9 Ways to Get Backlinks to your App to Improve SEO & ASO in 2018

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Did you know that backlinks from websites can improve the SEO of your app (both for iOS and Android apps) and Google Play ASO? In this post we are going to learn some ways to build backlinks for any App Store / Google Play Store mobile app or game in 2018. Let’s start!

Backlinks for Mobile Apps - SEO + ASO

ASO is not SEO… SEO is not ASO

Some people in the mobile industry say ASO is like SEO for mobile apps, but in my opinion that’s not true. ASO (App Store Optimization), as you all already know, is the process of optimizing an app in order to increase visibility and improve conversion rate on the app stores; on the other hand, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the process of optimizing a domain / URL in order to improve its rankings in the Google web search and increase organic traffic (read more here). SEO for apps is the process of optimizing an app or game in order to increase its visibility in the mobile web search and get installs.

ASO is a bit similar to SEO, but ASO is ASO, and SEO is SEO. They are two different things. Connected somehow, but different.

So, ASO is for app stores and SEO is for web. Do you want to learn more about SEO for mobile apps? Read this article!

SEO, ASO & Backlinks

  • SEO (web) = On-page + Off-page (links)
  • SEO (apps) = On-metadata (listing) + Off-page (links)
  • ASO (Google Play apps) = On-metadata (listing) + Off-metadata + Off-page (links)

Some months ago I run an experiment and wrote an article on Medium (read here) that proved that web backlinks (and Anchor Text) have a direct impact in Google Play ASO. I recommend you to read it.

The backlinks are the fuel of the SEO (both for websites and for apps). According to the experiments we have done, the backlinks have a direct impact on the ASO rankings (keywords) on Google Play Store. Therefore, we have to get quality links to position our iOS or Android app in web SEO and improve the ASO of our Android app on Google Play.

OK, but… What is a quality backlink?

In short, a quality link is the one that is relevant to the topic of your app or website and that has an authority for Google (we can measure Domain Authority (DR) or App authority (UR)with ahrefs tool). The more and better links point to the URL, the more authority this URL will have and the better it will be positioned.

Example of an authority of the game Super Mario Run, according to ahrefs:

Super Mario Run Android - Link Profile

Anatomy of a Backlink

How are the web backlinks built? They are built with HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) and look like this:

<a href=”URL“>ANCHOR TEXT</a>

Where “URL” is the target URL that you want the link to point to. It can be any domain URL or, in this case, the URL of any mobile app on App Store or Play Store:

  • Apple App Store: https://itunes.apple.com/app/super-mario-run/id1145275343?mt=8
  • Google Play Store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.nintendo.zara

ANCHOR TEXT is the text of the link itself. For example, this text links to Super Mario Run video game on Google Play, and its anchor text is “this text”.

But not all backlinks are text, you can also link from images. In this case, it will be the ALT (ALTernative text) attribute in the HTML that will have the Anchor Text function.

If you want to know more about backlinks, I recommend you to read this guide from our friends at ahrefs.

9 Ways to build high quality backlinks to your mobile app or game in 2018 like a PRO

Perfect! We already know that all the links that point to our app can help us both at the SEO and ASO level. The questions is… How do we generate links for our mobile app or game? Here are the 9 ways to build quality links and improve the visibility of any app:

1. Link to your app from your website

It may seem obvious, but … Do you have a website or a dedicated landing page for your app? If yes, include a link to your app or apps to this page. The more and better links your website receives, the more authority it will have and thus, more authority will be given to the apps linked from this site. In case you do not have a website for your app or game… What are you waiting for? 🙂

2. Social Media

Create profiles in social networks and link to your app or your website (that, in turn, should link to your app). You can create profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn, SlideShare, etc. Most of these links are “nofollow”, but if we want to have a healthy “link profile”, we have to have some nofollow links. The “link profile” is the total set of links that an app or domain receives.

3. Media & PR

Create a press release and send it to general and specialized media. If you’re lucky, someone will publish it, and with a bit more luck, some media will include a link to your app. You have to try!

