Tag Archive | "Drop"

App Store SEO: How to Diagnose a Drop in Traffic & Win It Back

Posted by Joel.Mesherghi

For some organizations, mobile apps can be an important means to capturing new leads and customers, so it can be alarming when you notice your app visits are declining.

However, while there is content on how to optimize your app, otherwise known as ASO (App Store Optimization), there is little information out there on the steps required to diagnose a drop in app visits.

Although there are overlaps with traditional search, there are unique factors that play a role in app store visibility.

The aim of this blog is to give you a solid foundation when trying to investigate a drop in app store visits and then we’ll go through some quick fire opportunities to win that traffic back.

We’ll go through the process of investigating why your app traffic declined, including:

  1. Identifying potential external factors
  2. Identifying the type of keywords that dropped in visits
  3. Analyzing app user engagement metrics

And we’ll go through some ways to help you win traffic back including:

  1. Spying on your competitors
  2. Optimizing your store listing
  3. Investing in localisation

Investigating why your app traffic declined

Step 1. Identify potential external factors

Some industries/businesses will have certain periods of the year where traffic may drop due to external factors, such as seasonality.

Before you begin investigating a traffic drop further:

  • Talk to your point of contact and ask whether seasonality impacts their business, or whether there are general industry trends at play. For example, aggregator sites like SkyScanner may see a drop in app visits after the busy period at the start of the year.
  • Identify whether app installs actually dropped. If they didn’t, then you probably don’t need to worry about a drop in traffic too much and it could be Google’s and Apple’s algorithms better aligning the intent of search terms.

Step 2. Identify the type of keywords that dropped in visits

Like traditional search, identifying the type of keywords (branded and non-branded), as well as the individual keywords that saw the biggest drop in app store visits, will provide much needed context and help shape the direction of your investigation. For instance:

If branded terms saw the biggest drop-off in visits this could suggest:

  1. There has been a decrease in the amount of advertising spend that builds brand/product awareness
  2. Competitors are bidding on your branded terms
  3. The app name/brand has changed and hasn’t been able to mop up all previous branded traffic

If non-branded terms saw the biggest drop off in visits this could suggest:

  1. You’ve made recent optimisation changes that have had a negative impact
  2. User engagement signals, such as app crashes, or app reviews have changed for the worse
  3. Your competition have better optimised their app and/or provide a better user experience (particularly relevant if an app receives a majority of its traffic from a small set of keywords)
  4. Your app has been hit by an algorithm update

If both branded and non-branded terms saw the biggest drop off in visits this could suggest:

  1. You’ve violated Google’s policies on promoting your app.
  2. There are external factors at play

To get data for your Android app

To get data for your Android app, sign into your Google Play Console account.

Google Play Console provides a wealth of data on the performance of your android app, with particularly useful insights on user engagement metrics that influence app store ranking (more on these later).

However, keyword specific data will be limited. Google Play Console will show you the individual keywords that delivered the most downloads for your app, but the majority of keyword visits will likely be unclassified: mid to long-tail keywords that generate downloads, but don’t generate enough downloads to appear as isolated keywords. These keywords will be classified as “other”.

Your chart might look like the below. Repeat the same process for branded terms.


Above: Graph of a client’s non-branded Google Play Store app visits. The number of visits are factual, but the keywords driving visits have been changed to keep anonymity.

To get data for your IOS app

To get data on the performance of your IOS app, Apple have App Store Connect. Like Google Play Console, you’ll be able to get your hands on user engagement metrics that can influence the ranking of your app.

However, keyword data is even scarcer than Google Play Console. You’ll only be able to see the total number of impressions your app’s icon has received on the App Store. If you’ve seen a drop in visits for both your Android and IOS app, then you could use Google Play Console data as a proxy for keyword performance.

If you use an app rank tracking tool, such as TheTool, you can somewhat plug gaps in knowledge for the keywords that are potentially driving visits to your app.

Step 3. Analyze app user engagement metrics

User engagement metrics that underpin a good user experience have a strong influence on how your app ranks and both Apple and Google are open about this.

Google states that user engagement metrics like app crashes, ANR rates (application not responding) and poor reviews can limit exposure opportunities on Google Play.

While Apple isn’t quite as forthcoming as Google when it comes to providing information on engagement metrics, they do state that app ratings and reviews can influence app store visibility.

Ultimately, Apple wants to ensure IOS apps provide a good user experience, so it’s likely they use a range of additional user engagement metrics to rank an app in the App Store.

As part of your investigation, you should look into how the below user engagement metrics may have changed around the time period you saw a drop in visits to your app.

