Looking at the actual algorithms, web SEO relies on an established process that includes ‘on-page’ metadata (i.e. your content, title tags, description, etc.) and then ‘off page’ backlinks that Google uses to validate the relevance of your content/topic/keywords. The more backlinks, the more relevant Google may view your webpage. (But) when you look at App Store Optimization, there is a totally different methodology.
Apple doesn’t look at backlinks or anything outside of the App Store for the purpose of their search algorithm. Instead, it looks to targeted keywords in your app submission (which are vetted by humans to ensure relevancy) and end user reviews. If your metadata isn’t entirely on point, your app’s chances of being found reduce drastically.
Google Play does it a little differently, crawling your description to determine keywords and phrases you’ll rank for (no input from you allowed beyond that), so understanding how to structure that description based on trending search terms is critical. And, Bell tells us, “trends are typically feature-based or application-based, with people looking for:
But that’s not all: Beyond mastering how to position your app, you need to master mobile. Bell cautions marketers against depending on the previously popular tactics like “chart boosting” (buying enough downloads to reach the top of the category level charts) as it no longer provide a return on investment for marketers – “because [as mentioned] the most valuable users are searching for something more specific.”
So how does one ‘work’ ASO? To sum it up, Bell shares the key data points you need to sort out to win on either app platform:
Sound a bit complex? It is, Bell said:
Going beyond user behavior and search semantics, the concepts of competition and difficulty are also very different in the App Stores. Marketers are competing against other apps (not webpages) for ranking on each targeted keyword or phrase.
So what can you do? Invest in an ASO for Dummies book and make sure you’re not just using SEO tactics for your apps.
This post originally appeared on AdWeek.