Over time, users have become more and more indifferent towards apps, to the point where they don’t even bother to download an app unless either their friends are talking about it or there’s high praise for it online.
This is one of the reasons why App Store Optimization (ASO) has grown in importance over the last couple of years.
If you’re thinking “What’s ASO?“, then here’s a quick definition: The process of manipulating the visibility of an app through various App Store Optimization techniques to help improve its ranking in search results.
The purpose? To maximize your potential for growth, downloads, and revenue.
How do you go about it though? Here are our top ASO tips to help you improve your app’s ranking.
1. Designing the app icon
There are two aspects to designing your app icon: what it looks like, and how it’s presented.
First of all, make sure that you choose an icon that is both easily recognizable and visually appealing. There are many online resources where you can get some inspiration for different types of apps, but remember that each app is different, and therefore, each app’s potential for growth will be different.
Secondly, you’ll want to make sure that your icon stands out from the rest. This means making it large enough so that it can be easily seen by a user browsing through the App Store, but also ensuring that it fits within the standard dimensions of an App Store icon.
Remember when I said that users are becoming increasingly indifferent towards apps? One way of getting around this is to carefully plan your app’s keywords so that you can steer them toward downloading your app rather than someone else’s.
There are three main areas where you’ll want to focus on with regards to keywords: App Name, App Description, and User Reviews.
Let’s start with your app name. There are a number of different strategies you can employ to help you rank higher for competitive keywords:
- Use as many targeted keywords as possible in your title without making it sound spammy. This includes using plurals for multiple instances of the same word if the keyword is singular.
- Include a number of keywords that have been searched for in the past at around the same time. You can get this information from various ASO tools such as App Annie, Sensor Tower, and SearchMan SEO. This is great for predicting which keywords are going to be popular soon – so you want to rank high for those keywords before everyone else.
- Compile a list of all your competitors’ keywords and include those as well. This helps you stay ahead of the curve. Make sure to keep your keyword list updated, though!
With regards to keywords in your app description, make sure not to go overboard by stuffing it with keywords. You’ll want to use around 2-3 main keywords in your description.
Finally, when it comes to user reviews, including targeted keywords within your five-star reviews can help increase the chances of this review being seen by users who are browsing through the App Store. This strategy is designed for increasing long-term visibility rather than short-term downloads, however still has a positive impact on both.
Your screenshots are your first impression to users browsing through the App Store, so you’ll want to use them as an opportunity to impress them by showing off your app’s best features and enticing them towards downloading it.
Here are some things that you can include in your screenshots:
- Your app icon.
- The app’s title and/or original name.
- A list of features. Be sure to keep it short and sweet (no more than 5). It’s important to highlight the best features, as users are becoming increasingly picky.
- Screenshots of your app in action. These help increase the chances that a user will download your app as it shows them what the app is like before they install it.
- A short description of your app and why users should download it. This helps to build trust with users as you’re essentially vouching for your app.
- Testimonials from previous or current users as well as press reviews of your app. Not only do these help to boost your app’s credibility, but the positive reviews from users will help entice others to download it.
4. Optimize Title and Description
When it comes to ASO, there is a lot of conflicting advice out there. Some say that you should include your app’s name in the title while others say that you shouldn’t. As with most things in life, moderation is key.
You’ll want to ensure that your app’s original name (the one displayed on the App Store and in the App Store’s search results) is included in your title. This helps to prevent users from accidentally downloading an app that they didn’t mean to download.
As for your description, you’ll want to include both your original name and your keywords. However, when it comes to the keywords themselves, you want to aim for between 3-5. If you have too many, it looks spammy and the more popular keywords won’t stand out so much – this strategy defeats the purpose.
Tools like ASOMobile provide analytics for your keywords, helping you determine which are the most popular within your app. As a general rule of thumb, you’ll want to include any main keywords that have at least 100 monthly searches in your title and description to improve visibility.
5. Add a video
For any app to be successful on Apple App Store and Google Play Store, it needs to be able to stand out from the crowd. A video showcasing your app’s best features is a great way of achieving that as it provides users with a much more detailed preview of what they can expect from your app before they install it.
