Online marketing is basically about creating traffic streams and directing it through the right channels. Every effort made to bring traffic to a website is ultimately driven towards a purpose. The goal can be anything, from lead generation to online sales.
The common thread connecting each and every goal is traffic. No goal is achievable in online marketing without traffic. This is why there is an undying obsession amongst digital marketers to work on SEO, social media, and other channels that can bring in traffic.
One goal we rarely associate with website traffic is getting app downloads. Very rarely do we see app marketers leaning on website traffic to deliver app downloads. This is possibly because taking people from a search environment to an app store page seems like a tall order.
While the challenge is understandable, there are great advantages to using SEO for app downloads as well. Since app development is already easy thanks to tools like the AppMySite free app maker, anyone can create a WordPress or WooCommerce app. The challenge thus has shifted from development to marketing.
SEO is another avenue marketers should try to explore for greater app visibility and downloads. Here is a step-by-step guide that explains how you can use website SEO traffic to increase app downloads.
Step 1 – Identify your target keywords
The first step in the process is identifying the right keywords. Your main task here is to rank one conversion-focused landing page for a relevant set of keywords.
Keyword research involves a lot of moving parts. In simple words, you need to identify the search phrases people who might download your app would search for. You can reach these people if you rank your landing page for relevant search phrases your prospective audience searches for.
Let’s take an example and assume you want to use SEO for getting more downloads for your pharmacy app. Even an instinctive understanding of the internet, you would know that people searching ‘order medicine online’ are possible customers you can convert. You can similarly research other keywords that your target audience searches for.
Here are some things you should remember while conducting keyword research for your landing pages.
a. Classify keywords based on volume
It is easier to first target low volume keywords as they’re low hanging fruit for a website just starting to focus on organic traffic. You can use free tools like Google Keyword Planner to get an idea about the volume.
Paid tools like SEMrush and Ahrefs provide more pointed data on keyword volume. Start with low volume keywords and move your way upwards to the more difficult-high-volume keywords.
b. Evaluate ASO keywords
You can target the keywords you’re already working on as part of your app store optimization (ASO) effort. It is wise to first check the web search volume of your ASO keywords. It is possible their intent and volume may vary in different environments.
There is no established correlation between search and app store ranks. You shouldn’t thus expect your app store listing to perform well if your web search rank is rising and vice versa.
c. Match search intent first
First target keywords that are driven by a relevant search intent. Let’s assume you have a PDF reader app. Targeting the keyword ‘online PDF reader’ first is not a great idea because the search intent is driven towards finding a web-based solution, not a mobile app.
You should instead target keywords like ‘PDF reading app’ and ‘download PDF app’ as the search intent behind these keywords matches the service you offer.
You can move on to more generic keywords once you’re already bossing the keywords most relevant to the service you provide.
Step 2 – Design an optimal landing page
The next big step is making a great landing page. This is the page you’re trying to rank high on Google for all the relevant keywords you’ve chosen.
Making a great landing page is all about meeting the expectations of a visitor. The more times you meet the expectations of your visitors, the more people you’re likely to funnel to the app store page.
Landing page design and optimization is a continual process. Businesses keep launching new features and offers for the end users. These new updates have to be added to primary landing pages from time to time. Optimizing the landing page with refined keywords adds another dimension. The sections below cover some of the points you must remember designing landing pages.
a. Create an appealing layout
The first step is creating a great layout for your landing page. You should first learn some of the basics of UI and UX to understand how people skim through content when they arrive on a web page.
This is important as you will understand which parts of a web page will gather the most attention of a visitor. There are various user phenomena you should know about when designing a landing page.
Eye tracking is one such phenomenon. It is basically a design analysis technique which you can use to follow the exact path visitors follow when they arrive on a landing page.
This information can help create a design layout that is based on organizing important information in the right places of a webpage. A simple example is placing conversion-oriented CTAs on the most seen part of a webpage. This will ensure more people are funneled to the desired location, which in this case is the app store page.
b. Get the content right
You’re right to assume that most visitors coming to your landing page won’t read every work on your landing page. Modern users generally skim through content rather than reading every line. This phenomenon is very common and should ideally affect the way copywriters approach writing landing page content.
The basic guideline you should remember is to always keep things simple. Don’t use more words where less would do and place important keywords at relevant parts of the landing page.
You should also study other landing pages and figure out the style of content being written up in your space. This will help you frame your content in the best way possible and meet the expectations of your visitors.
Along with working on the content, you must also focus on designing the CTA buttons well. Choose a color scheme that matches your brand tone and persuades visitors to take action.
Step 3 – Write blog content to grow traffic
Ranking a landing page is a very difficult task. You cannot just rank first based on the design and content of the landing page. Google takes other factors into consideration as well. This includes the overall trust and reliability of the website.
Google takes into account the overall competence of a website before ranking a landing page from it. The best way to signal competency to search engines like Google is creating quality relevant content.
