Optimize for App Storesby Petr Kudlacek on 14 May 2014
App store optimization (ASO) isn’t just the latest buzz word; when done right ASO can make it easier for customers to find your app in the app store(s) they use most. ASO is all about increasing your overall downloads and can be applied to your app either at its launch or when releasing a significant update. The improved search visibility and rankings that proper ASO can give an app have the potential to boost organic (naturally found by the user) installations by as much as 20%, according to the ASO team at AppCod.es.
App store optimization (ASO) isn’t just the latest buzz word; when done right ASO can make it easier for customers to find your app in the app store(s) they use most.
ASO is all about increasing your overall downloads and can be applied to your app either at its launch or when releasing a significant update. The improved search visibility and rankings that proper ASO can give an app have the potential to boost organic (naturally found by the user) installations by as much as 20%, according to the ASO team at AppCod.es.
The foundation of ASO is to use words that describe your app quickly and include the keywords that users search for.
This should be applied to every aspect of your app, from tweaking existing keywords and titles to making the description of your app and your updates simple but descriptive. Find these words by searching for what your app does, and use common terms and abbreviations like RPG instead of “role playing game.”
ASO demands that your app let users know what it does, and not that your page features just a string of keywords. App stores are getting smart about pages that load up on keywords without context and are starting to make these apps do worse in search results.
ASO Demands Full Sentences
Using actual, intelligible sentences sounds like a strange piece of advice, but it gives you two clear benefits right away:
- Customers know what you do and don’t get scared away by app that looks like a scam. If you needed a flashlight app, how much would you trust one whose description was just 20 different ways to say flashlight?
- It also gives various app stores confidence that you’re real and not a scam. Apps that look like they’re built to steal information or load up a device on malware risk getting banned, especially by Apple.
There are three big reasons to keep everything short and sweet. First is that all mobile screen space is limited, so you want to get to the point right away.
Second, iTunes only shows up to the first two sentences in its search results. There’s no point in making your third sentence killer, get it out front.
Last, the audience for mobiles tends to be younger, and they’re not reading long text for apps or other items online. You have to catch their attention right away or you’ve lost them.
Very Different From SEO
The names may look similar, but ASO is not just a new name for SEO on an app.
One big difference is that link-backs don’t matter that much in ASO for your overall position. Links from social media and PR campaigns are great for mobile because they lead to more downloads, but they don’t improve your rankings in results. Don’t let your ASO strategy focus on spreading links.
ASO Loves Reviews
Reviews are big and worth encouraging. In some of the search and sort options from app stores, better review scores help you show up more prominently. ASO efforts that give users a benefit for reviewing apps are a good bet. These can be contests, free content, the removal of ads, or knocking something off a monthly price tag, or anything else you can come up with.
Search Your Teams
Search returns rely more heavily on the exact word used, so ASO will focus on very specific terms. On a mobile device, users search with as few words as possible because typing can be a pain and results come back ranked. Keywords here should have an extremely heavy-handed focus on “quality over quantity” approaches. Searches on desktops and in regular search engines often look for broader connects and larger strings of words because they offer access to lots and lots of information, as opposed to the narrowly tailored window that app search results try to achieve.
Are ASO Tools Trustworthy?
One of the big similarities between SEO and ASO is that people will claim to know how to do it and guarantee you instant success, but you should be wary of any such guarantee.
ASO techniques are still being tested on a small scale, even by big firms. Large companies that want to increase the presence of their services and beat out their large competition, such as map apps and restaurant finders, engage ASO techniques and studies from multiple sources for every single app they have. That’s a trend you should follow.
An Icon can make or break your app because it is the feature that will get someone to click you instead of the other apps that show up in search results. Your icon needs to stand for your app but provide an exciting reason to click.
A few strong tips for icons include:
- Don’t use your name! The name of your app appears next to the icon, so don’t duplicate that and lose this valuable space
- Small and simple. The icon needs to be easily recognized and be a single, simple visual. For games, it is often just the face of the main character, no other clutter.
- Visual appeal. Your icon should use colors that complement each other, such as those provided by a color wheel. Go for contrast and ditch the special effects and glossy mess.
For most of you out there, you’re now facing choices about how to help your app reach more customers. We recommend you taking a few minutes to chat and ask us about keywords and their role in the app ecosystem.
App store optimization is good for you if done well, and we’re here to assist in those efforts and guide you the whole process of building a better app and maintaining through the app lifecycle.
ASO is often called a game because it’s new, and in the tech world new is playful. While there’s nothing wrong with a bit of fun, ASO done right can improve your bottom line, and there’s nothing as important as that to any business.
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