ASO vs SEO: Which is the best way to promote your app?

By Rachel Rappaport August 17, 2023

ASO vs SEO: which should you focus on? Increasing your app’s visibility is more of a challenge than ever. A quick glance at the extraordinary number of available apps—over 5 million across Android and iOS—and it’s not hard to see why. Two powerful strategies stand out to help in the app marketing space: App Store Optimization (ASO) and Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

But what is the difference between ASO vs SEO? 

Both are designed to enhance your app’s discoverability and attract more users. However, they operate in different contexts and target distinct platforms. 

Differences between ASO vs SEO

ASO and SEO both improve the profile of digital content. But they differ in their approach.  


With a goal of maximizing discoverability and conversion rates, ASO strategies work within the app store ecosystem. But there’s a lot more to it than that . . .

What is ASO?

ASO is the process of optimizing an app’s visibility in an app store, such as Apple’s App Store or the Google Play Store. 

Through the ASO process, you identify relevant keywords that users will likely search for in app stores. These keywords are then strategically incorporated into the app’s metadata, description, and other relevant fields to improve ranking and visibility.

aso vs seo

Other ASO techniques include optimizing app icons, screenshots, ratings, and reviews within your store listing. It also involves monitoring and responding to user feedback to improve app performance and user satisfaction.

Benefits of ASO

ASO focuses on driving organic traffic to your app. This means users can find and download your product without paid advertising. Driving more organic downloads helps sustainsustained business growth in a highly competitive app market that sees new apps added daily. 

By presenting clear and appealing descriptions, high-quality screenshots, and an attractive app icon, you can enhance the user experience and increase the likelihood of users downloading your app. 

This user-centric approach increases the chances of users who are genuinely interested in your app’s purpose or features discovering it.

Cost-effectiveness of ASO

Compared to paid advertising campaigns, ASO is cost-effective. While paid ads require ongoing investment, ASO focuses on optimizing your app’s visibility organically, reducing your reliance on advertising budgets.


SEO aims to improve a website’s visibility and ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs) to attract organic traffic.

What is SEO?

Targeting users who search for information, products, or services using search engines—think Google, Bing, or Yahoo—SEO focuses on optimizing web content to match user search queries and attract relevant traffic to websites.

SEO techniques involve optimizing website content, meta tags, headers, URLs, and internal links, as well as improving site speed and mobile-friendliness. It also includes off-page optimization strategies, such as building backlinks and enhancing social signals.

Benefits of SEO

SEO helps improve your website’s visibility in search engine results, leading to more organic traffic. By ranking higher for relevant keywords, your website has a greater chance of being clicked on by users searching for related information, products, or services.

Because SEO improves various aspects of your website, including site structure, navigation, page speed, and mobile-friendliness, it also enhances the overall user experience and makes it easier for visitors to navigate your site, find what they want, and engage with your content.

Appearing prominently in search engine results instills a sense of trust and credibility in users. When a website is highly ranked, users perceive it as more authoritative and trustworthy, increasing the likelihood of them clicking through to your content or making a purchase.

By investing in SEO, you can gain a competitive advantage over businesses that neglect this aspect of digital marketing. Ranking higher than your competitors in search results can attract more visitors, increase brand visibility, and ultimately lead to more conversions.

Cost-effectiveness of SEO

SEO generates organic traffic without requiring direct payments for clicks or impressions. Once your website ranks well for relevant keywords, you can enjoy a consistent flow of visitors without paying for ongoing advertising expenses.

It’s true that SEO requires time and effort to implement. But it also offers long-term value. 
The optimizations you make today can continue to deliver results for months or even years to come. SEO is a budget-friendly app marketing strategy compared to paid advertising campaigns that require continuous investment.

Weighing the Pros and Cons: ASO vs SEO

We’ve outlined the primary differences between these two optimization strategies, ASO vs SEO. But let’s take a deeper dive into the benefits and drawbacks of each approach. 

Pros of ASO:

  • Targeted platform: ASO focuses on optimizing your app’s visibility and discoverability within app stores. It helps you reach users actively searching for apps, increasing your chances of attracting relevant and engaged users.
  • High conversion rates: ASO optimization techniques enhance the user experience within the app store environment. This can lead to higher conversion rates, as users are more likely to download an app with compelling and visually appealing assets.

