The secret to an app’s success is not just how well you make an app. There is more to it that requires effort. So, what else is it that plays an essential role in the success of your application? What is required for an mobile apps, to be at a place with increased number of downloads?
Importance and Benefits of app store optimization
App Store Optimization(ASO) is the best answer to all the above questions. ASO is certainly the new trend to simply improve chances of getting apps in the spotlight. One of the most effective, overlooked, marketing strategies for mobile app developers is known as app store optimization.
Forrester reports shows that 63% of apps are discovered through app store searches. According to latest trends, users tend to search mobile apps using keywords. At this point, ASO will guide users to your product and let it stand out from other rivals.
Goal of ASO
The goal of ASO is to increase the searchability rate of your app within app stores to get higher downloads and more users. Higher ranking in search results can strongly impact your download numbers. ASO can be seen as a foundation for all of your app marketing activities.
Factors affecting ASO
ASO is technically a form of search engine optimization which is used for ranking mobile apps in the app store. The higher you rank your app, the more it will be visible to audience and will receive more app downloads. As per reports, more than 63% of customers prefer browsing in the app store to discover new apps.
Reasons why ASO is getting more important:
1. Improved app search results
2. Increase app ranking through recommendations in category and sub-category
3. Help brand recall, increase conversion and rapid app comprehension
4. Increase app sales and search discovery
When you try to promote an app, there are many factors that could affect its visibility. For this, you need to work on ASO, know about the competitors, users and also know about the key app tools.
Here, we will look into the factors to perform app store optimization to improve your app:
The relevance of keywords: These are words which are used in the search bar to find your app. This has a great effect on ranking and visibility. Researching on keywords is relevant for your app. Also, check and modify your keywords regularly to get better visibility. Your main keywords must be included in the full name of your app. Make use of the store’s search auto-complete option to help you recognize popular keyword combinations that you might have missed.
Title: The foundation of any app is its title. The words you add in the title act as keywords. So be sure that you add high ranking words. Also, be sure that the keyword has a good balance between keywords and branding. The title should be short and must give a clear idea about the app to the user.
App Description: Like the meta description tag on a website, clearly and effectively explain what exactly your app is, how it works and its benefits. Choose keywords while writing the description because without doing any research on keywords, most apps are seen hidden in the app stores.
App Icon: It is an important step in the commercialization of your app. It is important to have a very sleek, simple design and must represent your logo or brand.
App Screenshot: This feature can make your app more attractive and interesting. Labelling and describing parts of the app as screen shots is a good practice. It is important to give the users some idea about the app they are going to download by uploading screen-shots of your app.
Video Demo: This is the most interactive way to present your app to the audience. Creating a video and showcasing the details and working of your app can help you get more downloads. In Google Play, you can upload a video of your app through YouTube and Apple, on the other hand, allows you to upload the video directly to iTunes Connect.
App Stats: Tracking the overall stats of an app can help you to use it to influence the ranking.
• Number of installs: Number of people installing your app is an important metric to increase ranking to get more installs
• Number of uninstalls: Used to measure user retention
• Revenues: The income made by your app might also contribute to better ranking
• Usage frequency: Tracking an app’s user activity can help you to avoid manipulation
• Application package size: Bigger files take longer time to download and will consume more mobile data. So, it is always better to go for an app with reduced package size
Reviews & Ratings: This factor is purely the reflection of the user experience. Higher the rating, more will be the positive reviews. This can increase the quality of the app in the store. Developers should encourage their customers to give reviews and try to resolve negative issues as soon as possible. Keep communication channels open to users for feedback.
Knowing the right basics of ASO is very important to plan on how to take advantage of the app market and run it simultaneously with SEO strategy.
There are certain tools specific to app marketing that can be used to search for keyword suggestions. Both free and paid tools are available on the market. Depending on the kind of investment and development idea, choose the right tools.
The most used tools are:
• Sensor Tower
• Searchman SEO
Each has functions for initial app optimization, analysing keywords, tracking and competition analysis for ongoing optimization.
