5 Things You Need to Know About Optimizing Your App Store Listing (ASO)
Here’s the problem. You can have the best app in the world, but if no-one can find it on the App stores, you’re missing out on thousands of potential users.
The solution is App Store Optimization, often known as ‘ASO’.
Here are 5 things you need to know.
1.ASO has two main goals
When optimizing your App Store listing, we need to divide the process to focus on the two main objectives.
(a) Increase your discoverability
This ensures that potential users can find your app in the App Stores when searching for certain keywords or by browsing different categories — such as games, news, utilities, etc.
The main ways to increase your discoverability is by optimizing your title, keyword field, and description.
(b) Increase your conversion rate
By increasing your conversion rate, you ensure that more people who view your app, download it.
The main ways to do this is by optimizing your title, icon, description, screenshots, reviews & ratings, and video.
2. The App Store and the Google Play store algorithms are very different
The App Store and the Google Play store have different contributing factors which affect their algorithms. This means that they analyse different aspects of your listing to determine your rankings.
The major difference is how both of the stores source the keywords to rank you for.
The App Store has a keyword field in your iTunes connect account where it picks up your keywords.
While for the Google Play store, it takes your keywords from your app’s description in your listing.
The other main difference is backlinks. Backlinks are external links to your app listing on the web. For the Google Play store, the more you have, the higher in the rankings you’ll climb. As Google uses this factor to verify social proof and credibility.
Apple, however, doesn’t take this factor into consideration at all. The algorithm only takes into account everything within the store itself.
3. Choose the most effective keywords wisely
It is important to pick the right keywords when optimizing your app listing. Take time to research your target users and competition.
Use tools like searchman.com, appannie.com, and sensortower.com to find the optimal keywords to rank for.
Don’t just pick the keywords with the highest search volume. If they have high competition, and your competition has more downloads than you, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to beat them in the search results.
Once you choose your keywords, you need to embed them into your listing on the App stores.
For both the App Store and the Google Play Store, you should embed the keywords into your title.
A common mistake is to use a really short title and to miss out on the extra characters which are available. Don’t make it too long, though, as users won’t be able to see all of it in the search results!
For the App Store, you also need to embed your keywords into your iTunes connect account’s ‘Keyword Field’. You can use 100 characters here so you have plenty of space to test different keywords.
For the U.S store, there’s a special growth hack which allows your to use up to 200 characters. Contact me to learn more about this!
It is important to note that duplicated words don’t count so pick and choose your keywords wisely.
Also, don’t use spaces after your keyword, use commas. And after your comma, don’t include a space after it. This will waste your available characters. The list is only visible to Apple so your users will never see it.
For Google, you need to embed your keywords into your description.
The best industry practice is to place your main keyword 5 times in your description to ensure that Google captures it.
It is important to note that if you use this keyword more than 5 times, Google will flag this as ‘spam’ and it’s unlikely that you’ll reach the top rankings for the keyword.
4. Encourage Users to Leave Ratings & Reviews
It’s quite simple, the higher ratings & reviews you have, the further you’ll climb in both of the App Stores.
Obviously, if you have low star ratings and poor reviews, it’s unlikely that someone will want to download your app. Therefore, Apple and Google demote your rankings.
If you have a lot of users, but they’re not leaving reviews, embed features into your app which encourage people to submit them, like the pop-up below.
If your friends and family haven’t downloaded your app and left a positive review / rating yet, that should be your first task to boost up your stats.
If you’re a large company, it’s a common trend to ask all of your staff to do the same. These little growth hacks can have a big difference in your rankings!
5. ASO takes time
App Store Optimization is not a quick solution. Just like Search Engine Optimization, its web cousin, it takes time. It’s not an overnight process.
Done correctly, ASO is a process which needs to be constantly monitored and optimized over a period of time. The best industry practice is to optimize your listing every two weeks. By doing so, you’ll see which keywords are doing well and which are not. Analyse the results and use this data to remove poorly performing keywords and add in new ones to test.
Luckily for those who invest time and money into ASO, most apps out there still don’t bother with it, so there’s a big opportunity to acquire their users. Most app developers pick their keywords without doing sufficient research and also write their descriptions without thinking about how to structure it optimally, with their keywords embedded the right amount of times.
Not only should you track your own keyword rankings, but you should also be tracking your competitors. See which keywords they are ranking for and test embedding them into your app listing to see if they give you a boost in rankings, too.
More and more apps are being added onto the platforms every day. So, don’t let a competitor steal your users just because they have spent time and money on ASO and you haven’t.
Need some help?
Do you have any app? Are you unsure about how to optimize it so that you generate more users through the app stores? Contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org