App Store Optimization (ASO): The Absolute Way to Increase Visibility and Download Rates for Your Mobile App

Posted By- Media Search Group | Jul-03-2020 |  Comments: 0 | Views:  534

Thousands of apps and games are launched every day. As a result, getting more downloads for your app is not an easy feat these days. No matter how interesting, useful, or appealing your app is, people are not going to even notice your app if it doesn’t even appear in top app store search results. Increasing your app’s visibility is of utmost importance if you want people to find your app and download it. What can you do to increase the discoverability and visibility of your app in app stores? The answer is – App Store Optimization.

Thousands of apps and games are launched every day. As a result, getting more downloads for your app is not an easy feat these days. No matter how interesting, useful, or appealing your app is, people are not going to even notice your app if it doesn’t even appear in top app store search results. Increasing your app’s visibility is of utmost importance if you want people to find your app and download it. What can you do to increase the discoverability and visibility of your app in app stores? The answer is – App Store Optimization.

App Store Optimization (ASO) has become vital more than ever. Since both Apple and Google are continuously introducing changes in their search algorithms to provide the users with fresh and relevant results and more app developers are realizing the power of ASO, it is becoming harder to succeed just by optimizing a few keywords.

Thus, if you are new to ASO and eager to learn what app store optimization means and how app store optimization is done, you have come to the right place.

This guide will help you explore:

  • What is App Store Optimization?
  • How is App Store Optimization different from Search Engine Optimization?
  • Why is it worth focusing on App Store Optimization?
  • How to do App Store Optimization?

Let’s begin the quest.

What is App Store Optimization?

App store optimization is the ongoing process of improving the visibility of a mobile app within app stores to increase the number of downloads. In other words, it is the process of optimizing your app to rank it higher in app stores so that people can easily find your app and also want to click and download it.

In general, ASO focuses on:

  • App Ranking in app store search results
  • Click-Through-Rate (CTR)
  • Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)

Once you increase the visibility of your app, it will lead to more downloads and this ultimately will result in more visibility.

How is App Store Optimization Different from Search Engine Optimization?

Also known as App Store SEO, App Store Optimization is similar to SEO in terms of keyword optimization, backlinking, and conversion optimization. What makes App Store Optimization different from Search Engine Optimization is the fact that ASO is meant for mobile apps and SEO is meant for websites.

In SEO, a website is optimized for a search engine such as Google and Bing. In ASO, a mobile app is optimized for app stores such as Google Play Store, Apple App Store, and Windows Store.

Plus, ranking factors also vary for both processes.

While On-Page SEO focuses on title tags, heading tags, keyword density, page speed, and bounce rate, On-Page ASO focuses on the app name, app description, keywords, usage & quality metrics, and uninstall rate.

Similarly, factors like links, anchor texts, and social signals matter in Off-Page SEO. On the other hand, backlinks, ratings and reviews, and download statistics matter in ASO.

You can easily notice that despite sharing similarities, there is a world of difference between both ASO and SEO.

Therefore, you need to expand your knowledge base to make your app successful when you are in the field of mobile app development. If you are not tech-savvy and already have an app for your business or game, you can also seek the assistance of an ASO company for the successful optimization of your app.

The ultimate goal is to increase the app’s visibility and download rates no matter if you do it yourself or you buy an ASO package.

Why Is It Worth Focusing on App Store Optimization?

Just like SEO, ASO is not an overnight process. It is an ongoing process that you need to keep an eye on and make improvements based on analysis and current results. This translates into a lot of time and effort (and money if you work with an ASO company). So, it’s common for mobile app developers to raise the doubt whether they should invest their time, effort, and money in app store optimization or not.

To help you understand the importance of app store optimization and why it matters now more than ever, we are sharing some stats and figures from Statista.

The number of apps available on different app stores in 2020:

  • Google Play: 2.56 million
  • Apple App Store: 1.84 million
  • Windows Store: 669 thousand
  • Amazon Appstore: 489 thousand

The number of games available on app stores in 2020:

Regardless of whether you have a game app, an e-commerce app, or an e-learning app, you have a tough competition to beat.

According to Google Research, 48% of users find new apps by browsing app stores.

Source: think with Google

Hence, just following a couple of tricks isn’t going to boost your app visibility. App Store Optimization is the only sustainable solution to beat that competition and it would work only if you do it the right way.

Besides, ASO brings many benefits for mobile app developers and marketers. Some of these are:

  • ASO boosts the visibility and discoverability of your app in app stores.
  • ASO helps you get to the right users based on relevant keywords.
  • ASO increases organic app installs in a sustainable way.
  • ASO helps you get people to click and download your app.
  • ASO helps you save money that you would be spending on ads.
  • ASO can help you reach a global audience through localization.

