ASO and SEO: differences and advantages
SEO is a familiar abbreviation to anyone involved in online promotion. ASO doesn’t look that familiar. Sometimes ASO is referred to as SEO for mobile apps, and that’s even more confusing. Well, what’s the difference between ASO and SEO? How are they both related to app promotion? And can they influence each other?
What is SEO and what is ASO?
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is what you do with your website to boost its ranking in search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. by a certain query (keyword). To improve SEO, you can change your content, tweak technical parameters, or adjust external links so that you can acquire more organic visitors to your website.
ASO (App Store Optimization) is how you promote your app page (App Store, Google Play, etc) and fill it with content to increase app ranking by keywords. Increasing organic installs is your ultimate goal.
In general terms, the two optimization processes are similar but still require different actions. App stores set stricter content rules. The visual part is more important for ASO since it strongly affects installs; that’s why you should pay special attention to graphics. Users behave differently online and in app stores as they make up their queries differently. And, most importantly, different factors influence app ranking and web search ranking.
What factors can influence app ranking?
Internal (on-page) and external (off-page) factors are important for website ranking when it comes to search engines.
- keywords in tags and title, content compliance with a query;
- unique and natural content, content structure;
- optimized URLs, meta tags, image tags, etc.;
- adaptive content;
- load speed.
- time spent on a web page.
Ranking factors in app stores are divided into two types too: there are internal (on-metadata) and external (off-metadata) factors.
- subtitle (App Store) or short description (Google Play);
- full description (Google Play);
- name of the publisher;
- keywords field (App Store);
- name of internal purchases (App Store);
- Package name (included in URLs and indexed on Google Play;
- publisher email (Google Play);
- Tags (Google Play);
- Android Vitals (Google Play).
- rating and reviews;
- backlinks (Google Play).
How do SEO and ASO influence each other?
First, your app page has a public URL and is hosted on google.com (for Google Play) or apple.com (for App Store). That is, Google search will rank it in the same way as other web pages, which means that, by optimizing your app page, you are simultaneously optimizing it for web search. Moreover, Google can index your app. Back in 2015, the company announced that mobile browser search results would include apps as well. This means that Google indexes apps in the same way as websites.
Second, many users find new apps when searching the web or visiting a company website (here’s a case study). This means that SEO can help you acquire quality users and increase organic installs. Thus, SEO and ASO can complement each other in the context of a common goal, acquiring organic users.
How to work on SEO right?
SEO involves compiling a semantic core and distributing keywords in your content too. Besides, any website requires some basic technical optimization. Google has some detailed guidelines on where to start with SEO.
Optimization is not a one-time process but a cycle: you make changes, monitor the outcome, and adjust your actions accordingly. Seasonal changes are too a good reason for optimization. Optimization progress is neither quick nor permanent.
You can track your SEO progress using the following metrics:
- Keyword ranking.
- CTR (click-through rate) and bounce rate.
- Organic traffic.
- Duration of sessions.
- Load speed.
How to work on ASO right?
ASO means improving in two directions, text and graphics. Text ASO starts with compiling a semantic core, the keywords that people will use to find your app. This requires a competitor analysis and a list of relevant keywords. Then you can prioritize keywords based on popularity, impressions, and competitors’ ranking. At the initial stage, you may want to choose less frequent queries to make it easier to get to the top. Semantic core compilation, analysis and keyword prioritization can be done automatically. Once you’ve found a couple of dozen keywords, you can distribute them across your text. Different text elements affect ranking differently. To do text optimization right, use this guideline.
Graphic ASO can boost conversion at all stages of the user journey (impressions to views, views to installs, or impressions to installs). It’s also worth starting with researching a niche in general and analyzing your leading competitors. It’s important that you stand out. Once you’ve performed a qualitative analysis, you can define the general concept and design of major graphic elements like icons, screenshots, and videos. At this stage, both ASO experts and designers should be inspired by the same idea: you have 7 seconds to sell your app to a user. A/B testing is a must if you want to find the graphics that boosts conversion just right. In this guideline we’ll tell you about that in detail.
ASO progress can be tracked using these values:
- Keyword ranking.
- Organic traffic (impressions, installs, conversion).
- Cost and conversion of ad traffic.
- ASOindex. Assessment of the app page optimization level.
- Search Visibility Index. App visibility score for search traffic. That is, visibility for those who look for apps using key queries. It helps you analyze your ranking by relevant keywords.
- Ranking in a certain category and among similar apps, as well as impressions in various store collections.
- Performance Index. It indicates the efficiency of acquiring organic traffic.
You also can use an audit to assess app optimization.
ASO improvement can’t be tracked right on the spot. There is no specific time frame to see your progress. To some apps, it’s a month, to others, it can take two or three months. It’s different for everyone. Different apps, different start. Keep in mind that ASO is an iterative process and you need to do it non-stop. The same applies to SEO.
You cannot replace SEO with ASO or vice versa. Those are complementary processes. If you do both ASO and SEO, you will cover the vast majority of channels through which users find your app, and increase organic installs. We wish you as much organic traffic as possible! Feel free to use our new tool, Performance, to assess the efficiency of acquiring organic traffic in various countries.