Your business spent months working on an app, but guess what no one, not even your mom because she can’t find it, is downloading.
So where did you go wrong? It sounds like you missed a critical step — App Store Optimizations.
The importance of ASO cannot be undersold. Sixty-three percent of apps are discovered through app store searches. Searches make up the majority installations. Unfortunately, most developers and publishers are not properly leveraging app store optimizations, instead of waiting on consumers to come to them.
There are four main factors to consider for ASO.
By utilizing knowledge gained from keyword research, you’ll have insight on the best keywords and phrases to include in your app’s title. The keyword with the heaviest search traffic should be incorporated in the title. It’s important to keep in mind that changing the title, can negatively impact your App’s rankings, so researching the keyword with the most traffic will be worth the time investment.
Relevant keywords which are used by your target audience must be incorporated in the title. It’s also important to monitor competitors’ keywords to understand how you compare.
Tips for App Keyword Research
First, make a list of the words and phrases most people will use searching for your app, products and services. Next, we run an analysis on competitors’ sites to find additional keywords and phrases that app store users may be interested in. Analyze the information for frequency and impressions. New keywords can be integrated into app store descriptions and information, where appropriate.
Number of Downloads
Apps with more downloads rank higher for competitive keywords. However, the number of downloads is something you won’t be able to control. So making sure title and keywords are relevant to an app store users’ intent is critical.
Ratings and Reviews
Similar to “Number of Downloads,” these are difficult to control, yet you can create ways to encourage satisfied users to rate and review your app. Apps with higher ratings will also rank higher for competitive keywords.
How to Improve and Maintain ASO
Place the most relevant keyword in your title, regardless of keyword difficulty.
Track your keywords and the movement of your competitors. Use tools like Tune’s App Store Analytics to track search rankings, select and analyze keywords. Having a firm grasp on what’s driving competitors success will help you understand your position and the best way to improve current rankings.
Overstuffing content with keywords that force “creative” descriptions will deter users from downloading and engaging with your app. SEO keyword density does not work for ASO. Keep descriptions brief, while explaining user benefits.
Smart News utilizes best practices in its app description. The statement highlights awards and importance in users’ lives, as well as showcasing the app’s unique features. Smart News differs from other news apps by being customizable, providing offline Reading options, etc. The developers take the opportunity to clearly state how the app differs from other news outlets with brief, strong statements.
Number of Downloads
Since you have less control over this, marketing the App/brand to increase awareness and appeal will improve this metric. Use compelling images, ratings and reviews. Leverage a strong social media presence promoting app downloads.
Ratings and Reviews
For customers who are unhappy with your app, create a place where they can talk with developers to answer questions/share their needs. Create incentives to encourage happy customers to leave feedback and reviews.
Hotel Tonight provides clear opportunities in the App Store to write reviews and also contact the App Support team. This eliminates users’ needs to perform an online search to report issues or ask questions related to concerns they may have regarding the app.
Make sure your App speaks to your users’ language. Leverage keyword research to communicate/market to your target audiences in specific countries (include the region’s language as well).
Understanding how App stores categorize and the limits allow you to properly categorize your app and lead to advantages. Using a tool like Leaderboard allows you to see the competition for each category. Starting with a less competitive category will allow you to increase rankings and your ability to get into the app store’s Top Charts list.
ASO in APP Store vs. Google Play Store
How does ASO differ in Apple’s App store versus Google Play? The differences are mainly between each store’s algorithm and descriptions.
Apple App Store – Apple is more auto-centered in its rankings, but the App’s iTunes App page needs to be carefully maintained regarding SEO.
Google Play Store – Google’s Algorithm is more complex and integrates more external factors that are difficult to control. Link Building is important in Google Play since this closely relates to Google Search Engine and Google+.
Need more insight on app store optimizations? Don’t hesitate to reach out to our strategists with questions. Also, don’t forget about App Store Search Ads. They’re a great way to engage with consumers searching for your app.
