Tag Archives: Search Engine Optimization

Generate Downloads with the Ultimate App Promotion Guide

App PromotionAs app developers, retaining an adept understanding of the marketing side of the business is of the utmost importance. An improperly promoted app, whether it’s good or not, will falter in the 6 million apps in app stores. Some larger companies can afford to outsource this work. Independent developers and companies developing apps for clients must have the knowledge to guide projects from development through release regardless of their expected level of involvement in enacting a release strategy. When developing your app, take into consideration our overview of app promotion strategies and best practices.

APP STORE OPTIMIZATION 

App Store Optimization is the bread and butter of all app marketing efforts. App stores are the largest driver of downloads for the vast majority of apps. When enacted properly, ASO will drive tens, hundreds, or even thousands of daily downloads from app stores depending on the search traffic of the keywords. Experienced developers create ASO strategies before they begin the programming process.

Selecting keywords is the first and most important process of ASO. Searches in the app store are typed out with thumbs rather than a full keyboard, thus thinking of key shorthand terms is vital to improving search rankings. Developers must evaluate the amount of search traffic for each keyword and how competitive that search traffic is. Pursuing high traffic search terms can backfire because apps can falter against the high level of competition. Developers should continually refine their keywords and have a strategy ready for when their apps improve in search rankings. Over time, apps grow stronger in app store search and can eventually rank for more competitive keywords. It’s vital for developers to constantly refine their ASO strategies and build toward more competitive search terms. Many companies create one strategy for when their apps are first entering the store and a separate strategy for when they improve in ASO strength and can compete with higher volume search terms.

ASO does not end with the release. Engagement signals like retention, number times people open the app, and length of usage increase app store rankings. Developers must constantly be working toward improving the UI of their apps, as retention will boost ASO.

PAID ADVERTISING

While paid advertising, specifically social media ads, can be a major driver of app downloads, it’s important to understand where paid advertising factors into the equation. Before enacting paid ads, developers should have established a proven revenue model and overall business model. How much revenue an app generates per download will dictate the paid advertising budget. Without a model for revenue per download, app promotion can quickly become too expensive to maintain and end up in the red.

THE BENEFITS OF A SOFT LAUNCH

A soft launch is when developers make their app available in app stores without any promotional push. The small set of users you acquire through a soft launch can act as an initial beta user group that will inform your understanding of how consumers are using your app.

App developers often come to realize a major disconnect between why they think their app is good versus the opinion of their users. Experienced developers make the most of their analytics and continuously dedicate resources to the iterative process of improving their apps.

THE DANGERS OF CROSS-PROMOTION

While cross-promotion is a popular tactic, it’s also one that can backfire. App developers find partners with relevant but separate audiences and promote traffic to one another’s pages or content. The key to cross-promotion is finding a partner with an audience that is going to give an equivalent amount of exposure. The potential pitfall is that when users redirect out of the app, it reduces retention, ultimately damaging ASO.

Rather than partner with another app or company, some developers elect to develop feeder games and alternate apps which cross-promote to one another, maximizing downloads without detracting from outside marketing efforts.

SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION

Many app developers promote their apps through their website with Google SEO, social media, content marketing & more. While some apps treat their website as a landing page with a large download button, there is much more that can be done. For example, hosting Youtube content or a blog on your site will draw users in to your brand and retain them on the web page.

Enacting SEO for your app store URL can be even more effective than for your website. App Store URLs can outrank websites in SEO because of the authoritative domain of iTunes and Google Play.

PUBLICITY AND OTHER ENTREPRENEURIAL METHODS

While effective ASO and app promotion can be done on a relatively low budget, app promotion doesn’t have to begin and end on the tech side of things. Many developers make a point of developing their public persona through social media and external publicity in order to foster an audience to whom they can later market their products.

THE ROAD TO SUCCESS

Ultimately, the road to success is not smooth, but bumpy. With the right mix of expert development, continuous maintenance, vigilance and dedication, an app can break through the sea of competition and become a profitable enterprise.

App Promotion Strategies and Best Practices

app-promotion-3

As app developers, retaining an adept understanding of the marketing side of the business is of the utmost importance. An improperly promoted app, whether it’s good or not, will falter in the 6 million apps in app stores. Some larger companies can afford to outsource this work. Independent developers and companies developing apps for clients must have the knowledge to guide projects from development through release regardless of their expected level of involvement in enacting a release strategy. When developing your app, take into consideration our overview of app promotion strategies and best practices.