1) Sensor Tower: This is one of the best tools available for ASO, which has literally changed the world of optimization. It’s features include:
• Easy user-interface
• Ideal tool for start-ups
• Review the analysis tools
• Supports iTunes and Google Play
2) MobileDevHQ: It’s very easy to use and provides a quick dashboard to see how things are going within your app.
• Learning is easy and interesting
• Good data
• Daily chart ranking updates by email
• Downloadable CSV reports?—?for use in your own custom charts
• Support multi-platform
• Additional non-app store marketing focus
3) Searchman SEO: The workflow and UI of this tool is just plain. Although the tool is great for tracking, it is not fast and effective for keyword research.
• Need a long learning curve
• Difficult to use but still powerful
• No multilingual supports
• works with Multi-platform
4) Appcodes.es: It’s an affordable ASO tool which is also easy to use. At the moment, it doesn’t support Google play, but, it is still an interesting tool.
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Methods of ASO
App store optimization includes two main components-keywords and posts search elements (description & graphics). This can help you a lot to convince the target audience to download your app.
Certain methods to be used in ASO are:
1. Keyword Optimization
2. Asset Optimization
1. Keyword Optimization
Keyword optimization is the process of researching, analysing and selecting the best keywords. This is done mainly to target traffic from search engines to your website. With keyword research, you can predict the needs in demand and respond to changing market conditions.
Keyword Optimization includes different steps:
1) Keyword research: This is basically about finding keywords that match with your app and also with the high number of other user queries. Continuous research and regular updating are required to find relevant keywords for your app.
2) Keyword Set-up: After researching for the right keyword, you have to carry out the monitoring process using keyword tracker App Radar to make this process convenient.
3) Keyword Monitoring: App Store Optimization is a complex process. Regular monitoring of ranking and analysing your competitors is the most important task in the process. By tracking and analysing how you rank for specific keywords, you take an important step towards optimizing your app store performance.
4) Optimise your Keywords: At this step, you need to replace the keywords with the optimal ones. Keep a regular check on keywords so that you can list out the high-rank ones and also replace the other ones with alternative keywords that have better ranking chances.
2. Asset Optimization
It is used to make sure that everything in your app’s layout is giving all the possible impression to downloaders. It is also a kind of sales optimization. Asset Optimization consists of an appealing icon, screen shots, promo videos etc. When a user first looks at your app, the icon, screen shot and the video are the first things to be noticed. Only if these factors are appealing, the user will download the app. Tools that are available to help testing the asset optimisation are the A/B testing and Sketch tool.
A/B Testing: This includes the testing of two versions of an app or web page to check which one works better. This allows you to make required changes to the user experience with the result of data available.
Sketch Tool: Sketch tool usually helps to keep the image size of your app small and optimised. The two official plugins of the sketch tool- Sketch image compressor and SVGO compressor, are used to automatically optimize images to PNGs, JPGs and SVGs.
ASO for iOS or Android?
Before you start optimization, it’s important to know about the two platforms. In the case of Google Play, it works only with keywords within the app description. But in Apple Store, title and keywords in the meta section of iTunes connect is considered. Using these keywords ,you can rank both the platforms for a series of potential combinations.
Comparatively, the ranking of Google Play keywords is more complex. Since, the keywords are the part of the content, there are certain factors that make differences in ranking:
• Content Length
• Density of the Keywords
• Context of the Keywords
Google Play Store works more like a real search engine and provides more precise results than iOS which is driven by phrases. Display of search results is also different in case of Android and iOS. In Google Play Store, when the user searches something, the results in a page consist of 5-6 apps per page but in Apple Store, only first search result is visible completely.
If you want to have a successful app with lots of downloads and visibility, you have to work hard on app store optimization. ASO is a continuous step of tracking and testing. Therefore, it’s important to attain the ranking of the keywords and get more downloads with proper ASO strategy. ASO may not be the complete solution for all app problems; but, it is definitely a great way for developers and entrepreneurs to find their own market and increase app downloads.