Your Quality Score is the type of tool that will provide you with a huge amount of valuable data that you just won’t find anywhere else. However, it’s always important to understand that NOT every metric you now have in front of you will necessarily be relevant to what you’re trying to accomplish. Improving the overall health and effectiveness of your campaign ultimately requires you to know WHICH Quality Score metrics are the ones that you should be paying attention to and which are ones that have no affect on your overall Quality Score.
Quality Score Metrics That Matter
- Expected CTR. This is a very straightforward measurement of how likely it is that someone will click on your ad when it is displayed during a search for a particular keyword. This is essentially the “be all, end all” Quality Score metric and one that you should be focused on driving as high as it will go at all times.
- Ad Relevance. This is a measurement of how closely your particular ad matches what the user was searching for in the first place. This ties directly into your expected CTR rate.
- Landing Page Experience. This will give you an idea of how “successful” your landing page is in terms of how relevant the content is, how easy the page itself is to use and navigate, transparency and more.
Quality Score Metrics You Should Really Consider
These metrics aren’t necessarily as important as the ones we just listed but are still ones that you should carefully consider anyway.
- Relevance to User Intentions. This will tell you how likely it is that your ads (and your site in general) will actually help users complete the job that they’re trying to do in the first place. The higher this climbs, the higher your ad quality will climb as a result.
- Newly Launched Keywords and Performance on Related Keywords. This helps present new keywords from being measured from scratch and instead compares them against historical data relating to similar ads, landing pages and more.
Quality Score Metrics That DO NOT Matter
We’re not saying that these metrics don’t provide you with valuable information. We’re just saying that these metrics, currently available within AdWords and Bing, don’t actually affect your Quality Score in any way that you need to be concerned with.
- User Devices. Whether your users are on an iPhone 6 or an iPhone 6 Plus doesn’t directly affect your Quality Score. However, the larger idea of user devices is closely considered when determining whether or not your website is mobile friendly.
- Running Your Ads in Other Networks. If you’re using your AdWords account to target Google’s search partners or even the Google Display Network, this ultimately won’t affect the quality of your ads on Google.com in any appreciable way.
- Ad Placement. While it’s true that position does play a big role in CTR, having a high position does NOT guarantee that your ad is going to perform well. Because of this, you really don’t need to go out of your way to bid for higher positions if you’re JUST concerned with increasing your Quality Score.
Evolve Digital Labs’ Resources
Keyword research is an important concept for SEO, arguably the most important. It ultimately serves as the basis for all online strategies that follow, because it is the most in tune Voice-of-the-Customer data that a company can acquire from their customers. But it is a pretty daunting task for non-experts, to collect and organize this critical data set. That includes drawing takeaways, much less getting into the mind of consumers in search. Like any skill worth learning, keyword research requires practice and discipline.
Why Should I Care?
Keywords = People. Keywords are not a list of characters used manipulate search engines (or, at least, they shouldn’t be), and they aren’t industry speak. Behind keyword data are literal people conducting searches for products and services like yours. So what can we learn from their input?
Making a website search friendly means making it available to those people who need it. The way we do that is to look at company goals and align those goals with keywords that are actually being searched.
But How to Find Keywords?
Keyword research is neither a quick nor easy process. But it’s also not rocket science (anyone that says so might need a humility check). By following the steps below, anyone can establish some basic keyword research to use as a foundation for website content.
Core terms are words that describe your services. These don’t have to be perfect a you can modify them and find the most searched versions of them later. However, take a few minutes to think about the most important services for which your company (or client’s company) is trying to rank in search. Think broad and high-level terms, as these, will serve as the basis for online marketing campaigns. Put these initial ideas down in a spreadsheet and keep them in mind.
Take a look at Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools and compare the data with these core terms. In Google Analytics, look at the organic search keywords driving traffic to your website. In Webmaster Tools, look for terms that are getting the most impressions and highest click-through rate to your site. *Side note: You will notice a little thing called “(Not Provided)”. This represents data that Google is withholding because the user was logged into a Google account when conducting the search.