APP STORE OPTIMIZATION 

App Store Optimization is the bread and butter of all app marketing efforts. App stores are the largest driver of downloads for the vast majority of apps. When enacted properly, ASO will drive tens, hundreds, or even thousands of daily downloads from app stores depending on the search traffic of the keywords. Experienced developers create ASO strategies before they begin the programming process.

Selecting keywords is the first and most important process of ASO. Searches in the app store are typed out with thumbs rather than a full keyboard, thus thinking of key shorthand terms is vital to improving search rankings. Developers must evaluate the amount of search traffic for each keyword and how competitive that search traffic is. Pursuing high traffic search terms can backfire because apps can falter against the high level of competition. Developers should continually refine their keywords and have a strategy ready for when their apps improve in search rankings. Over time, apps grow stronger in app store search and can eventually rank for more competitive keywords. It’s vital for developers to constantly refine their ASO strategies and build toward more competitive search terms. Many companies create one strategy for when their apps are first entering the store and a separate strategy for when they improve in ASO strength and can compete with higher volume search terms.

ASO does not end with the release. Engagement signals like retention, number times people open the app, and length of usage increase app store rankings. Developers must constantly be working toward improving the UI of their apps, as retention will boost ASO.

PAID ADVERTISING

While paid advertising, specifically social media ads, can be a major driver of app downloads, it’s important to understand where paid advertising factors into the equation. Before enacting paid ads, developers should have established a proven revenue model and overall business model. How much revenue an app generates per download will dictate the paid advertising budget. Without a model for revenue per download, app promotion can quickly become too expensive to maintain and end up in the red.

THE BENEFITS OF A SOFT LAUNCH

A soft launch is when developers make their app available in app stores without any promotional push. The small set of users you acquire through a soft launch can act as an initial beta user group that will inform your understanding of how consumers are using your app.

App developers often come to realize a major disconnect between why they think their app is good versus the opinion of their users. Experienced developers make the most of their analytics and continuously dedicate resources to the iterative process of improving their apps.

THE DANGERS OF CROSS-PROMOTION

While cross-promotion is a popular tactic, it’s also one that can backfire. App developers find partners with relevant but separate audiences and promote traffic to one another’s pages or content. The key to cross-promotion is finding a partner with an audience that is going to give an equivalent amount of exposure. The potential pitfall is that when users redirect out of the app, it reduces retention, ultimately damaging ASO.

Rather than partner with another app or company, some developers elect to develop feeder games and alternate apps which cross-promote to one another, maximizing downloads without detracting from outside marketing efforts.

SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION

Many app developers promote their apps through their website with Google SEO, social media, content marketing & more. While some apps treat their website as a landing page with a large download button, there is much more that can be done. For example, hosting Youtube content or a blog on your site will draw users in to your brand and retain them on the web page.

Enacting SEO for your app store URL can be even more effective than for your website. App Store URLs can outrank websites in SEO because of the authoritative domain of iTunes and Google Play.

PUBLICITY AND OTHER ENTREPRENEURIAL METHODS

While effective ASO and app promotion can be done on a relatively low budget, app promotion doesn’t have to begin and end on the tech side of things. Many developers make a point of developing their public persona through social media and external publicity in order to foster an audience to whom they can later market their products.

THE ROAD TO SUCCESS

Ultimately, the road to success is not smooth, but bumpy. With the right mix of expert development, continuous maintenance, vigilance and dedication, an app can break through the sea of competition and become a profitable enterprise.

SEO Pro Tips: Best Practices for Meta Descriptions

Last week, we explored the art of perfecting title tags for SEO dominance. This week, we’ll explore another vital meta tag: the meta description.

The meta description is the text that appears below the link in SERPs, as below:

Meta descriptions should be about 135 – 160 characters long, although Google has tested longer snippets. Any time quotes are used in the meta description, Google cuts the text off. To prevent meta descriptions from being cut off, it’s best to remove all non-alphanumeric characters.

Google uses meta descriptions to pull preview snippets on SERPs and return results when searchers use advanced search operators to match meta tag content, but unlike title tags, meta descriptions do not directly influence Google’s ranking algorithms for normal web search since meta description keywords are not ranked.

