If you’re familiar with search engine optimization, or SEO, you’ll find that app store optimization (ASO) is a very similar process. App store optimization is all about improving the visibility of your app within an app store, primarily the iOS App Store or the Google Play Store.
What Does ASO Involve?
The goal of ASO is to get more views and downloads for your app by improving keyword rankings and, in general, making the app’s description and other aspects more appealing.
The Title: If the title of your app is engaging, you’ll see up to a 15% increase in downloads just from this one important aspect.
The Visuals: Screenshots are also a huge part of getting the downloads you want. If they show your app’s core features, you can see up to a 30% increase in downloads.
The Video: As another visual aid, adding video to your app’s page can lead to a 35% increase in downloads.
Since these aspects lead to increased downloads, they also work to increase your app’s ranking.
In the United States, if you want to get into one of the top 100 spots for all categories in the App Store, you’d need 15,000 downloads every day. To get into the top 50, you’d need almost 27,000 downloads per day. To reach the top ten, you’d need to be getting more than 80,000 downloads every day.
So, the question is: What can you do to get there?
How to Improve Your Ranking
Like SEO, optimizing your app will take time and on-going analysis and adaption. Tracking is very important to know where you stand and whether or not what you’re doing is working.
#1 Choose Some Tools
There are plenty of free tools to help you optimize your app. These work along the same lines as Google’s tools for SEO. However, there are specific ones for the app store, like:
These tools allow you to not only track your own ranking but also the rankings of your competitors so that you can get a better idea of what they’re doing and how you can get their spot.
#2 Choose Your Keywords
Keyword research plays a big role in helping you decide what keywords to target.
When choosing your keywords, some general best practices align with those of SEO:
- Choose relevant keywords
- Don’t use plural phrases or words that you used in singular form
- Don’t use the names of competitors
- Don’t use keywords with the word “app” in them.
#3 Write Compelling Copy
In the iOS App Store, you actually have 100 characters to list the specific keywords that you want to target. Make the most of that space. The Google Play Store does not give you that field, but you should incorporate your keywords in other ways.
In the title, for example, you should try to incorporate at least one keyword that you found during your research. Make sure the title still fits your brand name, but try to utilize at least one non-branded keyword.
When it comes to the description, both stores give you 4,000 characters to work with. Utilize the first 250 characters to incorporate as many keywords as possible. That’s what people are going to see without clicking “Read More” (users clicking that button is very uncommon on iOS, in particular).
#4 Optimize for Everything
Some final things to help you get your app ranked range from the simple, like not using URLs in your description, to the more obvious yet underutilized. For instance, you should always use as many screenshots as allowed in your listing.
Screenshots: Use as many as possible and make them as colorful as possible. If you have to add text, make it minimal. Use these images to showcase the app’s features.
Video Preview: Allow users to get a glimpse of your app in action. Capture one of the most exciting parts of your app.
Old Versions: Many people format their previews for the latest device model available. Don’t do that. Only a small percentage of users have that device.
In-App Reviews: Especially with gaming apps, asking for a review in the middle of a user’s level is only going to annoy them. Try not to interrupt their activity.
Optimize, Then Scale
The end goal of optimizing your App Store listing is, of course, more downloads…but patience is key. A top-ranking app won’t happen overnight.
App Store Optimization will be an ongoing effort that is measured, tracked, and tested often.
The more data you have and testing you do, the better you can prioritize changes and develop an optimization strategy, and use A/B testing to learn your audience’s preferences. The key to success is having the data to understand what works and what doesn’t and then using that insight continually improve your listing and its conversion rate.
Once your App Store listing is performing well organically, you can confidently kick it up a notch and leverage paid promotion to scale your downloads.