You will also probably notice that it represents a large number of your visits. Unfortunately, Google still owns the rights to its data, and can continue to limit access to it, so this chunk cannot be seen in Analytics.* Not finding your core terms in GA or WMT? Translation: You are not showing up in search results for core product/service terms. This means your website might need a major rehaul in terms of content. If most of the terms people search to reach your site are your brand name or branded services, this means a couple of things.
First, the traffic coming to your site is already aware of your brand, and interested. Second, by not targeting service keywords, you’re missing out on the opportunity of reaching everyone who DOESN’T know your brand. Finding your core terms? Great! But you aren’t finished yet. In many instances, the terms that people think they should be ranking for either:
- Have little to no search volume, meaning that people aren’t searching the same way you are talking on your website, or…
- Are super competitive, meaning you have little chance to rank in search engines for these terms without dishing out serious cash for a paid search campaign.
In order to reach a wider range of potential audience members, you will need to rank for terms that you may not have thought of initially, potentially a lot of them. The next steps will lay out the process of finding more terms relating to these core terms.
A competitor in this instance refers to another website ranking for your key service terms. Conduct a Google search for some of the terms established in steps 1 and 2. Look for repetition in search results. The websites ranking for a few of your core services are your competitors. Granted, you may not have heard of them, but in the online realm, they are grabbing your potential organic search traffic, which translates to your potential customers. Once you have established 3-5 competitors, use the Keyword Tool in Google Adwords.
This is a free tool that anyone with a Gmail or Google account can use. Type the URLs of competitors into the section labeled “Website.”
This will populate keyword terms that are used throughout the site. Make sure that you select the “Keyword Ideas” tab and all three match types (seen below) in order to populate the most results.
Download these results in a CSV file, and scrape the terms to get rid of any that do not apply. Rinse and repeat for other competitors, combining each into one giant spreadsheet and getting rid of duplicates.
For any given category of terms that you discover, circle directly back to the keyword tool. This time, enter a handful of these terms into the box that says “Word or Phrase.” Separate them by one keyword per line.
This will populate related search terms that your competitors may not have targets on their sites. Add these results to your existing spreadsheet, de-dup, and scrub for irrelevant terms.
Go to Google, start entering a key term, but don’t press enter. The results that show up in that drop down menu are called aGoogle Instant results and represent the most searched variations of the term which you have started to enter. This will show you tons of variations of this term, usually all with significant search volume.
Rinse and repeat with these results until you are no longer getting new search terms. Once again, circle back to the keyword tool and add your new terms to the mix. Expand that spreadsheet and scrub some more.
When you conduct a Google search for a key term, scroll all the way to the bottom of the page. Here you will see a list of related search terms (seen below).
Start from scratch with each of these that apply. Enter them into Google for Instant results, and dump into the keyword tool with related terms. Continue to combine these with your existing keyword spreadsheet.
Ubersuggest.org is another free tool that allows you to expand on existing keywords and see related terms with significant search volume.
One handy feature with UberSuggest is the ability to select a group of keywords, click “Get” and copy and paste into the Keyword Tool. This helps you easily pick out the terms that are searched often each month but are also not too competitive.
These are all free keyword tools anyone can use to understand their target audience and develop a content strategy. Keyword research is the core of Search success because everything is (should be) developed only after this critical step is completed. Then you can work generating content that will truly fill a need for your consumers. After that, you can leverage it for outreach, drawing more traffic and authority to your website.
Content Marketing Works
First let me defuse those fuming. Ok, so content marketing works. For Evolve Digital Labs, as a brand, the value of content creation is clear. However, we have witnessed and experienced first hand how quickly the value of content can change. For better or worse.
The Scale of Content Production
When EDL first rolled out a list of services content marketing offered hope to challenged brands and small companies. It provided the opportunity to be found and be useful. That same opportunity exists today, the challenge now, is the average enterprise company has figured this out as well. So just like the production challenges the SMB against enterprise, content for the purpose of digital transformation has become a war of scale.
