With over 2 million apps in the app stores, making an app is really a big business. The global app economy is soaring at $143 billion and growing. Building mobile apps and purchasing them is on a rise.
Building an app is one thing but getting it discovered on the app store is an equally important aspect. Ranking your app in the app store and Google search can feel like an unrealistic goals especially if you’ve just launched an app. Regardless, of which app store you are selling on (Apple app store, Google Play store, Windows phone store, Amazon store), a few basic optimization processes can help you get closer to your goals.
Just like you would invest time, effort and resources in Search Engine Optimization(SEO), you also need to focus on App Store Optimization (ASO) which is the process of optimizing the mobile applications to rank higher in the app store’s search results.
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The higher the rank, the more visible your app is to potential customers. Increase in visibility leading to more traffic to your app’s page in the app store. The ultimate goal is to drive more traffic to your app’s page in the app store.
A great ASO strategy revolves around the understanding of your target audience for the app along with a good understanding of the competitive landscape.
We will be focusing on the most important factors for the app store ranking factors as well as best practices to improve the listing of your app.
Keyword in title and description
The keyword you use in your app title is important to an extent that studies have revealed that using keywords in your title can increase rankings by 10.3%.
The use of keyword in the title is to make sure that you are conveying accurately the name and subject of your application. The other thing that keywords should be present in the description is controversial from the ASO aspect as it is yet not clear whether it is indexed and searchable. But, a good description is what will ultimately help you sell your app.
Your keywords should meet these three criteria
- High relevancy
- Low level of competition
- High searches
The type of keyword you should target
Various studies have been conducted in the past which revealed that your keyword target should be based on the following types:
Genre Searches- Studies revealed that 80% searches in the app store are for specific categories like games or business. Build an app for that category that hasn’t become over saturated and too competitive. Competition means too many apps fighting for the top ranks. It is advisable that you identify that genre search which is not overly crowded which means you will have be at the top of your game by finding out trends before the others.
App titles- Rather than counting on your brand name to do miracles, you should concentrate on your app titles. Focus on incorporating relevant keywords in your app titles as 5% of all app searches are based on app titles.
Inspirational searches- These type of titles are difficult to incorporate in your app title but you can add them in your description as 5-10% searches are inspirational like ‘new games’ or ‘best to do list’.
Localizing your keywords
Many tend to ignore this process of using multi language translations for your app name, keywords and screenshots. Try it once and see the results as localization will lead to an increase in downloads elsewhere. It can have a significant impact on your rankings.
Luckily, localizing your app is relatively simple. For example, in the Apple App Store, go to the app details under versions you will find an option to choose language that you would like to add as addition to localizing it. Make sure you leave your primary language as English. All data except description and keywords will automatically be in English. You will need to translate your text, including screenshots, to the new language.
Similarly, Google Play also offers a number of tools to make localization of your listing much easier by including automatic translations.
Number of downloads
The number of downloads might not be in your control but it is important for you to understand the role of downloads for ASO. The more the number of downloads, the better your app will rank in the app store. And, the better the ranking, the more the visibility & discoverability of the app which will increase the number of downloads and so on.
If you go by the above strategies, you will have a fair chance at improving your rankings and have a better chance of getting noticed and downloaded.
Ratings and Reviews
Another factor that you will not be able to directly control but plays an important part in getting your app discovered. If you are receiving negative feedback, you can request positive feedback from within the app. This can be done by a tool called Rate Our App which you might have noticed already. Every Time you open an app, a screen pops which says Rate Our App.
Icons and Screenshots
Images are the main representation of the app so make sure they grab the user’s attention, inviting them to find out more about the app. You can test your images to find out which one users are looking at.
Optimize your website for app related searches
Promote your app on your website by placing direct links to your app listings on the website. You can also promote your app by writing blogs targeting app related keywords and embedding links to your app. A mobile version of your site is the perfect place to promote your app as users are already connected to you via mobile.
Getting exposure for your new app isn’t easy, is requires a level of commitment of continuous optimization and promotion of your app. Hoping that this guide will benefit you and give you the motivation that you need to start with App Store Optimization.
Hopefully, this quick-start guide will give you the tips and motivation you need to start your own journey into app store optimization.