The hard part’s over, right? You’re a developer with a great app. But maybe now you’re wondering…
In some ways, developers can think of this challenge as being SEO for apps, instead of websites. With 2 million+ mobile apps on the Apple App Store and 3.8 million+ mobile apps on the Google Play counterpart, it’s both a science and an art to rank high enough for potential users to discover your product in this space.
You might be scratching your head at this point.
Three letters. Three words.
ASO. App Store Optimization.
You’ve heard that buzzword thrown around a lot. But what does it mean?
In a vacuum, it’s a crucial 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 users and that increased visibility may translate to more traffic to your app’s page in the App store and hopefully, increase your conversion rate and drive installs.
As a marketing coordinator for a mobile apps startup, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve encountered developers with a solid product but zero knowledge on ASO. It’s a criminally overlooked piece in mobile marketing. In fact, more apps are discovered through organic search than any other method.
ASO for Google Play and the App Store are two very different beasts. Let’s take a look at the mechanics for the App Store.
Things to consider:
Title - Apple allows for 30 characters in the title text field. Since the title has the heaviest weight in search ranking, make sure the keyword(s) has the greatest search volume traffic. Having a keyword in your title could improve your ranking by 10.3%. Try not to change your title multiple times as it may make it difficult for users to find your app. Not sure where to start with keywords? Try typing in descriptors for your app and see what suggestions auto-populate. Survey the keywords in the title and subtitles of your competitors. Chances are, you’ll notice similar words for app’s vertical.
Subtitle - Apple allows for 30 characters in the subtitle text field. The subtitle is weighted the second heaviest.
Keywords - Improve your search ranking by figuring out which words are most relevant for your target audience. Unlike Google Play, the product description does not affect your ranking so focus more on title, subtitle and keywords.
Check out these tools for keyword suggestions, volume and traffic analytics. AppAnnie, AppFollow, Tune
Total # of Downloads and Ratings & Reviews - You won’t have total control over these factors. Be sure to monitor reviews for feature requests, bug fixes and overall community health. It’s a good idea to respond to most (if not all) of the reviews as you can gain insight/feedback on how to better your app and the interactions may entice users to improve their ratings.
Icon + Screenshots - The thing is, users do judge a book by its cover so it’s important that your art assets has a pleasing aesthetic. Check out your competitor’s icons and screenshots. Are yours as interesting and dynamic as theirs? If you’re on a budget and time crunch and need cohesive screenshots, 99designs provides sleek, customizable templates. No design skills necessary! Apple has a preference for store listings with a video so include a short screen recording of your app’s features.
Check out the full app store breakdown here.
3rd party app stores
An untapped source of revenue with much competition are third party app stores. You’ll find that it’s much easier to get featured in editorial placements and you can target specific countries. Try submitting your app to the following app stores:
Managing apps is an international business. Optimizing your app for more languages only increases your chances of having your app being downloaded.
Be patient. ASO takes time and the process needs to be monitored and adjusted over time. Experiment with your keywords in order to consistently rank well among your competitors and drive more traffic to your download page. You should take stock of the keywords you’re implementing on your store page and see how the list is ranking every week. With each update, find out which keywords are succeeding and if you need to swap any words out.