App Store Optimization (ASO) is the process of improving the visibility and discoverability of a mobile app in the app stores like Google Play Store and iOS App Store. It involves making certain changes and optimizations to your app’s listing so that it appears higher in the search results and ranks well in the app store rankings.
Just like how websites need to be optimized for search engines to attract more visitors, mobile apps also need optimization to attract more downloads and be noticed by users. ASO helps you improve your app’s chances of being found and downloaded by potential users by following certain criteria set by the app stores.
ASO is often referred to as Mobile App SEO, App Store SEO, or App Search Optimization because it shares similarities with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for websites.
Why is ASO (App Store Optimization) Important?
App Store Optimization (ASO) helps your app become easily discoverable when users search in the app stores. If your app can’t be found by the right users, it won’t be installed. ASO prevents your app from being unnoticed among the countless competing apps in the app store searches.
ASO also saves you a lot of money. Apps can be ranked either organically through optimization or through paid ads. While paid ads may seem affordable, there’s no guarantee that users who click on them will actually install the app. Additionally, if your app is still in the development phase and not flawless, paying for ads can lower your ratings unnecessarily, so it’s not necessary.
Furthermore, optimizing your app helps you reach relevant users. There’s no point in releasing an application if the developer hasn’t taken any steps to optimize it. Proper optimization in Google Play, for example, allows users to target the right audience and increase the number of downloads.
10 App Store Optimization (ASO) Ideas
- Choose a catchy app name.
- Use relevant keywords in your app’s description.
- Create attractive icons and screenshots.
- Write a compelling description that grabs attention.
- Encourage positive reviews and ratings from users.
- Adapt your app listing to different languages and regions.
- Include a preview video to show your app’s features.
- Drive traffic to your app store page through various channels.
- Research and understand your target audience’s preferences.
- Study and analyze your competitors’ strategies.
1. Choose a catchy app name
Choosing the right name for your app is very important. It tells users what your app does and helps it appear in search results. Including relevant keywords in the app name improves search performance and user conversion rates.
A good app name should have the following qualities-
- Creative and catchy
- Unique to rank higher in app store searches
- Descriptive, giving users an idea of what your app offers and improving keyword ranking
- Easy to spell and pronounce
2. Use relevant keywords in your app’s description
Users typically use a couple of words or phrases based on features (2-3 words) to locate apps on app stores. It is important to note that relevant search traffic is achievable solely through the use of appropriate keywords.
Developers can comprehend user search behavior by using accurate mobile data, thereby enhancing app optimization. It is important to note that iOS App Store developers must adhere to a character limit of 100, within which they must fit their keywords.
Google does not require developers with apps on the Google Play Store to declare their keywords. Consequently, developers should select highly relevant keywords for their app and include them in the description, as unrelated words negatively impact your ranking. The following considerations should be kept in mind when using keywords-
- Avoid using spaces or repetitive words.
- Give priority to title keywords.
- Use either plural or singular word forms.
- Make use of other localizations.
- Use typehead search suggestions, Search Ads suggestions, and related searches that are suggested by the app stores.
- Avoid using keywords that include the term “app” or the brand name of competitors.
3. Create attractive icons and screenshots
As the app icon is the first impression users have when searching for apps on app stores, it plays an important role in optimizing your app’s performance.
An ideal icon should be creative, simple, recognizable, and eye-catching. It should stand out amongst the extensive list of apps available on the stores and instantly capture the attention of visitors. Simultaneously, it should provide a clear indication of your app’s functionality. Consider the following guidelines when selecting an icon for your app:
- Avoid excessive text or complicated details.
- Opt for a clean color palette.
- Contrasting colors create an effective combination.
- Keep the icon’s concept simple and easily understandable.
App screenshots also play a vital role as they prominently appear in search result listings and on the app page. They significantly impact conversion rates and require careful consideration. Keep the following aspects in mind when including screenshots:
- If the first screenshot is in portrait orientation, ensure that the second one follows the same orientation.
- Use descriptive caption texts that effectively promote your app, conveying a story that highlights its features and benefits.
- Analyze competitors and consider apps from other categories for inspiration.
- Use all five available screenshots.
4. Write a compelling description that grabs attention.
To increase your user base, it is important to have a compelling and powerful app description. The description should specifically target your customer base and motivate potential users to download the application.
An effective description should include the following elements:
- Concisely and clearly explain the app’s functionality.
- Utilize impactful language and adopt a customer-centric approach.
- Highlight the unique selling points (USPs) and benefits of the app.
- After reading the description reader should feel compelled to download the app.
- Limit the use of the keyword to no more than five times throughout the description to maintain reader comprehension.
- Avoid excessive keyword stuffing.
The first few lines of the description should immediately convey what the app does and how it benefits users, grabbing the audience’s attention. The first 250 characters should contain as many relevant keywords as possible while avoiding excessive word count.