It doesn’t have to be a professionally made video, but make sure you search for similar apps to yours to see what kinds of videos they are using. You can also take inspiration from the trailers of movies – you want them to be short and snappy, but informative enough that it doesn’t leave users feeling confused about your app.
As with screenshots, adding a video is another great way of turning casual browsers into potential users as it allows you to promote your app’s best features to them in a way that they can quickly and easily understand.
6. Build Backlinks
It’s an age-old internet marketing strategy that still holds true: the more backlinks you have, the higher your SEO ranking. The same goes for ASO.
A lot of people think that it’s enough to simply include keywords in their App Store page and descriptions and leave it at that. However, this is ineffective as not only does it look spammy, but Apple App Store and Google Play Store also penalize apps that do this.
In order to effectively boost your App Store page’s ASO ranking, you want to build backlinks from external sites. This can be done by promoting yourself on social media, guest blogging, or collaborating with other websites in exchange for a link back to your app’s page.
7. Reduce your app size
This is an especially important tip for those developing games. It’s pretty much a given that the more features and content your game has, the better it will be. However, this can also make your app size larger which means users may think twice about downloading your app as they need to ensure that their phone (or tablet) has enough storage space to accommodate it.
To prevent this from happening, you can always optimize your app’s size by removing unnecessary files and compressing image assets. If the file size is still too large for you to deal with yourself, then consider outsourcing it to a professional developer. Alternatively, there are tools like OnShape that allow you to collaborate on 3D designs with other people around the world.
8. Update your app regularly
By updating your app regularly, you not only show users that your product is being worked on and improved upon, but you also give them a reason to return to it as they know that their input could influence the changes made.
In order for this strategy to work well, it’s important to be proactive with your updates. Don’t simply add the same things over and over again, but make sure that you’re adding new content as well to ensure that users don’t lose interest in your app.
You can also consider making use of push notifications – especially if you update certain aspects of your app on a regular basis (such as your in-app purchases). You can set up push notifications so that users are reminded to download the latest version of your app, therefore encouraging them to do so.
Bear in mind that this strategy works best if you’re developing a game. This is because games tend to have large file sizes which mean that they don’t need to be updated as frequently as other kinds of apps to keep users interested.
9. Try and apply secondary app localization
Although this might not work for every kind of app, secondary localization is the practice of translating your app’s keywords and descriptions into other languages.
This is especially effective if you’re targeting users in foreign countries who speak different languages. For example, it can help you to expand your user base by giving them more opportunities to find your app when they search for their native tongue.
With most app development companies offering localization services nowadays, it’s also relatively easy to try this strategy out with minimum effort required. Just bear in mind that if you do choose to go ahead with this, you’ll need to ensure that your keywords and descriptions match what they’ve been translated to or Apple may penalize your app.
10. Research about competition
Lastly, it’s important that you have a clear understanding of your competition. Just by identifying the apps that are most similar to yours, you’ll have a better idea of how you can beat them in terms of ASO.
Tools like Sensor Tower allow you to monitor your competitors’ rankings, keywords, and daily estimates so that you can stay one step ahead of them. In addition, you can also use the app to estimate how many downloads and revenue your own apps are generating each day.
By carefully monitoring these aspects of your competitors’ apps, you’ll be able to identify what works well for them and what doesn’t – which means that you can make the most out of the strategies through your own apps.
Of course, if you find that none of your competitors are doing well for certain keywords or categories, then this is also a good opportunity for you to dominate the rankings in those areas!
By observing these ASO tips and effectively applying them in your own apps, you’ll be able to increase their organic downloads and revenue.
Of course, this isn’t the only strategy that you should use when trying to boost your app’s rankings. There are always other strategies such as paid ads and PR which can help you grow your user base too – it all depends on what you’re most comfortable with.
That said, if you choose to go down the path of paid ads, it’s important not to forget about your organic downloads – otherwise, your app rankings might decrease again due to the lack of real users.
With so many strategies available for you to try out, there really is no limit on how much success you can achieve with your apps – as long as you’re willing to put in the effort.
So, what are you waiting for? Get started today and watch as your app downloads surge!
Interesting Related Article: “How to Market an App: The Dos and Don’ts“