App store optimization is the process of optimizing mobile apps to rank higher in an app store’s search results. The higher your app ranks in an app store’s search results, the more visible it is to potential customers.
By Quokkalabs LLP
29 May, 2020
If you are a company or organization wondering how to dive into the mobile app market and climb up high in the user's choice, App Store Optimization (ASO) is the way to go! Google Play Store has around 2.56 million while Apple's App Store has 1.85 million apps for download.
Let's get down there!
App Store Optimization (ASO) or Mobile-App SEO is the continuous process of optimizing a mobile application to achieve sustainability in the mobile applications market and get maximum user attention. Organic users acquired through such strategies tend to be more loyal than the ones influenced by paid ads! Apart from involving search optimization, ASO also includes:
App Store Optimization is a crucial part of app marketing . The core objective of ASO is to gain the maximum number of organic downloads for your mobile application.
I will walk you through the basic as well as advanced practices that you should follow in 2020 and beyond –
The market is experiencing a nearly three times growth in worldwide revenue and is expected to earn more for the next few decades at least. This is one of the main reasons companies are shifting to the mobile applications market more than ever. Instead of overspending on paid acquisition tools like CPI networks, Social Media and App Search Ads, PPC, and more, earning organic customers through app store optimization strategies is more profitable.
Now let's learn how to achieve this.
Conducting in-depth keyword research is crucial to app store optimization; keywords become your app's identity. Your ASO keyword research should consider your target audience, their needs and wants, and search pattern analysis. Like in SEO, keywords also significantly position your app in the user's search list.
Brainstorming The first step is to list all possible words or phrases that clearly and uniquely describe your app. Now, categorize your list according to the type of application, the class it belongs to, its functionality, its usage, or how it can simplify a user's life.Done with the baby steps? Let's step into deeper waters now.
Market Research / Spying On Competitors I may be sounding immoral, but it's worth investing some time in spying on your competitors to understand them. This approach will give you insight into new keyword ideas and help you better understand how to strategize your keyword selection and where to locate them.
Analyze, Shortlist, and Prioritise Now that you have a long list of all the handpicked keyword ideas, it's time to finalize those keywords in order. It is essential to prioritize your keywords and place them smartly as the fields like the App Name, App subtitle, Keywords section in iOS, and Title and short description in Android hold more weightage when optimizing for ASO.
After the icon, the next thing that catches users' attention is your app title. The title of your mobile application needs to be catchy, short, and crisp so that the user can immediately get a brief idea about your application and what service it renders. Clever use of keywords to increase visibility on the app store may do the trick but don't make it look like spam.
The app description is where you can put most of the relevant keywords. A 2-3 line detail about what your app does, its benefits, and how it differs from other products.
But don't sound over-ambitious here! The core objective while optimizing the app description is convincing people to download your application. -Fit in the keywords too, but do just what is necessary.
If a user finds your app relevant after reading the description, he is more likely to install it, and of course, a higher number of downloads gets you higher up on the visibility ladder.
The Apple App Store introduced a new metadata field, the app subtitle, after its iOS 11 release. This field allows you to place only 30 characters and appears just under your app title. Remember that this subtitle will be indexed in app store search results, so save some keywords here, too.
App promotional text is another metadata field Apple App Store added after its iOS 11 release. This field is limited to 170 characters and appears at the top of the description. Unlike subtitles, app promotional texts are not indexed in app store search results, but still, you should place relevant keywords in them because you never know how ranking algorithms might change with time.
Pro Tip: You can do A/B testing with this metadata field, as you can change this content anytime without releasing a new version for your app. Conduct A/B testing with different messages to determine which statement is best regarding conversion.
The iOS keyword domain is limited to only 100 characters while remaining invisible to users, yet, it is one of the most crucial ranking factors for applications on the Apple app store. You can add keywords while uploading the other iOS application metadata. While Apple doesn't discreetly use this field to rank, it utilizes this domain to understand your app type and structure to find out for a user. Such a compact and strategically practical field should be exploited as much as possible, hence choosing the keywords here cleverly.
Pro Tip: Remember to identify your free keywords. Like other apps, your app shall also be indexed on the app store for some keywords. These keywords are known as free keywords. Some good examples are – "free," "app," "game," "iPhone," etc. Also, use your knowledge to classify your app into the best possible category; if your app falls in the category: "Free Games," your app automatically gets this keyword. Do not waste this space for free keywords; instead, utilize this space to include the keywords that are high on your priority list.
