App Store Optimization (ASO): Is It Really the New SEO?

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It’s no secret that mobile optimization is becoming incredibly important for companies looking to expand their reach, but what many companies are beginning to realize is that it’s not out of the question to create an app. Although apps were once seen as a way to play games or check emails, there now seems to be an app for everything (and every business). A few weeks ago the popular Techcrunch wrote an article claiming that ASO (App Store Optimization) is the new SEO, which led me to wonder: Sure apps are important, but will they really begin to take over some of the significance of SEO efforts for a company?

Why App Optimization Matters and How to Get Started

There are several different benefits that come from creating an app for your company—the biggest reason being the use of mobile phones and apps is only increasing. In fact, there have been over 25 billion apps downloaded since the creation of the Apple App Store. Apps are easy to create, are completely customizable, and not to mention a great way to stay in line with your competition.

Unfortunately, creating a great app doesn’t mean much if people can’t find it. App store optimization is essentially just SEO for the mobile space. It’s all about figuring out two things:

  1. How to get your mobile app to the top of an app store search page
  2. Figuring out how to manage, follow, and react to different updates in the app store search algorithms (sound familiar?).

Once you have created your app, which you can learn more about here, the optimization starts. To throw another statistic at you, there are currently over 600,000 applications for iPhone and 450,000 for Android, so you can’t assume that your app will succeed without some optimization.

Tools and Tips to Help You Optimize Your App

Actually optimizing your app works very similarly to optimizing a website for search engines—you still have to worry about metadata, keywords, head titles, description, and even geography. Below expands on these points and then describes a few different tools you may want to use to help your efforts:

On your own:

  • Audience. You want to always make sure you are tracking your desktop visitors and your mobile visitors separately. This can be done through Google Analytics by simply going to your visitors tab and selecting “mobile.” 
  • Keywords. It’s best to use one of the tools discussed below to determine which keywords will be the most successful for your app. Consider what users may type into the app store search when looking for your app, and then use the different tools to measure competition and search volume of those terms.
  • Marketing. Marketing is more of a branch off of optimization, but it’s important nonetheless. Companies need to help give their app the best chance of success by advertising this on the website and including a button on the website where users can find or purchase it. Sharing your new app on social media platforms won’t hurt either.

Tools to help:

  • App Store Optimization Keyword Volume Estimator. This tool lets your developers know how often a specific term or phrase is being searched for in the app store as well as your current ranking. By filling in your app’s URL, the tool will give you recommendations regarding the best keywords to use.
  • This tool will help you determine the keywords that your competitors apps are using as well as help you find the best keywords for your own app.
  • Flurry. This is a very popular mobile analytics tool that helps developers track usage patterns of those that have downloaded the app. This is a great way to analyze your audience and change your strategies based on the results you find.

So Is ASO really the new SEO? Truthfully, it does seem as though this is going to be the new SEO. Now optimizing webpages for Google and other search engines isn’t going anywhere anytime soon (if ever). It’s still incredibly important to invest in your SEO efforts and continue to research and work toward a successful ranking on a SERP, and in fact this new idea of ASO should not affect your current, traditional SEO efforts. Long story short: It might be the new hot-topic in SEO and the discussion might soon take precedence over traditional webpage SEO strategies; thus making it as much the “new” SEO as possible.

Are you a company that has created an app in the past? Were you successful? Do you think that ASO is becoming the new SEO? Let us know your story and your thoughts in the comments below.

Photo Credit:

Learn More About ASO on #Marketingnerds

Marketing Nerds is SEJ’s very own podcast. In this episode, Kelsey Jones, Executive Editor at SEJ, and Anne Ahola Ward of CircleClick discuss mobile SEO and how to implement ASO.

Amanda DiSilvestro

Amanda DiSilvestro

Online Content Editor/Writer at HigherVisibility
Amanda DiSilvestro gives small business and entrepreneurs SEO advice ranging from keyword density to recovering from Panda and Penguin updates. She writes for HigherVisibility, a... Read Full Bio
Amanda DiSilvestro
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  • Rohit

    haven’t think before that there is also need to do seo for apps..

  • Ian Sefferman

    Great write up, Amanda. We at MobileDevHQ firmly believe that ASO is the new SEO, as the TechCrunch article stated. We’ve been working for the past year or so on some amazing tools to help app marketers, and have had the opportunity to work with the best marketers and publishers in the app world.

    It’s an incredibly exciting time to be in mobile — personally, I can’t wait to see how the app ecosystem continues to grow.

    • Amanda DiSilvestro

      It definitely sounds like you are onto a very cutting-edge industry. I definitely think I’ll be writing a post about tools to help with ASO sometime in the near future, so I’ll definitely have to keep your company in mind!

  • Jonathan

    Having written several apps in the past that, while receiving at least four stars, flopped miserably because no one could find them, I have to say that ASO is ABSOLUTELY CRUCIAL. You can spend years in man-hours developing a great app only to have it swallowed up by the sheer volume of drivel that’s on the store. It is vital to give yourself every advantage, in order to have people actually get your app. Otherwise, you’ve wasted a whole lot of time.

    • Amanda DiSilvestro

      I obviously completely agree, and I think calling it a “waste of time” is pretty accurate. People may find your app organically by seeing it on your website or maybe you linked to it somewhere along the line, but it’s the App Store that is really going to make or break your success. Thanks for reading!

  • Gabriel

    Although is not the new SEO, just yet 100%… is heading that way.
    ASO is a bit tougher based on the lack of real straight data coming from different App stores and based on the weaknesses that different algorithms have… but it’s improving and the app ecosystem without SEARCH can’t really survive…
    more and more apps, means more and more searches, and the more searches the process of optimization becomes more important.

    I have interviewed over 20 experts in ASO, written a book and launched a course and every day there are new challenges… is not just about Apple or Google, think beyond… Windows, Amazon, Nokia ASO are here to stay

    • Amanda DiSilvestro

      How awesome–what is the book and where can we find the course?

  • Alicia Porrata

    Great article Amanda. I agree that ASO is not taking SEO anytime soon. However, it is an important area that app builders often forget about. Building an awesome app isn’t enough if your customers can’t find you.

    • Amanda DiSilvestro

      Exactly. The whole concept really is exactly like SEO, so hopefully businesses will begin to be able to really see the importance. Thanks for reading!

  • Denisse Dubrovsky

    I really enjoyed your article. We’ve been scouring the internet for valuable blogs about ASO and have yours bookmarked.
    I do however think that ASO will never be the new SEO because SEO will ever diminish in importance. But then again, ASO is growing at remarkable paces and becoming more and more essential.
    We’ve recently taken our own lessons on ASO with our clients and developed a series with tips, tricks and lots of questions in an effort to make app store optimization even more transparent.

    • Amanda DiSilvestro

      I think you’re definitely write–ASO likely won’t overtake SEO. It is becoming important though, like you say, so that’s great that you are developing a series of tricks and tips. I would love to see those! If you feel like sharing let me know at @ADiSilvestro and I will do my best to help you promote your ideas and get the word out there. Thanks for reading!

  • Rameez Ramzan

    Now Google also launched the application search over Google search engine so, how can we improve our applications over Google search engine and people will start to download our apps instantly?? Is there any technique to optimize mobile apps over search engines??