ASO and SEO: Why They are Totally Different Animals

App Store Optimization and Search Engine Optimization might sound similar. They indeed have some similarities however knowing the difference can give you the ability to create a well-rounded digital marketing strategy.

Table of Content

In this post, we will discuss some of the commonalities and the differences between these two methods.

App Store Optimization (ASO)

App Store Optimization is the process of optimizing your app’s listing page for the app stores such as Google Play App Store or the App Store. ASO can be split into two main components. Keyword Optimization and Conversion Rate optimization.

The first goal of ASO is to increase the visibility of your app. That is, how easy users can find your app in the app store through search results. By targeting the right keywords and increasing your rankings, your app will become easier to find. Thus, your organic downloads will increase.

After you get some traffic to your listing page, your next goal will be to convert this traffic to downloads. By using the correct creative assets and text on your listing page, you can try to increase the ratio of users who download your app after visiting the listing page.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is the process of optimizing web pages to rank well in search engine results. Through optimizing various factors, marketers try to increase the amount and quality of the traffic their website receives. Similar to ASO, SEO also tries to increase both visibility and CTR (the ratio of users who click on your website after viewing its link).

These factors include the title and text of your page, user engagement, the backlinks you receive, quality of your content, meta description, and more.

The Primary Differences Between ASO and SEO

You can already see some major differences. ASO is primarily done inside each app store, while SEO needs to be done on and off the website.

SEO is More Complex

Since ASO only deals with optimizing for the app stores, it is not as complex as SEO.

In ASO, you only have to be concerned with the following:

But in SEO, you have to master things like:

  • Keyword selection
  • Optimizing page speed
  • Multiple search engine optimization
  • On-page backlinks
  • Off-page backlinks
  • High-quality content
  • Website credibility
  • Page title optimization
  • Google penalties
  • Link relevance
  • Social sharing
  • Content freshness
  • Nofollow links

As you can see, SEO factors are much more complex and can take a lot of time to optimize. In addition, if your website is hit with a Google penalty, it can take months, or even years to get out of the penalty.

If your mobile app is not up to the standards of the App Store, usually the worst that happens is that your app is rejected from being published. You can get banned forever, even though it does not happen easily.

Seeing results in SEO can take a bit more time as it requires constant optimization and monitoring. On the other hand, it is possible to see the outcomes of your ASO efforts in a few weeks.

Visual Optimization is more important in ASO

The app icon, screenshots, and video play a big part in ASO, while the text is usually more important in SEO. This is because of how the search results are displayed.

In ASO search results, the icon and screenshots are prominently displayed. It’s still important to target the right keywords, but you cannot ignore the graphics.

In SEO, people only see text, so it’s much more important to optimize the text elements of a web page. Graphics are important too, but for CTR.

Relevance Matters In SEO…a Lot!

The app stores are getting better at detecting what an app is about and what it does, but they still rely heavily on the category your app is in and your app store profile.

On the other hand, SEO is much more advanced. The search engines will rank your content depending on what your site is about and the quality of the links that are pointed to your site.

How ASO and SEO are Alike

SEO and ASO are often seen as similar because they both optimize for keywords. As we have seen above, the similarity pretty much stops there.

As a small exception, ASO for Google Play Store also utilizes backlinks in a very similar fashion to SEO.

But let’s take a minute to also explore how they are alike and how SEO skills can be applied to ASO.

Keyword Optimization

Both of these disciplines require ranking for the right keywords. In both areas, the key to success is ranking for highly relevant, low competition keywords that your page/app can rank for… also known as long-tail keywords.

In the app stores, you are primarily looking for keywords that have great app metrics. These metrics include a high Chance Score, high Search Score, and high download relevancy.

You also need to examine the strength of the competition for each keyword. This can be done by looking at the ASO Report of every app that ranks for a keyword.

You will be able to see exactly how many keywords an app is ranking for. With this information, you can measure the competition and see if you have a good chance of getting in the top 10.

In the SEO world, you need to look at estimated keyword search volume on a platform like Google Adwords. The Keyword Planner will give you average monthly searches.

Then you can look at things like Alexa Rank and backlink profile to uncover the strength of the competition for a keyword.


Links from other sites don’t factor into the rankings of apps in the Apple App Store, but they do help on the Google Play Store. But they cannot just be random links, they must come from reputable and highly related web pages.

ASO Tools

In order to do ASO properly, you need to have the right tools. Here are a few tutorials that will give you the information you need to optimize your app store page and start getting more downloads.

SEO Tools

When it comes to SEO tools, SEMrush can be considered the industry leader. SEMrush provides content creation capabilities along with keyword research and monitoring tools making it a comprehensive product for SEO.

ASO Guides

Now that you understand the similarities and differences, here are a couple of Mobile Action ASO guides that will help you do ASO for specific app stores.

SEO Guides

These are a few of our favorite SEO guides if you need more details on how to utilize specific SEO strategies.

Final Words

We hope you enjoyed this article where we talked about some of the similarities and differences between ASO and SEO. Hopefully, this post cleared up any confusion and also provided you with some valuable resources. If you would like to learn more about ASO and its applications, feel free to schedule a demo with our experts today!

buy ios keyword installs

buy ios keyword installs

Skip to toolbar