While meta descriptions do not directly affect SEO, they do indirectly impact it. The prominence of meta descriptions in SERPs makes them a very valuable UX component and a tool for enticing searchers. While keywords do not affect ranking, they are bolded in the meta-description, which attracts the eye and can help influence a searcher’s decision to click. Thus the use of keywords in meta descriptions can be beneficial to increasing Click Through Rate (CTR). The Click-Through-Rate is the ratio of searchers who click on a page compared to how many searchers see it. CTR is highly valued in search rankings. Since meta descriptions are one of the first things that a searcher will see, they can influence them to click, increasing CTR and boosting SEO.

The ideal meta description articulates the value proposition which a company or web page offers in a precise way while taking into consideration the competition that the page is up against in SERPs. It assumes an active voice and includes a call to action. Web developers can enrich a meta description by using schema markups like star ratings, customer ratings, or product information, to increase the appeal. See below for example:

Image via Google Support

Sometimes meta descriptions are unnecessary. Moz advises if a page is targeting between one and three high volume search terms or phrases, it’s best to write a meta description targeting users performing those searches. If the web page is targeting long-tail traffic (three or more keywords, like a blog with hundreds of entries), it may be best to let the search engines extract the relevant text from the site since they will pull text specifically targeting the user’s search. A blog might be targeting one audience in their keywords, but have content on so many topics, they can be found through any number of search terms. A meta description specified for a page with a lot of content may detract from the relevance that the search engine can create organically by pulling a text description from the page which is relevant to the specific search.

Like title tags, repeating meta descriptions or making them incomprehensible will result in penalization from Google. Meta descriptions can be tricky since they are longer and a bad meta description can be worse than none at all. With the right title tags and website content, meta descriptions can be a major UX tool to drive traffic to a web page.

SEO Pro Tips: Perfecting the Title Tag

Over 100 billion searches per month are made on Google worldwide. Search Engine Optimization (or SEO) has become one of the top marketing disciplines for anyone trying to drive web page traffic and digital revenue.

Title tags are one of the most important facets of SEO. Title tags are the titles of web pages that display in search engine results pages (SERPs) and as the clickable headline for a given result. They are the most obvious element in a search result and are pulled to the forefront of SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages). They display as below:

Social networks use title tags to determine what to display in the link preview when you share a page:

Title tags are extremely important for SEO, social sharing, and UX. They are one of the major on-page SEO elements. Keywords in title tags will factor heavily into a web page’s rank in any keyword-based search query.

Below find some of the best practices for crafting the perfect title tag.

KEYWORD EFFECTIVELY: Since title tags have a direct affect on SEO, effective keywording is crucial. Putting important keywords in the front of the title tag will increase SEO rankings, while keywords and search phrases at the end of the title tag will be less of a factor. For this very reason, it is best to put a company or website name at the end of the title tag, unless that name is an important keyword phrase. Keyword stuffing, or overloading keywords without making sense, will result in penalization. Ultimately, keywording effectively means writing clearly to an intended audience while factoring in important search phrases.

OPTIMIZING LENGTH: Title tags are not measured by length, but by a 600-pixel limit. Pixels do not equate to characters since certain letters require more pixels to compose than others. 600 pixels generally equate to about 50-60 characters. Measuring pixels can be made easy with this pixel length measurement tool by Search Wilderness.

RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH: Statistics show 48% of marketers worldwide identified keyword/phrase research as the most effective SEO tactic. Effective research means honing in on your audience and enacting relevant keyword searches to observe the organic search competition. It is also important to note the inorganic competition: promoted ads for web pages that are boosted to the top of searches by Google AdWords.

Having a solid understanding of what a web page is up against in search engines helps web developers optimize their pages to stand out in the face of the competition. Since the competition and search rankings are constantly changing, research is an ongoing process. 34% of marketers cite frequent website updates as a key to their success.

PIPES “|”: Pipes can be used to punctuate and divide sentiments while minimizing punctuation and word count. See below for an example:

As with any copywriting, writing for an audience is crucial. Since the Title Tag is often the first thing a search user will see about your website, it is ultimately very important that it clearly communicates the subject of the web page and entices the intended searcher. Effective title tags are the first step on the way to SEO dominance.

