ASO or App Store Optimization is the process of upgrading the visibility of a mobile app in an app store. Just like websites are optimized by search engine optimization (SEO), mobile apps are optimized by App Store Optimization (ASO). Precisely, app store optimization is the process of ranking an app highly in an app store's search results and top charts rankings.
Various mobile marketing companies and ASO marketers agree that higher ranks and top chart rankings can drive downloads for an app. But how can apps be optimized?
Here are some effective, proven and result-oriented tips that are used by the SEO marketers for an effective ASO:
Name Your App Appropriately
A unique name for the app is not just a matter of branding. For best results for ASO, it is important to include relevant keywords in your title, as it affects the app store search results severely.
The titles in the app store are limited to 255 characters, allowing the use of plenty of keywords and phrases. However, this doesn’t mean that you stuff all the possible keywords. The title of an app is its first impression to the potential customer. The longer a title, more are its chances to get truncated from the search results.
Titles are usually truncated after the 30th character (including spaces) in Google Play and 23rd character in the App Store. And for the installed apps, they truncate after 11 and 14 characters for a device’s navigation menu and for the home screen, respectively.
To ensure that an app is clearly identified, the name should be short and sweet. To associate the app with selected keywords, all the non-essential keywords can then be added after the name, preceded by a vertical bar or a hyphen.
Know Your Customer and Your Competition
Do you know your customers and your competition? A well-shaped ASO strategy focuses on understanding how the customers use the app, together with a profound view of the competitive landscape. When starting, ask yourself the following questions:
- What would be the top reasons for downloading and using your app?
- What is your competitive advantage?
- What language do your customers use?
- How would they describe your app?
- What keywords are targeted by your competitors?
- How easily can you compete against these same keywords?
- Should you target the obvious keywords or the less obvious keywords that speak better of your unique offerings and the points of variation?
An effective ASO strategy starts when you put yourself in your customer’s shoes. The goal is to improve the visibility in the app store searches and for that those keywords need to be targeted that drives the most traffic. The best way to identify the optimal keywords is by consumer research i.e. finding out what search queries are bringing customers to your app and the language they used to describe it.
Make the Most of Your Keywords
Different app stores have different keyword strategies. Below are the respective approaches of the App Store and Google Play Store.
The keyword field in App Store is limited to 100 characters. These 100 characters determine which search strings your app shall show up for. Keeping this in mind, it is important to use all the allotted characters and sensibly research your keywords to maximize the organic traffic.
Google Play, on the other hand, takes an approach similar to the modern SEO. It scans the description of the app to extract relevant keywords. For this, it provides 4000 characters field to describe the app in a normal, customer-facing language. Rather than jamming the keywords into the text, try and sprinkle them where they logically make sense.
Bring in a Unique Logo
The logo is responsible for the first impression of the app. Your potential customers would browse infinite apps; it is the logo of your app that would make it stand out of the rest.
It’s important to make it count!
When designing the logo, it is important to note that the App Store and Google Play vary in their approach and representation of the app logos. Both of them have predetermined standards for the ideal size, color scheme and geometry, all designed to match the rest of the operating systems.
For iOS, the logo should be sized to at least 1024*1024 pixels. From here, iOS resizes the logo for other applications, including app icons (180*180), tab bar icons (75*75) and navigation icons (66*66). It is also necessary to keep up the simplicity that can be reduced to the smallest size.
For Android, the size of the logo should be 512*512 pixels. It is recommended by Google that the designing of the app logo is done in accordance with the material design guidelines, which details everything from logo anatomy to shading and lighting.
Create a Convincing Description
You have already convinced the app store that your app is relevant to a specific list of keywords, now it’s the time to convince your potential customers that it meets their needs.
The description of the app should be targeted towards the customer base rather than search engine index. It should be viewed as call-to-action for the potential customers. The app description should be able to define itself in simple and crisp language, list the inimitable benefits it offers, and encourages the reader to download it.
It is recommended to focus the bulk of the energy in the first three lines of the description to grab immediate attention of the readers. Make the decision easy by immediately communicating what your app does and why they should use it.
The app description along with the rest of your product page should be treated as a breathing document. Every time an update is submitted, the changes should be portrayed in the product page’s description and screenshots of the new call out features.
Incorporate Videos and Screenshots
Screenshots in the description may not have a straight effect on search rankings, but they do exert downloads. Images convey more about what the app actually is about and by bringing the descriptive text to life, it allows the potential customers to envision your app before they download in real.