The Value of Search Engine Result Pages
We look at a web page differently than most. It is an asset, a business asset. And assets are meant to be monetized. In fact, that is really the entire game of business, how can I increase the value of X, while I make it for less. SERPs are no different, in fact, Google is kind enough to do the heavy lifting for you, if you are willing to pay.
So why not determine the most valuable assets at your disposal online and work towards reducing the cost of sale, while increasing the value? Can a single piece of content do that? In most cases the answer is no. Especially today, when your industry leaders have started to drive up the price of admission for everyone else.
Queries Change, Jobs Don’t
I place the obsession of keywords squarely on the search professionals. Not Google. Over time the search professional convinced the sales and marketing teams that keywords are one-to-one with a customer trying to buy or solve a problem. That keywords should be one-to-one with pages, content, rankings.
That’s a myopic and dangerous perspective. We aren’t in the search marketing business; we are in the growth business. We are not in the ranking business, we sell. We are not in the content marketing business, we help companies, including ourselves, build products and experiences online that increase the value of their presence.
It’s the Music, Not the Tape
The real issue with content marketing and why we stopped investing so much time in content creation ourselves can best be demonstrated by the music industry. When you write a blog post, create an infographic, make a video or whatever piece of content you can possibly dream up, chances are you created material that at best is the means to the end.
People want less of the how-to and more of the tada. Most of the content we are tirelessly creating has a finite shelf life. Just like every cassette I’ve owned. There are classic albums, that have been produced on every distributable medium possible and people who have purchased them all.
They don’t really want the record, the cassette, cd, or even the mp3. They want the music, the ability to take it with them, and the consumption of a product that satisfies an unmet need only satisfied by Miles Davis, Pink Floyd, or The Beatles.
Evolve Digital Labs is committed to getting a job done, not just satisfying a single query. We are in pursuit of a classic.
“Where can I find _________?” It’s a simple question more consumers are asking every day.
It’s also the biggest quandary your team should address before launching your next PPC campaign. What does the potential customer want? What are they seeking out? How can we provide an instantly clear answer, which in turn makes a website visitor a loyal supporter?
Even with defined objectives, paid search can quickly devour a marketing budget, if not executed properly, and analyzed for true effectiveness.
These are the five critical steps to take before launching your next campaign.
- Know the total market opportunity, as well as the true market opportunity. Appealing to the right audience will make ad spending more efficient while increasing qualified leads.
- Form a plan of attack, including budget and management priorities, with detailed information on strategy delegation. Clear objectives will make the process easier to execute, and create a system of accountability, within your organization.
- Divide and conquer, by segmenting the audience and determining the language that resonates within each market. Even though the demographics for some targets will be the same, keep in mind the outcomes through search will be different.
- Build a strategic framework that is outcome-based, with optimization centered on consumer needs.
- Determine the tools you’ll use to track results, including high-level metrics, KPIs and lead funnel reports, which should highlight the best areas for new business opportunities.
Evolve Digital Labs is delivering intense growth using the tactics listed above as well as new proprietary software, called Modus.
Modus is a tool to manage campaign resources, report on the marketing opportunity and capitalize on predictable revenue streams.
Learn more about Modus.
For many brands, use of Tracking URLs (also known as UTM Parameters) has become the norm. Individuals and companies use them to track email marketing, Paid Search campaigns, press releases, and even blog posts.
Used strategically, Tracking URLs can not only provide essential campaign data, they can also allow you to turn that data into decision-making results for yourself and your clients. The data Tracking URLs could potentially provide include:
- Sources that drive the most traffic
- Differences in the number of clicks among ads
- The format of the source (Banner, link, post)
There tends to be some confusion when it comes to tracking URLs so let’s start at the beginning. It’s not as intimidating as you may think!
What is a tracking URL?