There is a reason Google doesn’t suddenly rank websites with ten blog posts. A website needs to establish its authority over a period of time before getting top ranks on important keywords.
a. Use topic clustering to grow landing page authority
Let’s take an example and assume you have a landing page for a pharmacy app. You won’t just rank for high volume keywords with the right keyword combinations and a good design. You need a number of high quality links pointing to your landing page.
The best place to start is your own blog. Write authoritative blogs covering topics related to your app category and niche. Link all these blog posts back to the landing page. This will essentially tell search engines to consider your landing page as the most important part of your website.
This practice of strategically linking back blog posts to a main landing page is called topic clustering. This technique can be used to promote blog posts as well.
Topic clustering will essentially grow the authority of your landing page. The number of blog posts you need to link back to your landing page to get a good rank varies. You can start ranking for less competitive keywords by linking by 15-20 blog posts. More competitive keywords will naturally require your landing page to have greater authority, and by extension, more blog posts.
The best practice is to regularly update your blog and never leave it untouched for long periods of time.
b. Adopt marketing funnel approach to drive people towards conversion
Not everyone who arrives on your landing page will download your app. Some will checkout your blogs as well.
You can adopt a marketing funnel approach to slowly drive your regular blog visitors into downloading your app.
An easy way to start a marketing funnel is asking blog visitors to sign-up for email newsletters. This will help you start a connection with a prospect through automated email campaigns. You can frame each campaign as a way to push prospects closer towards downloading your app.
A marketing funnel approach is important because it ingratiates additional prospects into your campaign who didn’t download your app. Not every visitor who lands on your website will download your app. However, some of them can be converted over a longer period of time with drip marketing driven by email campaigns.
Step 4 – Network with other blogs and websites for guest posting
SEO is not just about content and keywords. Google also accounts for the number of backlinks a webpage has before ranking it in the search results.
In the previous section, we covered the need for developing the authority of your landing page. Writing blog posts to boost authority will only bring you incremental gains. Another way to boost authority is getting backlinks from other relevant blogs and websites. These backlinks generally come from guest posting.
The main challenge in guest posting is networking with other websites and blogs. Many blogs are sceptical about publishing guest posts because of the external links they contain. Some blogs ask for money to publish guest posts. Not every company can afford to pay money just to get a guest post.
It is thus important to seek out websites and blogs that are open to guest posting and have a better authority than your own. You should try to get backlinks from websites with more traffic and authority than you. This will again have a net positive impact on the authority of your landing page.
There are many ways you can scout websites and blogs for guest posts. Here are some of those ways-
- Competitor backlinks – Study the backlinks your competitors are getting using SEO tools like Ahrefs or SEMrush. The websites giving your competitors backlinks may also be open to allowing you to publish a guest post on their platform.
- Link-for-link arrangements – These arrangements generally involve both parties publishing a guest post on each other’s platforms. This is a decent technique to build up a few backlinks. It is however best to avoid link-for-link schemes in the long-term.
- Paid guest posts – If you do decide to pay money for a guest post, choose the best website or blog in your niche. It is better to get one relevant backlink from an authoritative website than five from a middling blog.
These methods can help you find decent guest posting opportunities. Other link building schemes like search engine submission and forum submission are not exactly the type of avenues you should chase for backlinks.
Guest posting is the best way to voluntarily create backlinks. Once you start getting decent traffic, people would start linking your website organically.
Step 5 – Test conversion
The last thing left to do is conversion rate optimization. You need to make sure anyone coming to your landing page knows exactly what you offer and how to leverage your services.
Good websites keep changing their landing page over time in order to increase their conversions. A good design and CTA at one point in time may lose its sheen in a month or two. This is why copywriters and web designers must keep working on tinkering the landing page to enhance conversion rate.
Not every tweak leads to better results. It is thus important to A/B test every little tweak and see its impact on the conversion rate.
The entire point of leveraging SEO for mobile app marketing is getting app downloads. Getting loads of traffic without actual app downloads is thus pointless. This is why you need to constantly work on improving your conversion rate. Here are a few tips you can keep in mind-
Optimize the performance of your website and ensure the landing page loads without a hitch. This will ensure you don’t lose prospects because of poor performance at the very least.
Placement is everything. A good CTA on the wrong part of your landing page won’t help. Carefully study your user behaviour through eye tracking and heat maps to understand which part of a web page visitors give attention to.
Make mobile design your top priority. Start your landing page with the assumption that all your traffic is coming from mobile visitors. Mobile audiences are most likely to visit your app store page after arriving on a landing page. Website audiences don’t have a direct path to app downloads and are not your primary audience.
It takes a lot of effort to build an app and get it live on Google Play and Apple App Store. App marketers have a natural responsibility to reward this effort by establishing a regular stream of downloads.
SEO is rarely discussed when the topic of app marketing is brought up. Even though they seem far apart, app marketers can make good use of web traffic to drive downloads.
This piece provides a step-by-step guide on getting app downloads with the help of organic web traffic. The best way to learn how to leverage SEO for app marketing is actually doing it. Choose a bunch of keywords and design a great landing page to get started.