  • App rating
  • Number of ratings (newer/fresh ratings will be weighted more for Google)
  • Number of downloads
  • Installs vs uninstalls
  • App crashes and application not responding

You’ll be able to get data for the above metrics in Google Play Console and App Store Connect, or you may have access to this data internally.

Even if your analysis doesn’t reveal insights, metrics like app rating influences conversion and where your app ranks in the app pack SERP feature, so it’s well worth investing time in developing a strategy to improve these metrics.

One simple tactic could be to ensure you respond to negative reviews and reviews with questions. In fact, users increase their rating by +0.7 stars on average after receiving a reply.

Apple offers a few tips on asking for ratings and reviews for IOS app.

Help win your app traffic back

Step 1. Spy on your competitors

Find out who’s ranking

When trying to identify opportunities to improve app store visibility, I always like to compare the top 5 ranking competitor apps for some priority non-branded keywords.

All you need to do is search for these keywords in Google Play and the App Store and grab the publicly available ranking factors from each app listing. You should have something like the below.

Brand

Title

Title Character length

Rating

Number of reviews

Number of installs

Description character length

COMPETITOR 1

[Competitor title]

50

4.8

2,848

50,000+

3,953

COMPETITOR 2

[Competitor title]

28

4.0

3,080

500,000+

2,441

COMPETITOR 3

[Competitor title]

16

4.0

2566

100,000+

2,059

YOUR BRAND

​[Your brands title]

37

4.3

2,367

100,000+

3,951

COMPETITOR 4

[Competitor title]

7

4.1

1,140

100,000+

1,142

COMPETITOR 5

[Competitor title]

24

4.5

567

50,000+

2,647

     Above: anonymized table of a client’s Google Play competitors

From this, you may get some indications as to why an app ranks above you. For instance, we see “Competitor 1” not only has the best app rating, but has the longest title and description. Perhaps they better optimized their title and description?

We can also see that competitors that rank above us generally have a larger number of total reviews and installs, which aligns with both Google’s and Apple’s statements about the importance of user engagement metrics.

With the above comparison information, you can dig a little deeper, which leads us on nicely to the next section.

Optimize your app text fields

Keywords you add to text fields can have a significant impact on app store discoverability.

As part of your analysis, you should look into how your keyword optimization differs from competitors and identify any opportunities.

For Google Play, adding keywords to the below text fields can influence rankings:

  • Keywords in the app title (50 characters)
  • Keywords in the app description (4,000 characters)
  • Keywords in short description (80 characters)
  • Keywords in URL
  • Keywords in your app name

When it comes to the App Store, adding keywords to the below text fields can influence rankings:

  • Keywords in the app title (30 characters)
  • Using the 100 character keywords field (a dedicated 100-character field to place keywords you want to rank for)
  • Keywords in your app name

To better understand how your optimisation tactics hold up, I recommended comparing your app text fields to competitors.

For example, if I want to know the frequency of mentioned keywords in their app descriptions on Google Play (keywords in the description field are a ranking factor) than I’d create a table like the one below.

Keyword

COMPETITOR 1

COMPETITOR 2

COMPETITOR 3

YOUR BRAND

COMPETITOR 4

COMPETITOR 5

job

32

9

5

40

3

2

job search

12

4

10

9

10

8

employment

2

0

0

5

0

3

job tracking

2

0

0

4

0

0

employment app

7

2

0

4

2

1

employment search

4

1

1

5

0

0

job tracker

3

0

0

1

0

0

recruiter

2

0

0

1

0

0

     Above: anonymized table of a client’s Google Play competitors

From the above table, I can see that the number 1 ranking competitor (competitor 1) has more mentions of “job search” and “employment app” than I do.

Whilst there are many factors that decide the position at which an app ranks, I could deduce that I need to increase the frequency of said keywords in my Google Play app description to help improve ranking.

Be careful though: writing unnatural, keyword stuffed descriptions and titles will likely have an adverse effect.

Remember, as well as being optimized for machines, text fields like your app title and description are meant to be a compelling “advertisement” of your app for users..

I’d repeat this process for other text fields to uncover other keyword insights.

Step 2. Optimize your store listing

Your store listing in the home of your app on Google Play. It’s where users can learn about your app, read reviews and more. And surprisingly, not all apps take full advantage of developing an immersive store listing experience.

Whilst Google doesn’t seem to directly state that fully utilizing the majority of store listing features directly impacts your apps discoverability, it’s fair to speculate that there may be some ranking consideration behind this.

At the very least, investing in your store listing could improve conversion and you can even run A/B tests to measure the impact of your changes.