A Tracking URL is simply a website address (URL) that’s been supplemented with parameters to reveal information through Google Analytics. Without Tracking URLs, it would be very difficult to understand points of entrance to your website. For example, if you see 1,000 visitors to domain.com/blog, there’s no deeper understanding of how that traffic is coming to your site. Adding parameters makes it easier to gauge the performance of various mediums, sources, and messaging, which is especially necessary for managing a Paid Search campaign. A Tracking URL leads visitors to the same page as the normal URL, but Google Analytics works in the background to capture the unique campaign data that’s attached to the URL. That being said, in order for Tracking URLs to provide any meaningful data, it is essential that Google Analytics be installed properly across every page of your website.
How do you make one?
Believe it or not, it’s pretty simple to create and use a Tracking URL. There are several tools available, but the one we commonly use is the Google URL Builder.
Say I wrote the best blog post ever and wanted to drive visitors to my post through a Paid Search campaign. Because Iam spending money, I need to evaluate ROI at the end of the campaign by creating Tracking URLs that allow me to see where readers come from before reading my blog. To do that, I will add information to the fields Google has displayed, including “source,” “medium,” and “campaign.”
The end result is this:
- The “Source” parameter is used to identify the last place visited before a person reached your website. I have set my source field to “Google” since visitors will be coming from a Google search, but other example sources could include “November-Newsletter” or “Twitter.” /blog/url-tracking?utm_source=Google&utm_medium=PPC&utm_campaign=BlogEducation
- “Medium” identifies the way in which the visitor arrived at that source. In our example, they clicked on a paid search ad, which is why our medium is set to “PPC”: /blog/url-tracking?utm_source=Google&utm_medium=PPC&utm_campaign=BlogEducation
- The “Campaign” parameter is used to identify different campaigns and/or marketing tactics used to drive traffic to your site. In our example, my campaign is called BlogEducation: http://domain.com/blog/url-tracking?utm_source=Google&utm_medium=PPC&utm_campaign=BlogEducation
Note: Notice the way the campaign is labeled “BlogEducation.” This is deliberate. First of all, there cannot be any spaces in a URL. Second, Google Analytics is case sensitive. These are important to remember when creating Tracking URLs. However, you label the parameters in your URL is exactly what will appear in Google Analytics. To see the traffic to my site from this blog post, I would look under Acquisition > Campaigns, then search for the name of the campaign in the search bar.
Make sure to adopt a standard naming convention, as it will help with analyzing data. If you do any importing, exporting, sorting, or filtering of data in spreadsheets, you will quickly learn what misspellings can do to the amount of time it takes to sift through it all. If I wanted to look back at my PPC campaign and see the results, I can search for “BlogEducation.” However, if I happen to misspell it or use all lowercase, “blogeducation,” it will appear as if I have two separate campaigns. I would then have to manually merge the data to get a clear picture of my campaign results. I recommend keeping an organized spreadsheet of all tracking URLs. This makes it easy to look back and find any errors. It also provides a point of reference for all tracking efforts and will help to maintain uniformity. Even when sharing content through social media, you can assemble a library of Tracking URLs that should be used according to the post and social media website.
Hopefully now you have a better understanding of Tracking URLs. For most beginners, the best way to understand the value is to start building trackable URLs and see the data populate over time in Google Analytics. There are plenty of great resources out on the web regarding this topic. Google support can provide answers to most questions regarding analytics. Finally, Google Chrome has a URL Builder extension you can add onto your browser, making URL building a piece of cake.
We want to share how a client saw positive results quickly, and what steps Evolve took to make it happen.
When we first talked to VetRxDirect, a national online pet pharmacy, we discovered the site had been experiencing a harmful drop in traffic due to Google’s Panda update. This notorious change to its algorithm allowed Google to fight against promoting alow quality websites in search results. The change was especially hard for ecommerce websites, which often unintentionally experience duplicate content or thin pages.
Since the decrease in organic traffic, VetRxDirect had been relying on paid search for much of its inbound visitors, but as any business knows, paid search can quickly devour a marketing budget, especially if it is not optimized.
Understanding Our Client’s Goals
The most important objectives were to remedy the drop in traffic (and revenue) from the Panda update and to better understand visitor behavior. Our client was also skeptical of Evolve’s ability to decrease the cost per click (CPC) for the paid search ads.
