Shane Barker

Detailed Guide On App Store Optimization

When you’re competing against millions of mobile apps, app store optimization is a crucial goal for mobile publishers around the world to maximize visibility. That’s why you should look at all the possible methods for marketing your app and getting users to download it. App store optimization (ASO) that can be used to guarantee the profitable success of your mobile app.

App Store Optimization – What Is It?

The process of optimizing an app for higher search result rankings the app store and increased downloads is called app store optimization. A better rank ensures that your app becomes more noticeable to potential customers for relevant keywords. This brings in more traffic to your page in the app store. As a result, you get one step closer to realizing the goal of getting searchers to hit the download button.

For a successful ASO process, you’ll need to have an in-depth understanding of your targeted customer base. This means you must know the keywords your potential customers are likely to type in for finding apps similar to yours. Knowing popular search terms also assists you with uncovering another crucial piece of information – the language searchers use.

What is the Importance of ASO?

According to research from Forrester, app store searches have resulted in the discovery of 63% of all apps. Search is considered the most popular mode of discovery of new apps. This further proves why app store optimization is critical for marketing your app. If you’re not using it, you’re losing out on a chance to get your app easily discovered by new potential customers.

There are thousands of apps in app stores competing with one another to rank higher. The Google Play Store alone has over 1.4 million apps. Despite this fact, few publishers have made the wise move of investing in app store optimization. You could use this to your advantage by making app store optimization your secret weapon. Try allotting time each week to make improvements on your current ASO technique. Eventually, it’ll add up and make a positive impact on your app’s overall success.

Factors for Ranking an App

For app store optimization, there are several different factors that must be considered because they’re used for calculating the search rankings. The following are some common factors that influence how your app stands up against competition:

  1. Number of positive reviews – Your app’s ranking is greatly impacted by the number of positive reviews you’ve earned from users. Therefore, your app will need a significant amount of reviews in general. With more positive reviews, you have a better chance of ranking higher in the app store.
  1. Rating of current updated app – The ranking algorithm accounts for the rating of your app across all versions. How users rate your app after new updates plays a significant role in your overall ranking. For instance, if your new update 1.5 has many bugs or delivers poor user experiences, you’ll get a low ranking. Then, your app store search ranking will have the same fate and fall.
  1. Appropriate description (keyword-based) – Your app ranking can improve if you use the right keywords in your app description. Are you using keywords that are commonly used by searchers? This factor is a bit tricky. You’ll naturally have a lot more competitors if you simply use the most popular keywords. Try to get keyword combinations that are popular, yet less frequently used by other publishers.

Note: Google takes short and long descriptions with character limits of 80 and 4000 respectively. Short descriptions should cover the most convincing parts of the app and make users want to download it the first second it’s visible on the Play Store.

  1. Appropriate title (keyword-based) – Following along the same lines, the app title also needs to include relevant and competitive keywords. This makes it easier for searchers and potential customers to discover your app. Try coming up with a catchy title that has both high demand and low competition.

 Note: Google takes title lengths of 30 characters or less only, whereas in App Store you can use character length up to 255 but only 25 characters are visible on search.

  1. App retention rate – Your app ranking is often determined by how well you retain your customers too. This factor takes into account the number of people who keep the app for 30 days and the number of people who uninstall it within that same period. You can improve your app retention rate by catering to the right audience. Make sure you’re using an appropriate description that doesn’t over-promise. Monitor the retention rate of your app through Cohort Analysis in Google Analytics (Android or iOS).
  1. Video and images – Visuals leave a good impression on searchers and encourage them to download. Try adding appropriate screenshots, images, and videos that will influence a user’s download decision. Make a video or screenshot that gives people a clear picture of what the app is like and how it performs. 

Note: Google Play Store requires photos for phone, seven-inch tablet, 10-inch tablet, and Android TV. You can use four images as one Hi-res icon with a required resolution 512 x 512 – 32-bit PNG (with alpha), one Feature Graphic with required resolution 1024 w x 500 h – JPG or 24-bit PNG (no alpha), one Promo Graphic with required resolution 180 w x 120 h – JPG or 24-bit PNG (no alpha), and one TV Banner with required resolution 320 w x 180 h – JPG or 24-bit PNG (no alpha). Also, Google only takes YouTube videos for app listings.

  1. Social proof – The ranking of your app will be calculated based on its popularity on social media platforms. This is especially the case for Android apps. Google takes into account the number of +1 and shares the app gets on Google+.
  1. Recent updates – The number of users updating your app can give it a temporary boost in the rankings as well. Try encouraging users to update to the latest version of your app by adding a clear description of what’s new. A push notification can be persuasive in drawing in users’ attention.
  1. Paid apps – For paid apps, the revenue you bring in could also be an important ranking factor. It only makes sense that both Apple and Google would give more visibility to apps that have the tendency to generate more revenue. It helps everyone’s bottom line improve.
  1. App starts – Having users download your app isn’t the only thing determining your app ranking. How often users start your app plays a huge role. This proves how many people are actually using the app after downloading.
  1. Country – In app stores, the number of downloads, uses, and reviews in one region can have an impact on app ranking in a different region. It’s best to get your app localized by translating strings of the APK in all languages. Add them in your app store listing with images of the respective language. This way Google will give preference to the app for being localized.
  1. Backlinks – Quality backlinks are also considered to be big ranking influencers for apps, especially in the Google Play Store. Including links to several relevant pages can improve your app ranking to some extent.

Common ASO Myths

Buying into common myths and misconceptions about app store optimization could ruin your chance of success. Make sure your tactics stay sharp by righting these wrongs:

  1. Make frequent title changes to adapt to high-ranking searches – In reality, it would be better to come up with the right title from the beginning and stick with it.
  2. People will find my app as long as it’s in the store – The truth is that for an app to get recognition in today’s competitive app market, it needs plenty of downloads.
  3. Keywords aren’t too important – Absolutely false! Using the right keywords for your targeted app users is crucial.
  4. Ratings are everything – While ratings are important, they aren’t the only factor impacting your app’s search ranking.
  5. Descriptions aren’t necessary – The fact remains that the right description with a good amount of keywords can have a huge impact on your visibility.

Tools for App Store Optimization

There are a number of tools for app store optimization circulating. Most of them are beneficial in helping you identify competition, keywords, and better optimization techniques. Here are a few that I wholeheartedly recommend:

  1. SearchMan
  2. Sensor Tower
  3. Appnique
  4. AppCodes
  5. MobileDevHQ

Keyword Tool for the App Store

Since finding the right keywords plays a significant part in your app visibility, using the Keyword Tool for the App Store is smart. With the help of the App Store auto-complete, this tool enables you to find the most relevant keywords and topics for your app. It generates hundreds of keywords depending on the specified query for app store optimization.

ASO Case Study – Flappy Bird

Examining the performance of the Flappy Bird app can help us discover some interesting facts about Apple’s App Store rankings and app store optimization. The app used a little trick well-known to user interface designers as “dark patterns”. The earlier versions of this game had a “rate” button that appeared at the end of every play session. Then, they placed this button at the same location where users would tap to continue playing. Naturally, it was easy for users to accidentally rate the game and contribute to the app’s ranking.

Such innovative ideas will always boost your downloads, but don’t forget the basics of app store optimization that we’ve covered above. It’s the right mix that makes a great recipe for success. With the right optimization strategy, you could experience a rapid spike in page views, downloads, loyal customers, and search rankings. What other ideas do you have about app store optimization? Comment below!