The Ultimate Guide to App Store Optimization (ASO)

With well over 2 million mobile apps in App and Play Store, getting your app to the top of the search results is one of the biggest issues faced by mobile app publishers. Therefore, App Store Optimization is of a high importance. Skeptics, check this graphic out:


App discovery methods


According to Statista.com, 270 billion apps were anticipated to be downloaded in 2017, this is a substantial increase from an estimated 224.8 billion app downloads in 2016. If you represent an organisation that relies on a mobile app, it’s crucial to learn the various methods for getting your app to rank high and get noticed. The technique is called App Store Optimization (ASO), and we have collected some of the most important things to be aware of when optimizing your app.


What is App Store Optimization?

App Store Optimization (ASO) is also known by other names, such as App Store Marketing and Mobile App SEO.

The focus of ASO is to improve the ranking of mobile applications (apps) directly within app stores such as Apple’s App Store, Google’s Play Store, and Windows Store. The ultimate goal of ASO is to achieve app downloads, but subgoals can also include more brand exposure, positive app reviews, audience engagement and additional marketing channel diversification.


So, in a nutshell, the goal of ASO is to drive more traffic to your app’s page, so searchers can take a specific action, downloading your app.


To win at ASO, you need a near perfect understanding of your target customer base. This includes the keywords your potential customers are using to find apps that are similar to yours. When you learn more about which keywords are being used, you will have a better understanding of the language that your potential customers are using. You can then choose your own keyword choices.


Why should you keep an eye on it?

The research company, Forrester, has estimated that 63% of apps are discovered through app store searches. This makes the App Store, the most preferred place for searching and downloading mobile apps. This fact was also confirmed at the Google I/O conference, when Ankit Jain declared that “For the average app, search actually makes up the vast majority of installs”.


This means that, if you’re not putting efforts into optimizing your App Store Search, you’re neglecting the largest app discovery channel.  The bottom line is that  most of the apps are not investigating the opportunities of the ASO. However, you can make a difference and benefit from it!


Luckily, there are some overlaps between App Store and Search Engine Optimization. After all, the App Store is a closed site search engine. Similar to SEO, it also relies on easy to discovery content, indexation and feedback.  So let’s us share some tips and tricks on App Store Optimization with you!


What stands behind the App Store Optimization?

Keywords in URL, Title and Subtitle

You should ensure that the URL, title and subtitle reflect the core keywords that describe your app. They should also reinforce value, differentiation and other value signals. To achieve that, you should use the optimal keywords, reflecting your searchers’ behavior.


The right keyword in your title can boost your app’s search ranking with 10.3% on average. A good tactic would be if you place your most relevant keyword in the title, no matter of the keyword difficulty.


Keywords in title


In order to find the right keyword you should spend some time researching. It is not a good idea to change your title often. That is because when you app reaches a specific level of popularity, people will start sharing the news through word of mouth. Therefore, changing the title can make it hard for your app to spread.


Total Number of Downloads

Another important figure you should keep track of is the total number of downloads of your app. The tricky part here is that you cannot control it. However, it highly correlates with the app ranking. The more downloads your app gets, the higher ranking in the App Store it will have. What you can do is to track your keywords. If they fall in the category competitive keywords, your app will need more downloads to rank higher.


Ratings and Reviews

Another hard to control category for ASO is the ratings and reviews. However, there are ways to encourage happy users to rate and review. You need to find a way to connect with your customers inside your app. For example, you can provide them with a section where they can communicate directly with the developer. You can then encourage happy customers to leave a positive review of the app. In addition, good ratings will also boost the ranking of your app in the App Store.


App Updates

The highest ranked apps are those that are constantly evolving. They reflect the newest technologies, the user’s feedback and are also updated all the time. Furthermore, updated apps drive more positive and recurrent reviews. Regular updates of your app will also allow your brand to react to the constant changes in the customers’ needs.


But most importantly, both the Apple App Store and Google Play take under consideration the frequency of app updates in their ranking algorithms.


Let’s recap!

App Store Optimization is as important as the Search Engine Optimization. In addition, just like for SEO, the algorithms are constantly changing. Therefore, it is vital to optimize your app for the App Search. After all, this is what helps you drive traffic and possible downloads!

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