Stay tuned for next time when we explore how to write an effective meta description!

A Guide to Promotional Writing Part 4: Attract Traffic With Compelling Website Copy

The Mystic Media Blog will be devoting our expertise into a five-part series of articles detailing the ins and outs of Promotional Writing. The series will cover several topics, including general techniques, suggested processespress releases, , website copy writing, and social media. Last week, we covered how to generate publicity by writing an effective press release.

Website copywriting is perhaps the most common form of promotional writing. The internet is an international hub for both information and e-commerce. Websites are created everyday to advertise and offer services, products, and information. They can be created for businesses, blogs, applications, social media, contests, specific products, and more. All websites share one common goal: attract the target audience. Whether a website is attempting to sell something or simply relay valuable information, the goal is to attract as many relevant viewers to the site as possible and entice them with effective copy writing. In this article, we will detail techniques for achieving this goal.

Know the Ideal Reader

As with any piece of promotional writing, it’s crucial to know the target audience before starting. The ideal reader should feel the copywriting was crafted specifically for them. Make an outline describing the ideal reader. Will the content of the site appeal specifically to men or women? What industry might this person work in? What is their socio-economic class? What degree of education did they receive? What brought them to the site?

Once all these questions are answered, elaborate on the relevance. A person’s line of business would affect the type of humor you’d consider writing into the copy. Their level of education would affect whether the writing is designed to appease a standard for intelligent writing, or to simply be clear and understandable to the common man.

Upon becoming familiar with the Ideal Reader, outline the Desired Action Response. Would the ideal response be an immediate purchase? Would it be to inquire more about the services outlined in the copy? Is the copy intended to lead the reader elsewhere on the site, perhaps to the services section or pricing?

Every sentence should be contribute to generating the Desired Action Response. At the end of any given page should be a Call-to-Action making the Desired Action Response one click away.

Detail Features and Translate to Benefits

If the copy is advertising a product or service, the main purpose of the piece will be to accurately detail the features of the product or service and translate them into benefits. Before writing, finalize the research and create a full list of features and specifications regarding the product or service.

We touched upon the process of translating features to benefits in Part 2 of our Promotional Writing Series: Perfecting the Method, but it’s too important to skip over in this article. Once you’ve written out the features, it’s vital to translate them into benefits.

Readers are selfish. People don’t read web pages out of consideration for the writer, they read things they think will be relevant to them. Instead of simply listing the features of a product or service, explicitly link them to benefits which make it easy for the reader to imagine how the product or service could enrich their lives.

The research is often the meat and bones of the piece. Once all necessary information is detailed, the rest is easy.

Avoid Hyperbolic Description

One of the most commonly made mistakes in copywriting is overselling. Copywriters will dress up the product or service they are representing with an abundance of hyperbolic adjectives. Writers are eager to refer to a product as “innovative,” “cutting-edge,” or a “breakthrough” because it makes their job easier. Readers today are too smart to be persuaded by hyperbolic description. They want the facts. If you save them time by giving it to them straight, they are more likely to believe in what is written about the product.

Check out this great article on avoiding meaningless marketing jargon.

Optimize for Google

Google is a direct path to information. On average, Google processes over 40,000 search queries every second, 3.5 billion searches per day, and 1.2 trillion searches per year. Optimizing copy for Google is vital to attracting visitors searching for the product, solution, or information offered on your website.

The first step toward SEO is to identify keywords pertaining to the subject of the copy. The best way to find keywords is to rely on your intuition and search what anyone would search if they were looking for the subject of your copy. Through Google searching, anyone can also find the top competitors and identify what keywords they are using to attract visitors. Once the key search terms have been identified, ensure they are sprinkled in throughout the copy. Remember, it’s not worth it to sacrifice the integrity of the copy with keyword stacking. As with most aspects of life, a healthy balance is crucial.

Keywords aren’t the only factor which goes into SEO. It’s also important to write an attention-grabbing headline and effective meta data. More than anything, the writer must ensure that the content itself is relevant and informative to the ideal reader.

For more on SEO, check out this great informative article.

Presentation Is King

Short, concise paragraphs with direct points entice readers. Consider ways of spacing out copy to make writing as consumable as possible. Readers love lists and paragraph headings because they allow them the privilege of deciphering what is relevant to them and choosing what to read.