Cons of ASO:

  • Platform dependency: If your digital presence extends beyond apps to websites or other platforms, ASO alone may not be sufficient for overall online visibility.

Competitive environment: Because the app market is highly competitive, millions of apps are vying for user attention. Standing out requires continuous optimization efforts and monitoring. This can make ASO an ongoing and sometimes challenging process.

Pros of SEO:

  • Broad visibility: SEO targets search engines, allowing your website or online content to appear in search results beyond app stores. This broadens your online visibility, reaching users who search for relevant information, products, and services on search engines.
  • Diverse sources: SEO allows you to attract organic traffic from various search engines, rather than a single platform. This diversity reduces dependency on any specific platform or ecosystem.

Cons of SEO:

  • Competitive landscape: Like ASO, SEO operates in a highly competitive environment. Ranking well in search engine results requires ongoing efforts as you compete against countless websites targeting similar keywords and topics.
  • Algorithm changes: Search engine algorithms frequently evolve, requiring constant monitoring and adaptation to stay abreast. This can make SEO a complex and ever-changing process that demands ongoing work.

Both ASO and SEO have the potential to deliver long-term results. By continuously monitoring and optimizing your app’s in-store performance, ASO helps sustain your app’s success in the long run.

Constant adaptation to changing trends and user preferences can ensure your app remains visible and relevant, driving sustained growth. On the SEO side, consistently optimizing your website and content improves your search engine rankings, which can result in continuous organic traffic and visibility.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Between ASO and SEO

It’s one thing to understand the differences between ASO vs SEO strategies. But it’s another to identify ways each will benefit your business specifically. Here are some crucial considerations to keep in mind.

Marketing budget 

Like any marketing strategy, it’s essential to determine your budget when deciding whether to prioritize ASO vs SEO.

One of the challenges businesses face when doing so is obtaining accurate and comprehensive data from different departments. This is where enterprise resource planning software (ERP) systems prove invaluable. 

With ERP, companies can access financial, sales, inventory, and customer data from across the company—in one location and in real time. This integrated approach provides a holistic view of the business, making it easier to choose a budget and determine which strategy is best.  

ASO can be cost-effective as it requires less financial investment than paid advertising. On the other hand, SEO may require more substantial investments in content creation, website optimization, and hiring of SEO professionals. 

Consider the budget you can allocate to each strategy and determine which approach aligns best with your financial resources.

Cost of ASO vs SEO

ASO and SEO have different cost structures. ASO primarily focuses on optimizing app store listings. So typical expenses might include keyword research tools, app analytics, and investments in app design and assets. 

On the flip side, SEO involves optimizing website content, technical aspects, and potentially investing in SEO tools, content creation, and link building. Evaluate the potential costs associated with each strategy and compare them to your available budget.


Tapping into in-depth, business-wide insights via ERP in the cloud will help your company better assess the ROI of ASO and SEO tactics. 

Accessing real-time data and analytics through cloud-based software gives you a holistic view of your marketing investments. This way, you can make informed marketing budget decisions for long-term success.

To do this, assess the value ASO generates by attracting organic app downloads. Then, look at the revenue potential associated with optimizing your website for search engines through SEO. Evaluate the expected long-term benefits and weigh them against the costs of implementation to determine the potential ROI for each strategy.

ASO vs SEO: Which is Best?

The choice between ASO and SEO depends on various factors, including your marketing budget, ROI expectations, digital presence, target audience, competitive landscape, and long-term goals.

ASO is specifically tailored to optimize your application’s visibility within app stores, attract organic downloads, and improve conversion rates. It can be a cost-effective strategy that allows you to reach users actively searching for apps in your niche. 

Meanwhile, SEO focuses on enhancing your website’s visibility in search engine results, attracting organic traffic, and providing a broader online presence beyond app stores. SEO requires ongoing optimization efforts, but it offers long-term benefits and a diverse range of traffic sources.

Ultimately, a comprehensive mobile app marketing strategy may involve incorporating both ASO and SEO to maximize visibility and reach across platforms. By evaluating your specific circumstances, goals, and resources, you can make an informed decision on how to best promote your app.

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