Developing a Strategy to Meet Goals
As a Google Partner agency, Evolve has a strong track record of driving revenue through paid search. Our experts build flawless campaigns that target the right customers and drive to strategic landing pages. In the case of VetRxDirect, we were able to quickly find and eliminate waste in paid search efforts. Refining the campaigns with up-to-date keyword research allowed our PPC team to lower the cost per click and optimize the cost per conversion.
An efficient paid search campaign does more than drive leads and revenue; it also provides visitor behavior insight that can be applied to organic efforts. We explained to our client that paid search improvements would deliver a clearer understanding of the needs and online patterns of its primary customer.
Research from the Online Market Audit delivers critical insight regarding the online opportunity for VetRxDirect to make cost-effective decisions online, including:
- Online investment
- Continued growth
As mentioned, Evolve’s paid search team fulfilled paid search campaign improvements, which consisted of keyword research, positive/negative keyword expansion and enhanced messaging. The result was a lowered cost per click and a higher conversion rate.
We are still preparing an Online Market Audit for this client, but the initial success in paid search is already exceeding online lead generation goals. We are confident that the results from the existing campaigns foretell success for VetRxDirectas future organic traffic and revenue.
To learn how your organization can benefit from the services Evolve provides, fill out the form below or call us at 1-844-Go-Evolve.
And if you are in need of medication for your pet, we know a guy.
At Evolve Digital Labs we pride ourselves on keyword research. It’s a critical component of SEO audits and a benefit for brands to make sure they are targeting the correct audience. Keyword research is the foundation for implementing successful paid search campaigns and bolstering website content which drives conversions.
Advantages for Higher Education
The advantages of thoughtful and efficient keyword research for Higher Education institutes cannot be undersold. Universities both large and small are facing shrinking budgets, and an applicant pool, which assumes the education investment, is not worth the cost.
Those contributing factors make marketing initiatives all the more important, especially as it relates to cost-efficiency. Our goal in executing keyword research is to determine the terms and phrases prospective students are searching for to find a solution. Keyword research needs to be at the core of the marketing plan to ensure organizations are getting the most traffic for their investment.
Evolve Digital Labs analyzes five components for keyword research, including search volume by keyword, organic difficulty, client’s customers, client’s products/services and the client’s consumer path.
By segmenting keywords into campaigns we’re able to assess phrases in terms of search volume and organic difficulty.
Search volume relies on the number of national searches for a term each month, these terms are often broad vs. very specific queries for a brand or product – thus they are harder to rank for.
Organic difficulty is set up on a zero to 100 scale, with 100 being the most difficult. Organic difficulty is calculated based upon the total effort of competition in the search engines. Because the scale is incremental, ranking organically for high difficulty terms should be considered a long-term goal.
In this case, the phrases at the top are paid, while those below ranked organically. There are a few colleges listed, vs. Wikipedia entries, and media articles. The organic difficulty for the term “MBA Program” and the search volume are both high, meaning ranking or moving up on the SERP will take time.
Higher Education marketing keyword research has multiple applications for growth in terms of both paid and organic strategies.
Paid Search Application
Like other businesses higher education organizations will have keywords which are difficult to rank for organically. Improving a website’s authority, to be capable of ranking in organic positions for recommended terms, requires a strategic plan and can be time-consuming. Paid search offers the flexibility of short-term exposure to targeted audiences, as organic efforts get underway. In cases where pages do rank organically, paid search for targeted “brand” terms may still be used to keep competitors from stealing prospective traffic.
Organic Search Application
Organic strategy should start by targeting terms from the keyword research that contain moderate search volume and moderate to low organic difficulty. Those keywords will allow for “quick wins” on the search engine results page, while concurrent site improvements and content optimization will help organizations eventually rank for significant more difficult terms.
For some universities keyword research may only be a component of paid search, but it should be at the forefront of all aspects of a higher education marketing plan.
Download our FREE online market audit checklist to learn more about our approach and how we can help your organic and paid search efforts.
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