By Direct Agents SEO Analyst Alex Levin, and Junior Analyst Brendan Strauss
As mobile internet usage is growing by 61% annually, virtually all smartphone users are now using their devices for search, and the once PC-based SEO has had to evolve into the mobile world (Cisco). Mobile SEO is gaining in popularity across the industry, as businesses have begun to realize the potential in optimizing their websites for mobile users.
Companies across the world are adapting to this mobile world, as it has become vital to retaining current customers as well as acquiring new ones. With 57% of mobile users saying they will not recommend a business with a poorly designed mobile site, and 40% of mobile users moving on to a competitor’s site after a bad mobile experience, it has become transparent that any business’s website needs to be optimized for its mobile users (Google).
A mobile site is truly essential for new and potential customers, as few users download a business’s app before going to its mobile site. However, for returning customers, an effective app is what can separate a business from its top competitors.
App-Store Optimization (ASO)
Unlike traditional SEO which focuses almost exclusively on Google as it holds an almost 70% market share among search engines, ASO focuses on two major players. Over 90% of all app downloads occur through Google Play and the Apple App Store (51.6% and 40.7% respectively) (ComScore). Unfortunately, this means much more work for optimizers, as each app store has its own unique ranking metrics.
In both app stores, the app title is the single most important metadata factor for rank. Because of this, the use of keywords in a title leads to an average increase of 10.3% in an app’s ranking (KISSMetrics).
In addition to the title, the App store ranks apps based on their keyword field in which developers have 100 characters to enter keywords they think their potential users will search for the most. Google Play does not have this keyword field, and instead uses an app’s description for ranking purposes. In the App Store, this description does not affect rank and so it is vital to personalize the various fields depending on which store the app will be added to.
Lastly, there are secondary factors correlated with higher rankings that are not entirely under our control: the number of downloads and reviews and ratings. Conducting ASO and advertising can help increase the number of downloads.
Providing incentives to customers to leave reviews or just asking nicely can help increase the number or ratings and reviews. But ultimately the best thing you can do to increase the number of downloads and reviews is RCS – Real Company Stuff. Both of these metrics are an important component in achieving high rankings in app stores.
As our world continues to become more and more mobile, it is extremely important for businesses to invest in Mobile SEO and ASO along with traditional SEO. This optimization trio allows for businesses to stand out from their competition and can create substantial barriers to entry if done effectively.