5 SEO Tricks To Steal from App Store Optimization

Posted / 25 November, 2015

Author / Enginess

Last month we talked about what App Store Optimization (ASO), covering what it is and why it’s important. Today we’re going to go a little further and give you 5 awesome tricks that you can take away from ASO and use on your own site to drive organic traffic. Let’s get started.

1. Use snippets effectively

ASO stresses the importance of the app description, getting down to how many characters are available and how best to maximize each one. This makes a lot of sense, since it’s the biggest body of copy you have to sell your app. App owners use the description to convey:
  • Why someone would want to download the app (unique value proposition)
  • What makes the app unique
  • Keywords, so that the app is easier to find.
Essentially it’s a sales pitch, and it’s a lot to do in 167-odd characters. The website equivalent is the snippet or blurb that comes up when you search things on Google. Moveable online search snippet It’s a small window that you have to tell someone why you’ve got what they’re looking for. Like ASO, there’s a limit to how much you can say. Website snippets are typically pulled from meta tags – in this case, the meta description. It’s a chance for you to really sell your website, service, product, or brand, in addition to giving people a little more info on what they’re going to find. Really, it’s an exercise in concise sales copywriting, producing maximum value for the least amount of words. We think that the best meta descriptions (like the best pitches) are concise, simple, and give a clear indication of what the browser is in for. KitchenAid is a great example:
Browse KitchenAid's premium major and countertop kitchen appliances. When you have a KitchenAid kitchen, there's ...
The first sentence says it all: what they make, why you should buy them, and what result you’re going to get. Easy!

2. Get good reviews

App store search result rankings are in part determined by the reviews that you have. This is why so many apps try to encourage you to go on and review them – it’s very important to them forming a positive feedback loop. Website owners should be working towards the same thing. Granted, it’s less important from a technical ranking perspective for SEO. But what is important is the social proof attached to positive or negative rankings. Let’s go back to our KitchenAid example for a minute. KitchenAid search results When you search KitchenAid, you get lots of results that have star ratings attached to them. 5 stars reassure browsers that your product is great, and low-star reviews are going to create an extremely negative impression. If you have low reviews, but a browser still clicks on your site, they’re primed to see the negatives rather than the positives. Needless to say, this isn’t exactly the mindset that drives conversions.  

3. Find good keywords – that you can rank for

The biggest similarity between ASO and SEO is around keywords. Finding good keywords for your website that hit the sweet spot between low competition and high traffic is what’s going to get you up there, both in app store and web search results. Here are some tricks you can steal from ASO:
  • Use long tail keywords. About 80% of what people search for are long tail keywords. Optimizing for those search patterns means you’re competing less for high-competition single keywords (say, ‘pizza’) and more for low competition ones (say, ‘the best pizza that I can get at 2am’). This is going to drive up your traffic. And since long tail keywords are more precise, you’re likely to get better quality traffic as well.
  • Use keyword generator tools. ASO has created a market for lots of tools like keywordtool. These tools are a great way to look for keyword inspiration, if not to get actual keywords.
  • Keep it super simple. According to Ankit Jain, the ex-head of Search & Discovery for Google Play, most searches are either categorical (e.g. ‘free games’) or navigational (e.g. ‘Clash of Clans’). For websites, the same is often going to be true. So for your keywords, stick with simple ones. If you had to spend two weeks dreaming up a keyword, someone else out there probably isn’t searching for it.

4. Keep it fresh

Both the App Store and the Play Store encourage regular updates by basing their ranking algorithm on recency of changes and recency of downloads. It’s a way to ensure that no app gets so entrenched that it’s always at the top, as well as giving new apps a chance to get there. Google does the same thing for websites – it rewards sites that have lots of current visitors as well as new content on a regular basis. What this means is that there’s yet another reason to get blogging. Blogging is a great way to:
  • Keep your content fresh online
  • Target long-tail keywords (e.g. writing a blog post titled ‘the best way to get past Candy Crush Level 65’)
  • Drive traffic with inbound marketing

5. Never stop optimizing

The best thing you can do, whether you have a website or an app, is to continually work at it. Every day, you acquire a little more data that you can use to tweak your keywords, your content, your metadata, and your overall web presence. Equally, every day is a new chance to try out a new idea to see if it’ll drive traffic. Constantly working at it is the only way to stay on top in the SERPs.


  • ASO has taught us lots about SEO, and it’s a great source of new ideas for how to optimize your own website.
  • Choose your metadata carefully, and write it like you would write a sales pitch – it’s often the first exposure a potential customer is going to have to your brand.
  • Focus on getting good reviews for your product or service. These come up on other popular sites, so it’s an easy way to reinforce your own value with social proof.
  • Keep looking for new keywords that are both low competition and high reward. Don’t despair – they are out there.
  • Constantly be producing fresh content. It’ll help your site because Google loves new stuff and it’ll help your marketing because people will come to your site to read what you’ve got to say.
  • Never stop optimizing. There are always new tweaks to make and techniques to try. So get out there and do it.

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