People hardly take a look at apps after the fifth app position. Plus, most people don’t even scroll through every search result. Thus, a top rank is necessary for an app which is why it makes more sense to optimize your app for app stores.

How to Do App Store Optimization?

When you know how critical ASO is to your app success, let’s learn how to do it in a sustainable way to get long-term results.

Step 1# Prepare an App Store Optimization Strategy

Do your market research and learn about your consumers. The insights you gain will help you devise a strategy for app store optimization. The research will help you learn the keywords that people use while searching apps similar to yours, the prominent language your audience speaks, potential markets or countries where you can find users for your apps, and so on.

Step 2# Choose the Right Title for Your App

This might seem easy but it is a lot tricky. The name of your app must be:

  • Short
  • Simple
  • Unique
  • Easy to read
  • Relevant

If your title appeals to people, it will have a higher recognition value.

Even though you have the freedom to use up to 50 characters on Google Play and 30 characters on Apple App Store, it doesn’t mean you have to use all of them. A simple and short title is much more appealing than a lengthy one.

However, once you choose a short title, you can use descriptive words that add context to your app name.

Take Adobe Lightroom – Photo Editor and Pro Camera app for an example. Though the main app name is just Adobe Lightroom, the addition of words “Photo Editor and Pro Camera” in the end provides more meaning to the name. 

The flexibility of using 30 or 50 characters also allows you to place keywords in an app name.

Note that placing keywords in the app name is a good tactic for ranking your app.

Step 3# Do Keyword Research for Your Mobile App

As your goal is to be found on the app store, you need to find a list of keywords that people most commonly use while searching for apps that are similar to yours.

If you are aware of SEO strategies, then you might already know a few ways to conduct keyword research. But if you are a newbie, you can always learn. There is nothing to worry about.

Keep the following things in mind while conducting keyword research:

  • The name of your app (if you have decided by now)
  • The name of similar apps
  • The category of your app
  • Common terms used by people for your app category
  • Highlights and Main features of your app
  • The purpose of your app
  • The function of your app
  • Various synonyms that describe the features of your app

In the beginning, you must focus on coming up with the right name that preferably contains the main keyword. Finding other keywords for the description of your app and other promotional purposes is an ongoing process. You will get better with time. So, don’t waste all of your time in keyword research.

Just pick a few ones with high search volume and relevancy to work with for a head start.

Things to Remember While Using Keywords

  • Prefer universal English UK locale as an app can be indexed for this locale in every country.
  • When you are targeting regions, you should use “support locales”.
  • Do not repeat the same keywords in Title, Subtitle, and Keyword fields.
  • Use only commas to separate words and don’t use any other punctuation mark.
  • Avoid using common keywords like iPad, iPhone, app, and game because they will be automatically added to your app by the app store.
  • Pay attention to whether your localized screenshots display correct CTAs.
  • Don’t try to literally translate strategic keywords while localizing.

How to do keyword research?

The easiest way is the auto-fill or related keyword searches. Whether your app is for iOS or Android devices, you can get ideas by simply searching for one of the keywords you already know. You might also find a few irrelevant keywords. So, parse through your suggestions to find out the relevant ones only.

Leverage the search ads and user reviews to find descriptive keywords. They are very useful sources to find relevant and popular keywords.

Besides, a lot of keyword research tools are available in the market. Some of them are free, while some require a recurring subscription fee or a one-time fee. On the other hand, a few tools might allow you to do research for free for the basic version and charge you to access premium features.

Some of the examples of keyword research tools are Google Adwords, AppTweak, AppRadar, and Mobile Action.

Step 4# Create a meaningful app description

App Description is something that tells people what your app is about, what it does, and what main features it has. Plus, it is vital for your app’s metadata.

The thing you need to know is that the App Description is not only important for your users but also the app stores’ ranking algorithms.

The App Description is important for Google Play because the description is one of those things that make an impact on ranking. Plus, Google also helps you find keywords for app ranking.

But having a lot of keywords on your list doesn’t mean you can just stuff them in your description. Rather, you need to write a description that is informative and incorporate keywords that feel natural while reading.

This way, your description will attract users as well as be relevant to ranking algorithms.

Another thing you need to remember is that Apple doesn’t index keywords from the description of your iOS app. Never consider writing a description as a waste of time for your iOS app though. You can always use your app description to highlight the main features and benefits of using your iOS app. The description limit in Google Play and Apple App Store is 4000 characters.

An ideal App Description is:

  • Easy to read and understand
  • Accurate, Informative and Meaningful
  • Properly structured using bullet points, spacing, and emojis
  • Equipped with relevant keywords
  • Up to 4000 characters long

Here is an example of how Relive app makes its description more readable by using proper spacing and bullet points.

Another good example of how an app “RedBus” uses emojis in its app description is as follows:

So, keep all these points in mind while creating the description for your app.

