What Is ASO, and Is It Taking Over SEO?

This year and surely the next several years are going to be all about mobile. Mobile marketing, mobile websites, mobile optimization, and mobile apps are going to be the focus as the use of smartphones continues to grow. According to Pew Internet Research, 83 percent of American adults own a mobile phone, and about half of all adult cell owners (51 percent) used their phone at least once to get information they needed right away.

This then brings up the topic of mobile apps, companies creating mobile apps, and then having to optimize those apps. Since people are beginning to spend more time on their phones than on their desktops, is the app search more important than the traditional search?

What Is App Store Optimization (ASO)?

ASO stands for App Store Optimization, and it means just that: Optimizing a mobile app that your company creates so that people can find that app on a mobile phone. It works the same way that optimization works for search engines such as Google. You want to manipulate your app so that it is crawled and ranked in the app store. The app store is like Google, and your app is like your website. The app store will change its algorithm just like Google and other search engines change its algorithm, so you have to be able to react.

To put things into perspective, there are currently over 600,000 applications for the iPhone and 450,000 for Android. In other words, you can’t assume you’re going to pop up first without a little bit of optimization.

How to Get Started with ASO

A business app is a great way to reach your audience on a platform that’s almost always in their pocket. Below are a few optimization tips and tools you can use to help your app become successful in a sea of applications:

  • App Store Optimization Keyword Volume Estimator. Despite the long name, this is actually one of the more popular tools when it comes to app optimization. It helps to let you know how often particular phrases and terms are searched for in the app store so that you will know what keywords to use in your description, title, etc. You can even fill in your app’s URL to get personalized recommendations.
  • Google Analytics. Part of optimizing an app is understanding your mobile audience (whether they are using the app store or not, there is a chance they will be in the future). You want to track these visitors separately from your desktop visitors, and Google Analytics makes this possible by going to the visitors tab and clicking “mobile.”
  • Flurry. One of my favorite tools, this will help you track those who have downloaded your app and see what other types of apps they are downloading. If you ever want to create another app or tweak your existing app for future downloaders, this tool will help you decide what works best.

Or course before you can optimize an app you have to have an app. You can learn about how to create an app for your business and why it matters here.

Is ASO Going to be the New SEO?

If ASO is going to be the “new” SEO is a slightly different question than if ASO is going to take over SEO completely. ASO is very different than SEO, and the need for both is likely always going to be there. Will ASO someday outshine SEO in terms of buzz and discussion? Probably. Will it become more important than SEO? Probably not. After all, SEO doesn’t just refer to desktops—it refers to optimizing mobile websites as well.

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