Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The Complete guide to App Store Optimization

There are currently over 5.3 million mobile apps on the biggest app stores, namely: Google Play and Apple App Store and the number are bound to increase quite exponentially. If you are an app developer or marketer, this means enormous competition and getting your app noticed, viewed and even bought is now getting harder by the day. However, if you want to maximize the visibility of your app, improve its search rankings, boost the conversion rate as well as achieve more organic installs, then App Store Optimization, often abbreviated as ASO, is the answer. 

What exactly is App Store Optimization?

App Store Optimization typically refers to the entire process of optimizing applications to maximize their visibility and ultimately boost the conversion rate by getting users to download, install and use the apps. Just like SEO, this process usually takes different variables into account to make your app appear at the top positions of specified categories, hence achieving more downloads and/or installations. Although it is primarily aimed at increasing app downloads, if done right, ASO will also increase brand exposure, boost the audience engagement, diversify the marketing channels and help you get positive reviews and higher ratings for your app. 

How to do the Optimization 

As for SEO, there are various factors which determine how your page will rank, in the same way, to get your app to rank well on different app stores, there are multiple things you need to do. These include:

1. The App Title

This is a very critical component of the metadata you will create for your app. Along with the icon or logo, it is one of the things that people will see at first, and it will show them whether that app is relevant to their search or not. For this reason, your app title should be short, quite catchy and also relevant, enabling the users to understand what your app does and offers just at first sight. You can also include keywords in your app’s title without making it appear spammy. Ensure that the title fits within the display limits; a maximum of 30 characters for Apple App Store and 50 characters for Google Play Store. 

2. The App Keywords

Keywords are basically those words that the target audience is likely to use when searching for products or applications that are similar to yours. You definitely want your application to pop up first or at the top when users are searching for specific keywords in an app store. In fact, studies have shown that around 63 percent of those people that download, install and use applications usually do so through either search or browsing an app store. For this reason, it is essential to do some research on the different keywords relating to your app. Some of the things you need to consider when choosing keywords for your app include; relevance to the app, balance for traffic as well as the ease/difficulty in penetrating the competition.

3. App Description

The app description is one of the most significant opportunities you have to push the keywords you would like to get ranked for. Instead of just stuffing many keywords close to each other in the description, it is important to note that the readers and potential users of the app are humans just like you, and that is why the description should make sense. Your primary objective in the description should be to entice the readers to download it, and that is why you need to focus on highlighting how the app will solve their problems and the keywords should be placed naturally and sensibly. 

4. App Reviews and Ratings

Different studies have actually shown that there is a correlation between app downloads and its ratings or reviews. Ideally, people are always more willing to download and try an application with higher ratings and positive reviews. You could ask other people to rate and review your application or opt for paid or incentivized reviews. Here is where you pay or give incentives to other people for them to review or rate your app. However, it is essential to ask for this from satisfied customers and at the time when the users are more likely to leave a positive review or give a higher rating. 

5. Using Backlinks

Just as in SEO, backlinks usually play a significant role in app store rankings, and you can virtually use the same strategy to get viable backlinks for your own app. You just need to get backlinks from reputable sites and direct them to your app. If you are going to use the web-based SEO backlinking strategy, then you will need to incorporate your app store link in your forum commenting, the guest blog posts and in all your Info-building efforts. The most significant difference between the Apple App Store and Google Play is just the fact that Apple has incorporated a 100-character keyword while Google Play usually incorporates backlinks in the search ranking algorithms

6. Include Screenshots

Just like the other graphic elements, screenshots are critical on-metadata elements which are also responsible for the App Store conversion rate. This is because they usually enable the user to see how the app looks like on the inside. Just by looking at the screenshots, a user might decide whether they would like to try to try the app or not. It is therefore essential for you to make an excellent first impression on users by showcasing the best features of the app on the first 2-3 screenshots. You can also add a short and clear caption text on each of the screenshots.


Other things you can do to increase the user engagement and increase your app downloads include; A/B testing, adding an appealing icon, and making a short preview video about your app. Also, you will also need to track and monitor the performance of the app to know whether you need to change any of your strategies. Implementing a combination of the above strategies will make your app to stand out from the rest on the app store and hence receive greater viewership, downloads, and installations. 

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