What Is It?
ASO (App Store Optimization) is the process that takes place to improve the mobile app’s visibility in an app store using keywords to help an app rank higher.
But why is it so important?
Think about the last time you visited a mobile app store. Chances are you browsed around a little bit and checked out the “Most Popular Apps” list. Right? Well, that’s how most people discover new apps and with the help of ASO, you can make sure yours is close to the top of that list.
Let’s go through the most crucial things to consider while building for App Store Optimization.
Choose Your Audience
Before doing anything you must know who it is you’re speaking to. What language do they speak? Where in the world are they? What kind of other games are they playing? All these questions should be answered before moving on.
Your title has to be grabbing, short (yet descriptive) and ideally, have a keyword in it. Check out your competitions’ app titles and see which ones are the most successful. Once the title is chosen, stick with it. Constantly changing the name of your app can not only get confusing, the lack of consistency will look unprofessional.
The icon for your app is the thing that will make it stand out in the App Store more than anything else. It should have a simple design and be transferable from small devices like mobile phones to tablets and computers.
A good practice to follow is to check out what the top trending icons look like. Chances are, they follow a similar pattern so try to stick to that. You want your app to stand out but not stick out like a sore thumb.
Research, research, research! The keywords you choose must make sense for the audience you’re trying to tap into. Ideally, they’ll also be in the title but it’s not necessarily proven that that’s actually an advantage.
Keywords with high traffic and a low to moderate number of apps will be best for your App Store Optimization. Google’s Keyword Planner is a fantastic tool to use for this.
The screenshots should 1) Show off the coolest features and 2) Differentiate it from other similar apps. Similarly to the icon, the screenshots are a great way to maximize visibility.
Another fantastic way to show off any cool or unique features your app has is to add a video into the app store. This gives the audience an in-depth look at exactly what they could be experiencing once they download your app
Get those creative juices flowing, it’s time to write a sparkling description showcasing all the cool things about your app while sprinkling in those chosen keywords for App Store Optimization.
A quick list of key features will grab the attention of the reader and a good way to beef up your use of keywords is to include a ‘How To Play’ section.
Translate your app into multiple languages so it’s available to users worldwide. One study shows that localization can help increase downloads of an iPhone app by 767%!
There are third-party localization vendors that can translate your app for you. Once you’ve found a reputable one, they can go through your entire app and not only translate the language but make sure the proper names and slang are used.
Like many online marketing tools, there are ways companies use little tricks in sneaky ways.
The term “white hat” is used when app marketers perform App Store Optimization in a way that most app stores approve. One of them would be to get people they know to rate their app to raise the average rating in a store.
“Black hat” is a term used when practices are not approved from app stores. An example of a black hat technique would be falsifying downloads, ratings, and reviews by using bots.
App stores are working hard to shut down all black hat activity and in 2012, Apple released a statement warning app makers that using third-party services to gain top placement in App Store charts could get them banned from the store.
So, get the ball rolling by asking your friends and family to give your app raving reviews!
Update your app regularly to keep it ‘fresh’. Apps that don’t get updated tend to fall in the rankings yet all the best apps are updated weekly or even daily. These updates can be done without the knowledge of the user so as not to bother them with constant notifications that you’re fixing a bug or making something better.
In the Description area, after doing any updates, you must write what it is you fixed in the “What’s New’ section. This is a great opportunity to let the users know you’re on top of any bugs, fixes or problems.
Keep it Small
Keep your app under 100 MB. Why? To save people from hitting their data limits, Apple decided to make it a requirement that in order to download any app over 100 MB, the user would have to be connected to wifi. So, if someone’s on the go and wants to download your app but can’t because they don’t have access to wifi, they will probably just find another one instead.
An easy way to avoid having your app hit that dreaded 100+ MB is to shrink down the images. Be careful, though, to not overdo it and lose valuable quality.
Now you have the recipe for App Store Optimization, it’s time to put them to the test and see the return it will inevitably produce. Keep in mind, however, that the process takes time and that it’s not a ‘one-and-done’ deal. You’ll need to continually update your ASO to keep it relevant and up to speed with the constantly evolving mobile world.
If you took anything away from this blog post or have anything to add, please comment below!