You can improve the overall user experience and content found in the store listing by adding video trailers of your app, quality creative assets, your apps icon (you’ll want to make your icon stand out amongst a sea of other app icons) and more.

You can read Google’s best practice guide on creating a compelling Google Play store listing to learn more.

Step 3. Invest in localization

The saying goes “think global, act local” and this is certainly true of apps.

Previous studies have revealed that 72.4% of global consumers preferred to use their native language when shopping online and that 56.2% of consumers said that the ability to obtain information in their own language is more important than price.

It makes logical sense. The better you can personalize your product for your audience, the better your results will be, so go the extra mile and localize your Google Play and App Store listings.

Google has a handy checklist for localization on Google Play and Apple has a comprehensive resource on internationalizing your app on the App Store.

Wrap up

A drop in visits of any kind causes alarm and panic. Hopefully this blog gives you a good starting point if you ever need to investigate why an apps traffic has dropped as well as providing some quick fire opportunities to win it back.

If you’re interested in further reading on ASO, I recommend reading App Radar’s and TheTool’s guides to ASO, as well as app search discoverability tips from Google and Apple themselves.

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Google Review Stars Drop by 14%

Posted by Dr-Pete

On Monday, September 16, Google announced that they would be restricting review stars in SERPs to specific schemas and would stop displaying reviews that they deemed to be “self-serving.” It wasn’t clear at the time when this change would be happening, or if it had already happened.

Across our daily MozCast tracking set, we measured a drop the morning of September 16 (in sync with the announcement) followed by a continued drop the next day …

The purple bar shows the new “normal” in our data set (so far). This represents a two-day relative drop of nearly 14% (13.8%). It definitely appears that Google dropped review snippets from page-1 SERPs across the roughly 48-hour period around their announcement (note that measurements are only taken once per day, so we can’t pinpoint changes beyond 24-hour periods).

Review drops by category

When we broke this two-day drop out into 20 industry categories (roughly corresponding to Google Ads), the results were dramatic. Note that every industry experienced some loss of review snippets. This is not a situation with “winners” and “losers” like an algorithm update. Google’s changes only reduced review snippets. Here’s the breakdown …

Percent drops in blue are <10%, purple are 10%-25%, and red represents 25%+ drops. Finance and Real Estate were hit the hardest, both losing almost half of their SERPs with review snippets (-46%). Note that our 10K daily data set broken down 20 ways only has 500 SERPs per category, so the sample size is low, but even at the scale of 500 SERPs, some of these changes are clearly substantial.

Average reviews per SERP

If we look only at the page-1 SERPs that have review snippets, were there any changes in the average number of snippets per SERP? The short answer is “no” …

On September 18, when the dust settled on the drop, SERPs with review snippets had an average of 2.26 snippets, roughly the same as prior to the drop. Many queries seem to have been unaffected.

Review counts per SERP

How did this break down by count? Let’s look at just the three days covering the review snippet drop. Page-1 SERPs in MozCast with review snippets had between one and nine results with snippets. Here’s the breakdown …



Consistent with the stable average, there was very little shift across groups. Nearly half of all SERPs with review snippets had just one result with review snippets, with a steady drop as count increases.

Next steps and Q&A

What does this mean for you if your site has been affected? I asked my colleague and local SEO expert, Miriam Ellis, for a bit of additional advice …

(Q) Will I be penalized if I leave my review schema active on my website?

(A) No. Continuing to use review schema should have no negative impact. There will be no penalty.

(Q) Are first-party reviews “dead”?

(A) Of course not. Displaying reviews on your website can still be quite beneficial in terms of:

  • Instilling trust in visitors at multiple phases of the consumer journey
  • Creating unique content for store location landing pages
  • Helping you monitor your reputation, learn from and resolve customers’ cited complaints

(Q) Could first-party review stars return to the SERPs in future?

(A) Anything is possible with Google. Review stars were often here-today-gone-tomorrow even while Google supported them. But, Google seems to have made a fairly firm decision this time that they feel first-party reviews are “self serving”.

(Q) Is Google right to consider first-party reviews “self-serving”?

(A) Review spam and review gating are serious problems. Google is absolutely correct that efforts must be made to curb abusive consumer sentiment tactics. At the same time, Google’s increasing control of business reputation is a cause for concern, particularly when their own review corpus is inundated with spam, even for YMYL local business categories. In judging which practices are self-serving, Google may want to look closer to home to see whether their growing middle-man role between consumers and businesses is entirely altruistic. Any CTR loss attendant on Google’s new policy could rightly be seen as less traffic for brand-controlled websites and more for Google.

For more tactical advice on thriving in this new environment, there’s a good write-up on GatherUp.

