With mobile usage increasing 30% year-over-year, more people use their mobile devices to perform web searches than any other platform.
Google recently updated their mobile search algorithm to include the results of not only websites but also apps – plus the app results come with an install button! It’s become more important than ever for your OTT app to show up in the search engine results if you want to increase installs.
According to a Google study, 27% of users discover apps while browsing search engines with their mobile devices. Considering that Google only introduced this feature recently, this number is sure to increase dramatically.
It’s no longer enough to rank high in the app stores, you also need to visible on mobile searches. Otherwise, you will be losing access to almost 30% of your potential user base.
In this article, we’ll look how you can increase awareness of your OTT app by merging your ASO efforts with SEO strategy.
Search Engine Optimization
Can I Snippet? (Yes, you can)
The most common search result for an app-related search is a single snippet. It contains the app’s name, number of ratings + average rating and a text fragment describing the app, followed by an install button.
A single snippet is usually a result of a search for an app, however it can show up with some app-specific searches, together with the App Packs.
What’s an App Pack?
An App Pack is a group of suggested apps suggested by Google and appearing on the mobile search result page.
It can include 3 or 6 apps relevant to the search keyword and generally featured at the top of the SERP, however it can also appear in the middle or the end of the page.
Each app in the pack contains an app name, icon, rating, and price. In case more than 6 apps are represented, an expansion arrow is included so users can load the other results.
App packs are OS and device specific and link directly to the corresponding app store listing (Apple App Store or Google Play).
Searchmetrics has found that one in ten mobile searches in Google includes an App Pack. This number will only increase, as more and more OTT marketers implement SEO and ASO strategies to boost mobile search visibility.
App Packs are usually displayed when the user is clearly searching for an application or task that can be performed by an app. Examples include “free movies”, “tv apps”, or kids games”.
Does your OTT app appear in App Packs? Have you checked? Continue reading to see which factors influence your App Pack ranking.
SEO Ranking Factors for OTT Apps
Google users its own algorithm to rank suggested apps in an App Pack, so the keyword rankings in the App Packs don’t depend on app stores keyword rankings.
However, there are similarities in the ASO and SEO strategies and ranking factors. If an app is ranking well in mobile web search and appears in the App Packs, it will also rank well for similar searchings in the app stores.
The most important ranking factors for SEO are similar to those you need to focus on during App Store Optimization:
On-page factors: App Name, URL, Short & Full Description
Note: For iOS apps the description doesn’t impact ASO, but has an effect on SEO.
Off-page factors: App Reviews & Ratings, Installs, and Page Authority & Backlinks
Google Play Store
URL + Title + Description
Apple App Store
URL + App Name + Subtitle + Description
SEO Best Practices for OTT Apps
Follow these best practices to ensure you’re making the most of your SEO efforts:
Conduct Keyword Research
You will need to perform good keyword research, both for App Store Optimization and Search Engine Optimization.
Check out The Tool for ASO keyword suggestions and traffic/difficulty estimates. SEMrush gives you the same for SEO.
Try finding keywords that have the most traffic and low to medium difficulty.
Use your most powerful and descriptive keywords in the app name alongside your brand name, and sprinkle the rest of the keywords in your app’s description, short description (Google Play Store), or keywords field (Apple App Store).
Note: Google is not indexing your keywords field from Apple App Store, so keywords appearing there won’t help you with SEO / App Packs.
Get Positive User Ratings and Reviews
User ratings and reviews are very important for both ASO and SEO for apps. First, Google, just like the app stores, tend to rank apps higher that have better reviews and high average rating.
Second, Google’s search engine crawls user review to identify possible keywords. Typically, more weight is given to keywords from the top of the page, so constantly encourage your users to leave positive reviews.
Not only is positive user sentiment great for SEO, it will help convince users that your app is both trustworthy and valuable enough to download.
You can encourage users to post reviews through in-app messaging, but be careful not to send too many notifications as that may have an adverse effect.
Get quality backlinks and increase installs
Receiving high-quality backlinks is essential to effective SEO. For mobile web search, you want to promote your app store listing or download page. Start by adding a link to the download page on your website and try getting different media outlets talking about your app. The key is domain strength – the more quality backlinks you have, the higher your app’s SERP ranking.
Next, add a link to your app store download page in the header of your mobile website or build a dedicated landing page promoting your app.
Clearly articulate value proposition, differentiation, and other perceived value signals – encourage your web users to use your app as well! This will leads to more installs, thus more user ratings, and better mobile search rankings.
If you want to increase installs and revenue, it’s essential your OTT app has maximum visibility in both the app stores and mobile web search. Nearly one third of all apps are discovered outside the app stores, via mobile search and App Packs.
Just like App Store Optimization, SEO for OTT apps requires ongoing effort of constant improvement and tracking to be successful.
Monitor your strategy and update it frequently, and your OTT app will be in prime position – literally.