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App Store Optimization – Is ASO the New SEO?

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The mobile market has expanded to unforeseen dimensions in the past years. With the expansion of the mobile world, with the arrival of so many devices (tablets, smartphones of all sizes) it’s a different marketing environment – and very prolific if one truly evaluates its potential.

App Store Optimization - ASO

This might be one of the reasons why the term ASO – app store optimization – has become relevant for businesses looking to expand their reach. Studies have shown that many mobile users are more willing to click links and do their online shopping via their tablets or mobile phones, and they have a different attention span when interacting with those particular devices.

Consider the following scenario – it’s one thing to work at the office and have all sorts of promotional links pop-up (most of which we all ignore) and another to have them while we’re already enjoying our leisure time, and we’re actually looking forward to finding out more about certain products.

Mobile apps were seen at one point as a method to either increase productivity or challenge leisure time (games, media etc.) but on the other hand, why not use all those feats and integrate a bit of marketing within them?

TechCrunch wrote an article a few months ago about the future of ASO and how it will demolish the concept of SEO as we know it. Nevertheless, let’s remain a little skeptical – is this truly the beginning of a new era?

1.) App Optimization – Getting Started

Creating an app for your company comes with many advantages. First, it creates visibility – consider that the mobile market is increasing quickly. 25 billion apps have been downloaded since Apple first launched their App Store – why shouldn’t your company be a part of that as well?

Not to mention the fact that it’s a rather easy to manipulate market – building your own app isn’t difficult at all, they have a high degree of customizability and you can always push your competition aside by adding different features.

And here comes the punch line – with so many apps out there, how will people know yours is available as well? Say hello to App Store Optimization! Essentially, all you used to know about SEO you will now start employing in your new ASO strategy.

There are two important things you need to focus on with your new strategy:

  • Instead of being the first one on Google Search, you now need to be the first one in the Apple App search engine. Therefore, the first step would be figuring out how to get your app at the top of the app search page.
  • Instead of reacting to Google’s search algorithms, you will now have to start reacting to Apple’s search engine algorithms.

So, if you’ve managed to get your SEO strategy in place, you should have a pretty awesome view of what to do with your ASO. The ASO process starts as soon as you’ve finished your app development state. Right before deployment and launch in the AppStore, you need to focus on the right strategy for your product.

Let’s go over the numbers one more time – you have to beat about 600,000 apps on the AppStore and about 450,000 apps on Android’s Google Play. Of course, you can’t hope your app will succeed from the beginning without a little boost. Then, the popularity will kick in and push it over the top.

2.) Optimizing Your App – Essential Concepts

This might sound like a broken record, but ASO is a lot like SEO and whatever you used to do to optimize your business’ website for search engines will work for your app as well. In other words, focusing on concepts such as metadata, keywords, head titles and so on should still be part of your daily routine. Let’s go over some of these concepts and see if anything has changed.

  • Focusing on the right audience – Desktop visitors and mobile visitors are two separate entities; make sure you adjust accordingly. Google Analytics can help you with this task using the “Mobile Visitor” tab in your dashboard.
  • Keywords – Similar to website SEO, there are a few tools to figure out what the best keywords for your app might be in order to gather more users to download your product. There are other tools to measure how well your competition is doing, and what product volume they have.
  • Focusing on marketing – Of course, marketing has its own little branch and while it’s not as important as the previous points, it still has its highlights. Consider the fact that your business, your website and your app need to intertwine in terms of marketing – they all need to send out a cohesive message, so people will get the right interaction. Advertising your app on your website simply makes sense. If you want people to buy it or download it, make sure you post a link directly in Google Play’s dashboard or Apple’s AppStore for easier interaction. Using social media to promote your new app is essential as well.

3.) Optimizing Your App – Essential Tools

Apart from having the right strategy, you also need the right tools for the job. Here are some tools to make your job a little easier:

  • AppCod.es – Determining what keywords your competitors are using for their product is a great jumpstart for your strategy. While you won’t be focusing exactly on what they’re doing, you will have a general idea of how they reached those high App Store rankings. Not to mention that you can borrow some keyword info and maybe find a better strategy.
  • Flurry – This is one of the most popular analytics tools for mobile strategies and has been used by mobile developers for a long time to keep track of usage patterns. It’s not enough to have an incredible amount of users download the app, it has to also be useful to them because this supports and augments word-of-mouth advertising. Analyzing your audience and figuring out their usage patterns can help you figure what you should change in your next app version and how users see it from a usability point of view.

Conclusion – ASO or SEO?

Actually, both. SEO has been and will be around for a long time, and it’s not going away until search engines go away (read: not for a very long time).

The truth is, they complement each other in a wonderful manner. After all, both help promote your business, and both help it stay first in line – whether it’s on the app store or on the Web.

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Jayson DeMers

Jayson DeMers is the Founder & CEO of AudienceBloom. You can contact him on LinkedIn, Google+, or Twitter.

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