App Store Optimization (ASO) can be best defined and described as a method to optimize mobile applications to reach the ultimate goal of receiving a plethora of downloads and, ultimately, receiving a high-ranking number on some of the top-charted lists for applications in your specific area. It can be compared closely to SEO or search engine optimization, which is how websites can be optimized on the internet by ranking their quality of content, how titles and URLs are formatted, and so on.
The Importance of App Store Optimization
Within the competitive world of mobile technology, there are millions of apps to choose from in a variety of different app stores. Ensuring that your specific application is a front-runner to other competition on the market is a huge step forward and ensures that organic downloads in the coming weeks will continue to follow. Unfortunately, App Store Optimization (ASO) can be overlooked more times than it is not when it comes to the development, launch as well as the run of a specific app.
Here are 13 App Store Optimization tips packed with information to ensure this will not be overlooked for your further success:
1) Understand your customer needs and natural search behavior
Understanding your customers is one of the most crucial portions of App Store Optimization because, at the end of the day, they are your consumers. Be sure to ask yourself these questions: What language do my customers naturally use? Why would they need to search for my app? What are their reasons for using or downloading the app I have made? How do I have an advantage with my customers over my competition? Not only will these questions have you thinking like your customer, but you will be able to see things from their viewpoint and understand on a deeper level their reasoning for why they should be downloading what you have to offer them.
2) Use a Descriptive Title
When developing a descriptive title for your app, it is vital to hone-in on the keywords you want to be packed within your consumers first impression. You can use more "difficult" words for your title because it differs from the readability you want in your description or within maximizing the keywords of your application itself.
3) Maximize your Keywords
Many of the strategies within this article works for any type of application store, but when it comes to maximizing your keywords, Google Play and the App Store differ when it comes to App Store Optimization (ASO). For one, the App Store has what is known as a 100-character keyword field, which uses the title of your app along with whatever keywords you include within these 100 characters. Then helps to determine where your application will show up based on what your customer is searching for at any given time.
On another note, the Google Play Store takes on a form for maximizing its keywords that mimic closer to SEO. It doesn't use keywords and rather scans your app as well as its description, and thus, you are given 4000 characters to use to describe it in your customers natural, face-value language.
4) Write a compelling description
Having a compelling description of your application and its purposes should always be driven with your customer base in mind. It is important for it to be in the most understandable or "readable" format for those that will be looking, downloading, and using your app. One thing to remember is that you should always be updating or changing the description of your application based on any updates that are made to the app store itself. This will help to ensure new features, or any updates are properly displayed and "advertised" for any of your customers' needs.
5) Use High-Quality Screenshots
Although screenshots may not help improve your ranking in a given app store, they stand in place of a first impression and serve as the visuals that your app will be remembered by. It is good to remember that for iOS, you can upload 5 screenshots and up to 8 for an Android app, but only 3 of your screenshots will show in the gallery once the page loads with your app. When in doubt about your screenshots, always refer to the detailed guidelines that both Apple and Google have produced just for this specific situation.
When it comes to quality, it is just as important as the screenshot itself. As mentioned above, only 3 of your pictures will be shown when a customer searches or is browsing your specific app, so make sure they are all the best quality that you would want to be known for.
6) Add an App Preview Video
Adding an app preview video is a great idea to increase your visuals and how your right audience will remember the app you are offering to them. Remember to ask yourself if it makes sense for you to have a video preview of your app? Will it help consumers better understand the purpose of my application? Does it make my app stand out from the other competition on the market? These questions will help you to analyze if this is the right direction for you to take with the specific application that you are offering. Remember, in the Google Play Store, you are only allowed to include one YouTube video and in iOS you can include up to 3 different videos!
7) Pick the Right App Category
Picking the right category for your new application is crucial to its success and where your consumers will download it from. It is in your best interest to study the market you are entering and select a category that will ensure your ranking gets higher over time. For example, although Twitter is used as a social media app, it is under the category "News" in the App Store. Study your app's purpose, know the market you’re going into, and remember to do your best to stand out from the competition.
8) Create a unique App Icon
Although icons won't have a direct effect on your search rankings, they are just as important. Creating and having an App Icon that is unique will help you stand out from the millions upon millions of applications already offered on the market. When it comes to IOS icons, they should be sized to 1024x1024 pixels, which are the dimensions that the App Store requires. For the Google Play Store, the requirements for pixels differ at a 512x512 icon. No matter which stores your app will be located in, it is good to have a clean icon with bright colors, clean and unique shapes and should be able to convey what the purpose of the app is. Remember, your visual icon is their first impression and what they will remember after the app has been downloaded onto their device, so make sure it is something you are proud of!
9) Localize app listing
On the world stage, having one set language or way to approach a culture will not make the cut, especially in terms of downloadable applications. This is why it is so important to localize your app listing and consider adapting your brand communication. The App Store, as well as the Google Play Store, allows you the option of localizing your listing so that you may make your app more readable and discoverable to individuals worldwide.
10) Encourage Positive Reviews
It is crucial for an app to have a consistent flow of reviews that are honest, compelling, and most important of all: positive. It should be known that applications with a cluster of positive reviews written by happy customers will dominate the charts of a given app store. However, how do you encourage your customers to leave this happy and satisfied reviews on your application? One of the best ways is to simply keep your customers engaged and proactively look for ways to make your application better for the use of your loyal customer. Typically, reviews will sprout from your "vocal minority", or customers who are deeply satisfied or dissatisfied with different areas of what you offer to them. If those that love or hate your app are your only real "reviewers", then it is important to have a system in place that prompts your customers to rate your app while they're inside it. Keeping these above steps in mind, positive reviews are sure to come your way!
11) Update frequently
Consumers are always on the lookout for applications that are constantly changing, updating, and adding new exciting features to help better a customer’s life. If you are constantly able to deliver an app that can be updated frequently, you will be viewed by the customer and the application store as a valuable asset with a high-value product. In addition to this, apps with new improved updates have the opportunity to receive more positive reviews because of the changes that are implemented to them. Unfortunately, simply updating the app isn't enough, and it is of the utmost importance to remind the customer to download the latest version any time your app is updated or altered in any way.
12) Use App Store Analytics
The opportunities within applications are endless, but how successful can your app truly be without reliable feedback from analytics to help improve your craft? Analytics gives you the ability to soak up valuable information about your app and how long it is being used for, what users are primarily using it for, what features need work or improvement as well as retention or time spent on your application as a whole. They can help your company make both better-informed as well as data-driven choices in the right direction. These insights can allow you to also see where changes need to be made significantly and can help with overall profitability. All-in-all, analytics will help to bring a competitive edge to your application and what you offer overall to a marketplace of millions of other options. They will help you flourish, and standout in a competitive market and always let you know exactly when and where your changes should be made!
13) Ensure your app is crash free
If your consumers notice anything about your app that could be faulty, they will be sure to share their abundance of dislikes online on various platforms within the reviews section of the app store. It is important to ensure your application is performing at its best so that your customer base can be satisfied with their download as a result. Make sure your mobile app development company fix all issues mentioned by your consumers so that your app does not have any future crashes. Metrics you can use to monitor your app to ensure it remains crash-free include crash rate as well as retention rate.
App Store Optimization (ASO) can be tricky, but by following these simple tips and tricks, you can optimize your application from a variety of angles. Whether you are focusing on your audiences the first impression of your app, you want to know more about your general performance of your app, or you are just interested in getting to the top of the charts, App Store Optimization can help you do everything listed above and more.