Next week, we’ll conclude our Promotional Writing series with an entry on writing for Social Media. Stay tuned!

At Mystic Media, our vast experience in strategic marketing and application development has given us expertise on all formats of promotional writing: from copy writing, search engine optimization, social media marketing, web design, and more. Learn more by clicking here or contacting us by phone at 801.994.6815

App Store Optimization Part 3: Boost Your App’s Profile, Increase Downloads and Generate Better Ratings

In an effort to emphasize the importance of App Store Optimization, the Mystic Media Blog is applying its expertise into a six-part series on the topic. In our previous entry “Master the Art of Writing a Catchy Title and Effective Keywords”, we detailed the ins and outs of the two primary factors in ASO: Title and Keywords. This week, in Part Three, we will focus on the other factors which have less of a direct impact on ASO, but nonetheless are vital to how an app store user perceives your app.

You can control the title of your app, the keywords, and the content of the app itself; however, the amount of downloads and ratings & reviews your app receives might seem out of your control. While they have less of a direct impact on ASO than what we’ve identified as the primary factors: title and keywords, downloads and ratings still retain a big impact on the viewer. A poorly reviewed app is not likely to get downloaded in a competitive environment, and an app with too few reviews and downloads is easy to dismiss. So how do you boost your app’s profile? There are a few tricks we’ll list here, but there is no easy method. Ultimately, a smart, efficient marketing campaign combined with well-executed ASO will boost the profile of your app and create a snowball effect leading to increased popularity.

If an app ranks highly in the app store AND has excellent reviews, regardless of the amount downloads, a user is likely to take a chance on it in hopes of discovering something new and unique rather than settling for the most popular incarnation of the app function they seek.  Studies also show apps with more positive ratings rank higher in the app store. Thus, it’s important for developers to harvest a wealth of positive reviews for their app as they launch an external marketing campaign. The baseline any developer needs to generate positive reviews is a good app, but assuming the app is functional, useful, and intuitive, the trouble becomes coaxing the user into rating your app without coming across as too pushy.

There are a variety of tactics to tackle the ratings problem. Any given developer likely will use social media for promotion, asking their friends and followers to download and rate the app. Many app developers choose to install a code which prompts the user to rate the app. When installing such code, one should make sure the message doesn’t prompt the user until the user has had the app installed for a sufficient amount of time (we recommend at least one week). This increases the likelihood the user enjoys the app and simultaneously eliminates users who install the app briefly.

The developer also has the choice of using either a boring, more standard prompt such as “Would you please rate [insert app name]?” or a more colorful one. Apptentive offers an intelligent ratings prompt which uses messages like “Do you love [insert app name]?” A cheeky message like this only redirects users who have positive feelings about your app to the app store ratings section (if they tap “no”, they are not redirected). Developers are also known to use incentives to boost ratings, such as free points or an alternate avatar in a game.

The app’s profile is ultimately one of the major factors in app marketing which influences the amount of downloads an app receives. The creation of an app’s profile in the app store should be directed with the goal of creating the most enticing presentation for viewers. An app’s profile includes the app icon, screenshots, description, and a video in Google Play. An app icon is worth making a solid investment. App icons should not use words, but should present a compelling image consistent with the UI design and color scheme in the app. Screenshots should demonstrate the most eye-catching visuals as well as display how the app functions. Description should be a concise, attention-grabbing detail of the app’s function and features. As we covered last week, it’s important for descriptions in Google Play to utilize keywords, while curators in Apple’s App Store don’t necessarily search for keywords in app descriptions.

Boosting an app’s number of downloads in service of ASO is tricky. ASO will increase the amount downloads you receive, and yet the amount of downloads will in turn raise your ranking in the search strings. A good marketing campaign backed up by an optimized profile with a top-tier icon and an enticing description will draw viewers in and increase their chances of downloading your app. One of the best ways to improve the profile of your app is to become featured in the app store’s landing page, a prime position which gives your app the most visibility possible. The trick to that… will be covered in the next installment of our ASO blog series. Stay tuned!

At Mystic Media, we have the cross-functional expertise and experience in marketing, mobile application design, and search engine optimization necessary to both create, optimize, and market a hit application. Contact us today by clicking here or by phone at 801.994.6815