Thanks, Miriam! A couple of additional comments. As someone who tracks the SERPs, I can tell you that the presence of review stars has definitely fluctuated over time, but in the past this has been more of a “volume” knob, for lack of a better word. In other words, Google is always trying to find an overall balance of usefulness for the feature. You can expect this number to vary in the future, as well, but, as Miriam said, you have to look at the philosophy underlying this change. It’s unlikely Google will reverse course on that philosophy itself.

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New Drop Box Add-On Makes it Easier to Find and Share Files in Gmail

Dropbox took advantage of the Google Next event to reveal its new Gmail add-on. The first product of its partnership with Google, the extension will make it easier for Dropbox users to find, send, and save files from inside their Gmail inbox.

Gmail users who install this new plug-in will be able to attach a Dropbox file to their email by linking it directly to the relevant file or folder stored in the hosting service. And since the content is attached as links, file size is not an issue. Recipients of the email will also be able to access the file or folder without having to install any extra software.

Once installed, the add-on will appear on Gmail’s right-side rail. Clicking on the Dropbox icon will prompt it to scan the email thread for attachments. It will also show useful contextual information, like the sender’s name, the file name, and where it is located (email or Dropbox). Users can also view their whole Dropbox file system, making it easier to add and attach files.

Dropbox describes the Gmail add-on as a convenient method to organize the workplace as it allows the user to access saved content within Gmail. This does away with the need to toggle between the two applications. The add-on also makes it possible for Gmail users to save an emailed file directly to their Dropbox account.

Dropbox explains in a blog post that the “integration deepens our investment in the G Suite ecosystem, offering a cross-browser, cross-platform addition to our existing Dropbox for Gmail extension for Chrome.”

This latest add-on is compatible with any browser and will also work on the official Gmail application for Android. Dropbox also has plans to bring the extension to iOS, although there’s no launch date set yet.

The Gmail add-on is just the tip of the iceberg. Dropbox has also shared its plans to develop add-ons that would let account holders use Google Docs, Slides, and Sheets directly within the file-hosting service. There are also talks of integration with Google Hangouts. This feature will let users send links to files saved in Dropbox directly to Hangouts.

The post New Drop Box Add-On Makes it Easier to Find and Share Files in Gmail appeared first on WebProNews.


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Google’s Chrome browser to drop secure label for all HTTPS sites

In addition, Chrome will mark all HTTP web sites as not secure.
Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.



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Facebook Sees Growth in Ad Sales Despite Drop in Usage

Facebook saw a decline in usage for the first time in its history, undoubtedly brought about by certain changes made to its News Feed. Despite that, the social media company’s digital ads remained profitable, stemming any concerns investors might have.

Facebook recently released its earnings report for the last quarter of 2017. The report underlined the effects of Mark Zuckerberg’s campaign to improve his company while also emphasizing the social media giant is still a force to be reckoned with in the business sector.

Facebook’s founder mentioned in the report how the company made changes so that fewer viral videos were shown. The changes “reduced time spent on Facebook by roughly 50 million hours every day.” Those hours showed up as a decrease from 185 million daily active users (DAU) in the US and Canada to 184 million users.

It’s the first time that the company has reported a reduction of users in any of its market. Some sectors could even have been alarmed by the fact that this decline happened in the region where Facebook earns the most from advertisements. The company makes an average profit of $ 26.76 per user in the region, as opposed to the worldwide average of $ 6.18.

However, the reported dip in users and time spent on the social media platform didn’t seem to hurt Facebook’s bottom line. According to the company’s earnings report, revenue in the last quarter of 2017 hit $ 12.97 billion, up from the $ 8.81 billion it garnered during the same period in 2016. This was an increase of 47% and it topped the $ 12.55 billion average projected by the analysts over at Yahoo Finance.

The boost was apparently due to Facebook’s mobile ad sales, which included that from its sister company Instagram. The increase was also aided by the company’s marketing tools, which are steadily becoming more precise.

Revenue from its mobile ad sales represented around 89% of the last quarter’s total ad sales and is up to 84% compared to the year before. It has been estimated that Facebook’s profits from its global ads this year would reach $ 53.84 billion, placing it behind Google as the biggest ad seller in the world.

More changes are expected to come to Facebook, as Zuckerberg wants it to be more than just a fun platform. In his statement, he said he wanted his brainchild to also be “good for people’s well-being and for society” and plans to do so via more meaningful connections.

He parlayed any concerns investors might have by saying that the user drop was just temporary and was needed to make a stronger product. Zuckerberg also emphasized that worthwhile interactions would lead to a stronger community and that the care users would have for this group would make them more amenable to seeing ads.

