SEO Guide for Mobile Apps

As advertisers move away from traditional advertising using television, radio and print to newer and more obtrusive channels that digital marketing has to offer, there is more money to be had by app developers from ad revenue. The more app installs you get, the higher your chances of earning a steady income from ad revenue. But there are some very obvious challenges.

App development has skyrocketed in recent years as a result of the potential app revenue. Google Play had 2.6 million apps as of Dec 2018, and the Apple App Store was just shy of 2 million. No one has time to scan through all those! For someone to find your app, you need to use some creative planning. The factors that influence your app’s visibility in either app marketplace are similar.

You need to know the factors that determine your app’s discoverability and conversion rate. In this 4-Part series on App Store Optimization, we outline the steps you need to take to optimize your app for easier discovery and better intalls.

ASO – The Main Factors

Just as SEO has on-page and off-page optimization, App Store Optimization has its equivalent: on-metadata factors and off-metadata factors. What is the difference?

On-Metadata Factors

These are factors that you as the developer can directly influence or tweak. There are limitations as to what the you can change in the Google Play Console and Apple Store Connect; such as icon, title, subtitle, app size, description and other elements exclusive to each app marketplace. These are things you can setup in your My Projects page in your Andromo account.

Off-Metadata Factors

These are the elements that you, as an app developer, have no direct control over but can be influenced by good on-metadata ASO. Examples are reviews, ratings, number of downloads, and active app usage stats.

Important fact to remember: on-metadata has an impact on off-metadata

– Andromo ASO Guide Part 1

Let’s take a closer look at on-metadata:

Step 1. Keyword Research

On-metadata starts with keyword research and optimization.

You need to make it clear to the app store exactly what your app is about. Search for relevant keywords with high search volume but low in difficulty. You can use free keyword tools such as Google Keyword Planner or Ubersuggest.

Come up with a keyword list that you can use in several places: your brand name, app title, subtitle and app descriptions.

Always keep in mind, your app’s value, category or niche and match these with your target demographic. Here is where you can use a site like Reddit.

Go to a subreddit in your niche and get ideas on what people are talking about. Make sure that your copy resonates with your audience’s needs. People always get attracted to solutions. Even game can save you from boredom. They need to recognize what your app is about immediately they see your title.

Spy on your competitors with large download numbers and reviews. What keywords are they ranking for? Remember it is always a good thing to start with benchmarking what is already successful and then add extras to help you apart from them so users know why they should choose your app over theirs.

On the flipside, check negative reviews. This is a good source of information on what users could not find in existing apps or their frustrations with those available.

Get more keyword ideas by taking advantage of the autocomplete keyword suggestions in the app marketplace search bar. This is generated from computing through millions of user search data. It’s an excellent keyword source.

Here is a bonus: this is another free keyword tool for apps that you can use. Check out

If you’re new, stay away from general keywords and rather look for medium to long tail keywords with low difficulty but reasonable monthly search volume. As your app gains traction, you can always make changes because App Store Optimization is a continual process, just like SEO.

Did you enjoy our Part 1 of this series? In Part 2, we go further into the details on keyword research.

Mwenge Ngona

Mwenge Ngona

Head of Marketing at Andromo. Without marketing, we would never know anything about anything. Think about that. We'd be missing out on life!