Digital marketers are always looking for the next big thing, which is often disguised as the year of…
Mobile optimisation has been the next big thing for a couple of years now, and it’s been the year of mobile for at least three years. So, it’s about time something else came along. That something else appears to be app store optimisation (ASO), which is pretty much what it says on the tin: apps are optimised to ensure that they rank better in various app stores. As with SEO, the idea is that higher rankings in app stores will result in more downloads and lots more lovely lolly for developers.
When you think about it, app optimisation was inevitable. The digital world is very crowded and it’s getting more crowded all the time. Every new concept that opens a new gap in the market only buys early adopters a little bit of breathing room before osmosis sucks the rest of the world in. That’s how search engine optimisation grew into social optimisation, which grew into mobile optimisation, which has become app optimisation.
If you ask Wikipedia, app store optimisation was first coined by Johannes Borchdt in November 2009. But it only really slipped into common use in 2012.
What this means is that no one knows what works and what doesn’t. It means that everyone is making their best guess and that trial and error is very much the norm.
Best guesses are quite good guesses
Experience in the search engine and mobile optimisation fields have given marketers a good idea of how to go about optimising apps. For example, it’s a pretty safe bet that keywords are going to play a vital role in ASO; which means that marketers are going to have to figure out how app keywords differ from SEO keywords, which differ from mobile keywords. They’re also going to have to figure out how users search for apps, so they can properly tailor their keyword search and usage.
John Lynch wrote an article for Search Engine Watch, in which he outlined possible on-page, off-page and unknown factors which will affect ASO. It should come as no surprise that Lynch expects keywords to pop up in titles, descriptions and even keyword tags – although that could be on the way out. Off-page factors include click-through rates, downloads, usage, reviews, and frequency of app updates. Unknown factors include app speed, brand trust, and supporting presence on the traditional and mobile web.
New gaps, new opportunities
The burgeoning field of ASO has created several new opportunities for companies that are quick off the mark. Sarah Perez (Tech Crunch) mentions several new service providers, such as Appnique, SearchMan and MobileDevHQ, which help marketers uncover important keyword information specific to their app. Other companies have come up with methods to measure app analytics.
The web space has never stayed still long enough for marketers to feel as though they have a steady footing. App optimisation is just one more way to keep industry insiders on their toes.
Guest Post by: Sandy Cosser writes for a South African-based SEO company, which offers the full range of optimisation services, including conversion optimisation, analytics and keyword management.