Play. Each platform works about the same by “boosting” your app in listings for the keywords you target in each store. Note that Google’s App Campaigns works beyond Google Play for apps on either platform, enabling them to position higher in search results on Google.
Bringing your efforts together
Once everything is in place, you’ll want to make sure that you share as much as possible between your website and app store page. On your website, make sure to put clearly visible links to the marketplaces where your app is hosted. Too, make sure that your app store links back to your website so viewers can learn more about your company.
You should be using analytics for both your website and the app store to interpret the traffic you’re generating. Tools like Google Analytics can help you understand your web traffic by revealing how people spend time on your site. Finally, the analytics consoles in both Google Play and the App Store should be used to gain insights into the product’s performance, uncovering data such as keywords that yield the best results.
To further peer into your site’s SEO performance and app’s ASO performance, you’ll want to use third-party tools like Ahrefs which we mentioned early for SEO in conjunction with a tool like appfigures for ASO analytics. These tools provide better visibility for performance as it relates to either SEO or ASO.
Keep in mind that this is an ongoing process. Over time, users will shift how they search for products as new apps and buzzwords surface. As such, you’ll want to periodically review website content and app store content to ensure that the language you use matches how users search. Plus, your app will likely change in appearance as you add features so make sure to update your content and imagery accordingly.
Spread word of your digital product far and wide with SEO for mobile apps and ASO
User acquisition and engagement enables us to reimagine product offerings to suit the markets’ evolving needs. Before launching an app, we help our customers develop the language they need to make the most impactful websites and app store pages for their product. For existing products, we dive into your analytics to help you refine your strategy and maximize exposure. To learn more, get in touch with us today.
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