With each new update, it is important to modify the description and the entire product page. These changes should be reflected in screenshots and descriptions to show new features accurately and precisely.
The character limit for descriptions is 4000 characters, which restricts the amount of information that can be provided to users.
5. Encourage positive reviews and ratings from users.
The app’s rankings also depend on the reviews and ratings it receives. Positive reviews and ratings contribute to the app’s success in its specific niche.
Positive reviews are a strong validation of your app’s quality and greatly influence its ranking.
Apps with the most ratings in the app stores actively engage customers and seek their feedback to shape future updates.
Many users require extra engagement or reminders to provide feedback. A thoughtful prompt for ratings and reviews can help improve your ratings and, in turn, your rank.
To get better ratings, consider the following-
- Provide a dedicated space for users to leave reviews.
- Direct only positive feedback to the app stores.
- Encourage users to write reviews and give ratings, but be mindful of timing to avoid annoyance.
6. Adapt your app listing to different languages and regions.
If you plan to target a specific local area or market, you’ll need to customize the content for that particular audience. This includes adapting the brand communication, using the audience’s language, captioning screenshots, and more to effectively connect with the local audience.
App publishers who cater to different customer groups with unique preferences can expand their customer base. For non-English speaking audiences, consider adjusting the language and brand communication to meet their specific needs.
Providing a personalized experience based on your customers’ language enhances their satisfaction. Localization or translation services can help translate the app’s keywords, descriptions, screenshots and titles into the language of your target audience.
To improve readability and discoverability for users who speak different languages, localize your app listing in both app stores.
By making your app available in users’ native languages, you’ll increase both its adoption and conversion rates.
7. Include a preview video to show your app’s features.
The success of your app often relies on the presence of a preview video. Developers should test new video previews by uploading them to the app stores.
Consider the following when adding a preview video for your app-
- Keep it short and simple. Studies show that 80% of users stop watching a preview video after 12 seconds. So, avoid unnecessary details!
- Skip fade-in and welcome messages at the beginning of your video.
- Pay special attention to the feature graphic (Android)/ poster frame (iOS), as it takes the place of your initial screenshots. Ensure that the poster frame/feature graphic aligns with the guidelines for your screenshot images.
- Remember, you only have one version for all localizations, so it’s best to use clear and universal messaging.
8. Drive traffic to your app store page through various channels.
To increase traffic to your app store pages and improve your app’s visibility, consider the following strategies-
- Host relevant information on an SEO optimized website to direct traffic to your app store pages. This can also enhance your app’s ranking on Google, making it more discoverable for users to download.
- Build an online presence through social media, encouraging ratings and reviews, and invest in online advertising to attract more traffic to your app.
- Implement app indexing, which enables Android and iOS app content to be linkable and searchable from mobile web or web searches.
- Consider using paid app advertising to drive traffic to your application.
9. Research and understand your target audience’s preferences
An effective ASO (App Store Optimization) strategy involves targeting high-traffic keywords and ensuring easy discoverability in app store searches. To do this, it’s important to put yourself in the shoes of your customers.
Understanding your target audience, their needs, and their potential usage of the app is the key to a successful ASO strategy. A well-crafted ASO strategy depends on comprehending how customers use and get benefit from your app.
Consumer research plays a vital role in identifying optimal keywords by revealing the queries customers have about your app and the language they use to describe it.
Consider the following points when studying your target audience-
- What language is commonly used by the target audience?
- How would they describe your app?
- What are the main reasons for downloading and using your app?
10. Study and analyze your competitors’ strategies
Before planning your strategy, it’s important to research and analyze your competitors in the market. Studying your competitors allows you to gain insights and identify opportunities for introducing innovation, uniqueness, and compelling features that set you apart from others.
It’s important to identify the keywords targeted by similar apps in your market. This helps determine whether you should target the same keywords or choose a different set of keywords that align with your unique value proposition.
Consider the following points when researching your competitors-
- What is your competitive advantage? What sets you apart?
- Which keywords are your competitors targeting?
- Can you compete with your competitors’ apps on the same keywords?
- Should you focus on obvious keywords or less obvious ones?
Wrapping it up…….
With a lot of apps available on the App Store and Google Play, publishers try to increase their app’s visibility. App Store Optimization (ASO) plays an important role in this battle for discovery.
The abovementioned ASO techniques, when combined with a well-developed app, effective marketing, and user acquisition strategies, can greatly enhance the impact and returns on your app promotion investments.
It’s important to note that ASO is an ongoing process, rather than a one-time activity. Continuous optimization is necessary, which involves refining your keyword list, monitoring keyword positions, keeping an eye on reviews and ratings, brainstorming new ideas to improve your app store page, and enhancing the overall user experience.
By consistently optimizing your app and implementing effective ASO strategies, you increase your chances of standing out in the crowded app marketplace and achieving long-term success.