The post Facebook Sees Growth in Ad Sales Despite Drop in Usage appeared first on WebProNews.


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New Year’s Day 2017 Google doodle features balloon drop to mark 1st day of the year

Google follows its New Year’s Eve doodle with an animated image of celebratory balloons.

The post New Year’s Day 2017 Google doodle features balloon drop to mark 1st day of the year appeared first on Search Engine Land.



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Is Facebook’s Drop in Page Impressions By Design or a Sign of the Times?

Back in my day, you posted an update to your Facebook fan page and every one of your fans saw it on their newsfeed. There was none of this messing about with paid posts and tags and highlighting. You had something to say, you just said it and people were happy to read it. We also used our phones to actually call people and mail was delivered by a mailman! Those were the days.

It’s time to accept the reality: Facebook post views aren’t what they used to be. Here’s the proof from Socialbakers.

Why is this happening? It’s probably the result of a combination of natural factors – or you could go with the conspiracy theory.

The least paranoid version is the simple law of supply and demand. As Facebook spreads throughout the world, more companies are using FB Pages to post daily updates which means more posts hitting the average user’s newsfeed. If you’re lucky enough to land in the top portion of the feed, you’re still have to fight for attention. It’s hard to stand out when there are pictures of funny babies and political jokes on either side of you.

Once you hit the page (if you hit the page), there’s a limited window of opportunity. Thirty minutes or less and your message is below the fold and out of reach.

And then there’s boredom. Facebook isn’t the novel environment it used to be.  A year ago, you could get a click with a post about a new product. Now, you’ll be lucky if they click through for a free sample. More than ever, posts have to be extremely engaging if you want fans to follow through.

The Truth is Out There

The other option, is that Facebook has created this situation in order to encourage sales of promoted posts. It’s an intriguing notion that makes a lot of sense.

Facebook needs additional revenue sources, right? So it makes sense to charge for whatever it is they have that has value – in this case, it’s the ability to deliver a message to a large audience. Up until now, they’ve been giving it away for free, allowing companies to build huge advertising platforms without forking over a dime. And as long as they can keep reaching an audience for free, why pay? (It’s the old milk / cow syndrome.) But, if their ability to reach their fans freely dries up, then they’ll have to pay if they want to keep getting what they used to get for free.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say that Facebook is intentionally barring branded updates in order to encourage paid posting. I think they’ve just trying to find the sweet spot between what users want and what brands want. What I don’t understand is why they feel the need to prevent brands I choose to follow from communicating with me as often as they like. If a brand sends too many updates, I’ll simply unlike them. Matter settled. I don’t need Facebook to make the decision for me.

What do you think? Is Facebook intentionally pushing brands toward a fully-paid model or is the traffic drop off just a sign of the times?  And if they are pushing brands to pay, can you blame them?

 

 



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Twitter Went Down! Facebook Uniques Drop! It’s the End for Sure!

Twitter was down for somewhere in the range of 30 minutes (give or take 20 minutes or whatever, I wasn’t really counting). There were plenty of folks taking full advantage of the chance to post on Facebook or get the quick post up during the great Twitter Outage for An Hour Or So of 2012.

Mashable reported

Twitter is down, let’s party like it’s 2007, 2008 and 2009!

The social network appears to be completely down (not a fail whale in sight). Visiting Twitter.com results in “no data received” messages and third-party Twitter apps such as HootSuite are giving out “Twitter API is busy” messages.

We first noticed the outage at around 12:13pm ET. The outage is impacting third-party apps, the official Twitter client’s and the Twitter website.

That coupled with the frighteningly tragic news that Facebook lost a whole .6% (yup 6/10ths of 1 %) of unique visitors from March to May as reported by comScore and Reuters and we have the most perfect storm of non-events that have occurred in, oh, a day or so.

Facebook’s U.S. user numbers dwindled in May from April and March, according to data compiled by research firm comScore, in the latest sign that growth may be leveling off at the No. 1 social network.

Last month, Facebook attracted 158.01 million unique visitors in the United States, edging lower from 158.69 million in April and 158.93 million in March, comScore said.

Dwindled? But wait it gets better. Despite this those few brave souls that still venture to Facebook have increased their time on the site a whopping .4% (yup, that’s 4/10ths of 1% when rounding up). From All Facebook

Reuters reports that users spent an average of 380.3 minutes on the site in May, up from 378.9 minutes in April.

We may have hit a point today where we can comfortably say that we are all taking this a little too seriously, don’t ya think?

UPDATE: 1:57 pm EST – Looks like Twitter is down again. Can’t a guy get a snide post off these days without this kind of reality interfering? Geesh.



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