A living and breathing app can continuously hold the pole position in the market. Keeping this in mind, plan regular updates, not only bug fixes, and make it adapt to improved features, adding or removing items according to performance and better visibility on the user's mobile after getting downloaded. Top Apps on the App Store introduce an update every three weeks in the case of the free ones, while the paid ones are updated every Two Months. You can feel the importance. Along with the positive response you get after every update, the frequency and regularity of this practice are considered a part of both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store's ranking algorithms.
While mobile devices with larger built-in storage spaces are flooding the App developers tend to apply more SDKs, higher-resolution images, and better graphics. But viewed from another angle, the growing internet cover is also making people share photos, videos, and other media more rapidly among themselves. Hence, effectively the storage space for downloading apps over the years that much. Google Play App Partnership executive Sam Tomolei emphasizes that every 6 MB increase in apk size leads to a 1% decrease in install rate. Further, his team found that the download completion rate of an app with apk size of around 10 MB will be 30% more than that of a 100MB apk app.
Median APK Size, weighted by install volume, by market.
Green = larger median APK, Red = smaller median APK
When browsing the application stores, your app icon is the first thing a user sees (along with the name). It is crucial to design the icon perfectly, as this builds the first impression of your app. Just remember these 3 points while developing your app:
You should go the extra mile and hire a skilled designer to fetch cool ideas for your icon. Before finalizing one, remember its user-appeal and your app title goes hand-in-hand. App design plays a very significant role in the app store optimization process; it is considered a crucial part of ASO because a good app design tends to derive more click-through rate, thus, increasing the chances of getting it downloaded.
Note: Just because you've liked the icon doesn't mean your potential users will also like it. Therefore, it is also essential to do several tests with icon variants.
Now that you're done preparing visuals and listing your app, it's time to say "hello" to the global market. Have you ever paid heed to Google greeting you with "Hello," "Namaste," "Bonjour," and many more? This is called app localization or international ASO, which makes the product more user-friendly and enhances your reachability beyond the English-speaking world.
Let's see how it appears.
This will help your app reach and fulfill the needs of every audience segment segregated by language worldwide. In short, your app will be able to serve users who search in their native language. Also, globalizing your app is an essential part of app store optimization as it will also make you aware of the vast differences in keywords that users type while searching in your app. It will intuitively help you in restructuring any segment you want to improve. Trust me, the results after your app's localization will surprise you. Here's a fact – It also increases the conversion rate because a user is more likely to download an app with a welcoming product page in their mother tongue as they find it more reliable and trustworthy.
No doubt, "visuals communicate better than words." Preview screenshots and videos allow you to extrapolate your app's working, its functionalities, uses, how it solves a problem, etc.; while the preview App store ranking algorithms will not use screenshots and videos; they play a huge role in strengthening your conversion rate, which is a direct factor in app store visibility. Make sure to list visuals and videos that are compelling enough to convince a user to download your application. First, you must decide whether you want to put horizontal or vertical screenshots. An A/B testing on these visuals to find the best one with a high conversion rate is strongly advisable.
Users only sometimes go with pretty icons or screenshots. The app rating sits right below your icon. According to the Apptentive report, 40% of users trust reviews more than personal recommendations. The Apple App Store and Google Play Store take reviews and ratings seriously in their ranking algorithms.
Hence, this is a spot to take advantage of when optimizing for app stores! Most mobile users read reviews of an app before downloading it. Thus, it also becomes quintessential to reply to reviews and solve the problems your existing users are facing.
Pro Tip: Depending on your app's nature, you can encourage positive reviews in many ways. When a user likes your app, he is very likely to leave a review, but you must decide when to ask them for a review. For example, you can ask for a review in the gaming industry after a user wins the game. Do not ask too much; otherwise, you will be penalized. In iOS, you can only request a review three times a year.
Now that you've read all these effective app store optimization tips, it's time to go all out into the market. A long history of apps has gained success over time because of intense app store optimization efforts. Results are guaranteed but have patience.ASO strategies are proven and tested over many areas but are continuous.
Have patience, for the fruit shall be sweeter indeed! Wishing you all the very best in this journey!
App Store optimization
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