Though you can upload up to five screenshots for iOS apps and up to eight for Android apps, only the first 2-3 screenshots will be shown in the page load gallery. Be careful in ensuring that these screenshots show your app’s most pivotal features and are strong enough to influence the reader to browse other screenshots and download the app.
Increase Traffic with External Advertisings
It is vital to remember that on-page optimization is just one part of the mobile marketing kit. And this is where the role of your SEO knowledge comes in. It is extensively believed that both Android and Apple influence your app’s total page visits and product page backlinks when defining your search and overall ranks.
In simple words, the more traffic you drive to your listings, the higher it will rank in the search results. To drive traffic, you can build an online presence around your app with social media content, inviting reviews and investing in online advertising.
For many issuers, app indexing has proven to be the most effective strategy for driving traffic to an app’s product page. App Indexing basically is the process of making the app content searchable and linkable from searches.
App Indexing helps you get your app found in App Stores. As soon as your app is indexed, mobile users who search for keywords related to your app can see your app and install it accordingly. It helps in increasing downloads and app store traffic directly from a search engine results page.
App indexing has rapidly shaken up the world of searches, with 40% of searches now recurring as app indexed results. The world is going mobile, and those apps advancing the curve in ASO and app indexing trends will be those that steal the market share from the web-dominated search results.
The various platforms used for advertisings are Facebook, Google Adwords, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter and more.
Confine Your App Listing
If your audience is beyond the English-speaking world, consider adjusting your language and brand communication to the needs and wants of the audience segment.
To start with, you can speak to your customers in a language they use at home. There are innumerable solutions for low-cost translation services that can convert your app’s title, description, keywords, and screenshots to the languages of the largest segments.
Both the Google Play Store and the App Store allow localization of the app listings to make them easily discoverable and readable for customers in different countries. This increases both, the adoption and the conversion rates, as more customers find your app using keywords in their language and as more customers download it after seeing a welcoming product page in their language. Together, these two effects collectively can add up to as much as a 767% increase in downloads.
Mobile customers look for apps that improve constantly, with updates based on feedbacks by customers. The frequently updated apps are more customer-centric and have a higher value. Subsequently, app updates correspond highly to better reviews as each improved version of the app should naturally receive higher ratings that the version before.
Apparently, releasing an update is just half the scuffle. The next step is to inspire existing customers to download the update. The following three strategies can help you sell your next update:
- Keep the customers busy within your app such as notifying them about the latest update and what improvements they can look forward to.
- Regularly renew the app description and the ‘What’s New’ field in the product page of the app store to highlight the new and improved features with a convincing call-to-action.
- Uphold a hefty volume of five-star reviews for your app, and specifically for the latest version. According to stats, one-third of the existing customers check the ratings before downloading an update. Uphold a positive rating for that easy win.
It is recommended to maintain the update frequency between 30 to 40 days. However, always remember that each time you update an iOS app, the ratings reset and with this, the ranking drops temporarily. As a result, frequently updated iOS apps experience higher app store rank instability, while the frequently updates Android apps experience stability.
Stimulate Feedback and Ratings
Despite being mentioned at the end, it is really important to maintain a steady flow of positive reviews as it serves as the utmost possible validation of your app’s quality and is one of the best determinants of rank. This rule is applicable to all the app stores; apps with a large volume of positive ratings lead the top charts.
As per studies, the rating volume outplays the rating sentiment, when it comes to determine the ranks.
The app stores are always in the wait to recognize apps with the biggest fan community and the best standby for determine that is the rating count.
The apps with the maximum ratings usually are the ones which keep their customers busy and dynamically ask for customer feedbacks to contour their product roadmap and upcoming updates. It is important to remember that app store ratings provide just a myopic view of customer satisfaction.
With smart rating prompts, one can easily boost the ratings and eventually, the rank by thought-provoking only those customers who are most likely to give a 5-star review.
Concluding It Up:
Assisted with an understanding of the science and data regarding app store ranking algorithms and these top tips for App Store Optimization, you are well on the way to an unfailing ASO strategy. With vigilant measurement and a little trial and error, you can win-over your competitors in the app store top charts.
However, App Store Optimization is an ongoing process, thanks to both, the ever-progressing ranking algorithms and to the modest nature of the app stores. A successful ASO strategy requires a keen eye, a taste for the analytics and steady check-ins. Succeed these and your investment will pay-off many times over.