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App SEO: 5 Super Simple Steps to Rank Your Mobile App in Google SERPs

We all act so dramatic whenever Google releases an update.

Like the apocalypse has finally happened or something!

 

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In fact, that’s why Google’s mobile-friendly update acquired the name “Mobilegeddon.”

But the update wasn’t a huge disaster that Bruce Willis had to come in and sort out.

For apps, it was actually a very positive step.

It meant that not only websites, but also apps started being featured in search results.

Now, there are 3.8 million Android apps available, and 2 million in the Apple app store.

With so many apps out there, you absolutely need to up your app SEO and ASO game.

App SEO: 5 Super Simple Steps to Rank Your Mobile App in Google SERPs

If you want your app to be able to compete in the SERPs, here’s what you need to do…

1. Optimize for Keywords

If you need to optimize a website for keywords, why would an app be any different?

Your main keywords should not only express what your app is all about, but also, the value of your app.

Use your best keywords to:

  • Send value signals to the search engines
  • Prompt app store triggers

Google Play recently added a feature breaking down organic search data and revealing the number of app installs per keyword.

Unfortunately, such insights are not yet available to all developers.

In the meantime, you’ll need to perform traditional keyword research to find the best keywords for your app.

This means using Keyword Planner (or another keyword research tool) to find high traffic, low competition keywords.

Once you have your list of keywords, apply them to your title, subtitle, description and associated fields.

Take a look at how this app does it:

 

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Then, you can keep track of your app’s keyword position and organic traffic over time using Monitor Backlinks.

If your SEO efforts are working, then your results will be on the up:

 

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Just don’t forget that you should never stuff your description and titles with keywords—it won’t make you rank any higher.

All the best practices you use for websites apply to app store optimization, too.

2. Accumulate Positive Ratings and Reviews

Your star-rating and reviews send trust signals to our almighty overlords at Google.

To prove just how important ratings are, consider this…

92% of the top free iPhone apps have a 3-star rating or better.

Google also crawls reviews for keywords.

And, naturally, positive reviews will lead to more downloads due to social proof.

 

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There are a few simple things you can do to encourage positive feedback and improve your rating:

  • Continually improve upon your app based on user feedback

Then, of course, future users won’t have the same issues and leave negative reviews.

Plus, those who have left negative responses may change their ratings.

  • Encourage user reviews with popups in your app

Like with most things in life, how are you going to get something if you don’t ask?

Keep it simple and easy to use, like this:

 

(Image Source)

But don’t bombard users with popups because it’s just annoying—you might even put users off your app completely.

The best time to ask for reviews is when users are most likely to be pleased with your app.

So, when they’ve leveled up in a game, for instance, or have completed an action.

That’s how you get the positive feedback that will send you up the rankings.

3. Earn Backlinks for Your App

Backlinks are the backbone of any SEO campaign.

Quality links directed to your app store listing or download page will seriously improve your app SEO.

But as you well know, earning links isn’t easy.

So, here are some actionable tips to get you started:

  • Link to your app listing/download page from your website.
  • Add a link to all of your social media profiles.
  • Send out a press release to authority media sources—hopefully they’ll report on your app.
  • Sponsor or participate in a relevant event to get a link from the event’s website.
  • Guest post on relevant blogs.

When it comes to earning links, quality beats quantity every time.

Links from low authority or irrelevant sources send negative signals to Google.

Neil Patel says,

“High-quality backlinks are good for an obvious reason. They are… well, they’re high-quality. That means they are intrinsically beneficial for domain authority and SEO rankings.

With these backlinks, you don’t need to worry about hurting your rankings by unintentionally building a relationship with a spam website. They are reliable, trustworthy, and foolproof.”

How do you know if your links are high or low quality?

Head to the “Backlinks” section of your Monitor Backlinks account. Here you’ll see a list of all the links pointing to your listing.

In the far left column, low-quality links will show a warning signal, like so:

 

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In the “Status” column, you can see whether the page is indexed by Google or not.

In other words, whether it’s helping your SEO or not:

 

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Plus, you can check the domain authority of the site where your link appears.

If the meter is red, as in this case, it indicates a low authority site (which you don’t want):

 

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Luckily, Monitor Backlinks makes it quick and easy to disavow these bad backlinks so that they don’t impact your app rankings.

Just check the boxes next to any low-quality links and choose “Disavow” from the drop-down menu at the top of the list:

 

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Naturally, just as you would with a website, you should work on getting as many quality links for your app store listing or download page as possible, and disavowing links that hinder your app SEO.

If you don’t have a Monitor Backlinks account to track your app’s links, you can get your hands on a free 30-day trial here!

4. Update Your App Regularly

Freshness is another key ranking factor for app SEO.

 

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Lee Wilson at Search Engine Journal says,

“The top-performing apps in app stores are those that are ever evolving (reflecting user feedback, technology changes, feature additions and improvements) and are constantly being updated. […]

Both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store take into account the regularity of app updates as part of the ranking algorithm.”

So how often should you update your app?

Pretty regularly—the median number of days between updates for the top 200 apps in the Apple App Store is 18 days.

To ensure you have a strong product, you need to regularly update features and fix bugs.

For app store optimization, you should announce updates on your product page, as well as on your site and social media.

This is how Slack announces their updates on their App Store product page:

app-seo

(Image Source)

 

Send a clear signal to app stores and Google that you’re keepin’ it fresh to death.

5. Optimize Your CTR

Of course you want to improve your click-through rate to generate more downloads…

You’d be a pretty rubbish businessperson if you didn’t.

But CTR is also a strong signal to Google and the App Store that you have a strong, relevant app that’s worth listing.

To optimize your CTR, start by improving the copy and images on your product page.

Wish, for example, has some high-quality images with clear calls to action on their page:

 

app-seo

(Image Source)

 

Your copy should highlight three to five of the best features of your app.

Break up the text with images and lists, and keep paragraphs short—you don’t want to over-face people with a boring wall of text.

And once you have your product page optimized, A/B test different elements to see exactly which elements improve your CTR.

Getting those all-important clicks is about having an appealing preview.

 

Naturally, there are many ways in which app SEO and ASO are similar to regular SEO.

Yet, there are some unique points, such as updates and optimizing your product page for clicks etc., that you have to pay special attention to.

All in all, if you take heed of these five tips for app SEO, even Bruce Willis would be proud of how you’ve managed to tackle Mobilegeddon.

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