Step 5# Conduct A/B Testing on Your App Icon, Short Description, and CTAs

If you don’t have one, create or get the app icon soon. Your app icon is the creative asset that must be unique, attractive, and relevant. An app icon is one of the reasons people get curious to know or click on a search result.

An ideal App Icon:

  • Reflects what your app is about
  • Is Visually Appealing
  • Doesn’t distract people due to bad color scheme
  • Has Undergone the A/B testing

Here are some examples of where and how app icons are displayed in Google Play store.

If your app is fun or playful, your app icon should reflect that. Plus, you can also use the A/B testing tool to find out which short descriptions and CTAs attract more users.

A simple way to ensure that your app icon works for your audience is A/B testing. The basic idea behind A/B testing is to create more icon variations and determine which one performs better. It also helps you test which colors or characters your users prefer.

During A/B Testing, follow these steps:

  • Analyze and brainstorm ideas for app icon
  • Come up with different variations of colors and characters
  • Run experiments on more than two versions
  • Compare results and narrow down to one version
  • Incorporate changes in the app accordingly

Once you get this insight, you can incorporate it into your app icon.

Step 6# Prepare Stunning App Screenshots and Videos

Once users reach your app page, how would you convince them to download your app as well? The answer is amazing app screenshots and videos. Though they may not play a direct role in your app ranking, they will certainly play a bigger role in conversion rate optimization – a critical part of ASO.

These components will allow you to demonstrate the functionality of your app as well as give your user an idea of how your app appears. So, find out the best parts of your app and capture them through screenshots and record how to use your app or the best experience users can have on your app.

Also, use A/B testing for screenshots to compare how different sets of screenshots perform. Rather than applying Google Play test results, you can run Search Ad campaigns for testing current vs. new screenshots.

Here is a checklist for your app screenshots and videos:

  • Demonstrate the look and feel of your app
  • Highlight the prominent features of your app
  • Tell a Visual Appealing Story
  • Have the right layout and size
  • Work fine for Dark Mode as well (if not, get the screenshots that are clearly visible on dark background)
  • Have the colors and layout as per local audience preferences when localizing
  • Have properly translated CTAs in the screenshots when localizing

Make sure that you add, manage, and publish app screenshots and videos for every locale and device size you are targeting.

Step 7# App Localization as per Your Targeted Demographics

At first, most mobile app developers do everything in the English language. You might be surprised to know that not everyone looks for apps in English. Users find apps in their native language more trustworthy and therefore, are more likely to download them. So, if you want your app to be accessible at a global level, adapt your app to appeal to the target geo-market audiences. This is done by localization.

In localization, you don’t have to start everything from scratch. All you need to do is to use your existing metadata, keywords, or screenshots and translate them into the languages that your target audiences prefer.

You can add and update localizations by using an App Store Optimization tool in just a few clicks.

The biggest benefit of using localization is that it extends the reach of your app. Since your app will be available for a broader audience, it will lead to more downloads and that, in turn, will improve your app visibility and revenue.

Step 8# Focus on Online Reputation Management

The ratings and reviews of your app play a greater role in making the rank of your app better. Both Google Play and Apple App Store consider the comments and rating users give to apps.

Here is an example of an app with good interaction policy for both bad and good reviews.

So, you need to pay attention to online reputation management of your app as well.

Here are a few tips for you:

  • The majority of app store users check reviews before downloading an app and apps with three stars or lower often fail to impress users. So, take care of your app average rating.
  • Reply to the reviews and comments your app users provide no matter if they are good or bad. It shows your credibility. Besides, your interaction also helps improve your app ratings and download rates.
  • When users leave non-constructive offensive reviews or your app gets negative reviews sponsored by your competitors, you should track them and report such reviews. Neutralize reviews that are not genuine and scarring your app reputation.
  • Find a good place or level within the app itself to encourage your users to give reviews and ratings. Don’t push your users too hard to give your reviews or ratings as you might get penalized. On iOS, you are allowed to ask for a review up to only three times a year.

App Store Optimization is the key to your app success. Without it, your app will be lost in the ocean of millions of apps. So, if you want your app to reach your target audience, you have to do build a sound knowledge in ASO and implement it. In case these technical things are not your cup of tea or you aren’t able to achieve results till now, you should seek the expertise of a reputed Mobile App Development and ASO Company. Investing a little never hurts when you are going to enjoy bigger and long-term benefits.

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Vijaya Tyagi

Vijaya Tyagi

Vijaya Raj Laxmi Tyagi has been an avid content writer for over three years with a keen interest in writing SEO articles and blogs. She also finds great enthusiasm in writing about a vast variety of topics, including gardening, interior designing, health & wellness, and tourism. Her educational background in Computer Science and Engineering has given her an edge to write about technologies that tend to mark a great impression on daily lifestyle and behaviour, while her intrigue towards Mother Nature drives her to discuss green topics.

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