There are agencies that are responsible for these types of tasks. If you have a budget, it might be a good option.

4. Sponsor an event

Sponsor or collaborate with an event in your sector and get a link from the event’s website to your app listing on Google Play Store or App Store. Event and conference websites usually receive media links and have good authority.

5. Become a speaker at an event

Give a talk at the congress and get a link from the congress or event website to your app. I have already mentioned it in the previous point, but the links from event websites are cool!

6. Write a guest post

Partner with other apps or websites from your sector, and write a guest post on their blog. These posts usually include the links to the author’s website or the app itself. You can share your experience in creating or managing the app, some growth hacks or interesting data about your app or game, to mention a few.

7. Create a spectacular infographic

Infographics present a great opportunity to become viral, so if you prepare an interested content, filled with data, tips and milestones, in a form of infographic, make sure to include a link to your website or app listing. People and media are very likely to share this kind of content, and it will help you get more mentions and backlinks.

8. Startup directories

List your startup in AngelList, Crunchbase, Startupxplore, Startup Ranking, etc. And get relevant high quality backlinks for your website or mobile app!

Read more > The 33 start-up directories you should be listed on (TNW)

9. Buy some backlinks (Black Hat SEO)

I never recommend buying backlinks, but it’s something that you (at your own risk) can do… BTW, if you can buy backlinks, it means that there are people selling these links… Just look for that people! It’s important to note that this technique is considered link spam (Black Hat SEO).

Black Hat SEO

The concepts of Black Hat SEO and Black Hat ASO have certain similarities, but they are not the same. In future posts I will talk more deeply about Black Hat ASO! Which, by the way, I do not recommend under any circumstances.

Some tips for building Backlinks

Building links is relatively simple. Building quality links, however, is not simple at all. Here are some tips to help you with the link building strategy for your app or mobile game:

  • Authority > Build backlinks on high authority websites. Focus on QUALITY.
  • Relevance > Build backlinks in relevant topics to your app or game. Focus on RELEVANCE.
  • Anchor text > Don’t forget about Anchor text. It matters! Try to get some EXACT MATCH ANCHOR TEXT backlinks, but be careful… Don’t spam!
  • Use ahrefs to measure authority of any mobile app and to spy the backlinks from other apps. Maybe there are other tools out there, but ahrefs works AMAZING.

Last tip: Run away from link farms, automatically generated links, and links from websites of dubious quality!

Build backlinks in 2018, my friend

In this post we mentioned 9 ways to build or generate links, but there are infinite ways to get backlinks in 2018 for any mobile app or domain. It’s all about being smart and creative!

Have you ever tried building backlinks to a mobile app or game in order to improve SEO / ASO?  What were the results? Just tell us in the comments!

Do you need help with Backlinks, SEO and ASO? Contact us 🙂

9 Ways to Get Backlinks to your App to Improve SEO & ASO in 2018
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Daniel Peris

Daniel Peris

CEO of TheTool and PickASO, the app marketing agency leader in Spain. He has generated over 25,000,000 downloads for his own mobile apps.

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26 thoughts on “9 Ways to Get Backlinks to your App to Improve SEO & ASO in 2018”

  1. Daniel, Thank you very much for such a wonderful post. I really enjoyed reading. I’ve a question that Apple does not value back links to the iOS app, then how we ca rank for the iOS keywords?

    Thanks once again!


  3. Thanks for such an informative article. As we all know backlinks has so much value in search engine optimization. Because google counts one backlink as a one vote.

  4. Hi,
    I love the dashboard features of Siteliner and Lipperhey but am looking for a tool that as well as checking for broken links, duplicate content etc also incorporates website submissions to search engines. We currently use SEOprofiler but don’t use many of the features we are paying for so am looking for something cheaper or free if possible?

  5. Thanks Deniel for the amazing blog. I am the newbie for the ASO and your blog helped me a lot for my mobile app. One thing need to ask that i own a Healthcare provider app. any suggestion for the healthcare app., bcz i heard that there’s special guideline form google for medical or healthcare sites.

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