As you work through the app design and development process, your app becomes your baby. You strive to create a product that will be useful and entertaining to your target audience and attract customers deep into the sales funnel. When you’re popping champagne at the app launch, your journey has only just begun.
Along with marketing your app, you need to make sure it’s easy to find in the Apple App Store and on Google Play. You can accomplish this by learning the fundamentals of app store optimisation. Once you’ve mastered these principles, you’ll need to quantify the effectiveness of your mobile initiative.
To this end, 63 percent of iPhone users and 58 percent of Android users discover new apps while browsing in an app store — more than any other method. This means developers and businesses with a strong ASO strategy will see an increase in downloads — which translate to profits — over time.
What do you control?
While search results might seem out of your hands, there are many adjustments you can make to your app to ensure it ranks well and shows up regularly. These include:
- App title
- App keywords
- App description
- App icon
- App screenshots
- App updates
Of these, the title and keywords have the biggest impact on your ASO. Apps with keywords in the title saw a 10 percent increase in the rankings over those without them. A little strategic keyword research and placement can go a long way.
What can’t you control?
There are additional search factors that are out of your control. These include:
- Total downloads
- Ratings and reviews
- App store Facebook likes
While you can extend your marketing efforts to promote your app, these factors are still technically in the hands of your user base. In this post, we’re going to review ways to maximise your visibility and then offer tips to aid these miscellaneous elements.
Strategically place your keywords
Incorporating the top keyword in your title and description is one of the most basic and important parts of a comprehensive mobile strategy. Some experts, in fact, claim this will improve your position by 80-100 spots.
- Consider omitting the app name in favour of placing the key terms in the title. Ideally, your app name will contain the main keyword (such as Tinder Dating or Waze Traffic).
- Include keywords in the app description, but limit their use to five times. Studies have shown that there is no rankings impact with keyword overuse. Like regular SEO, don’t keyword stuff!
- Avoid overused words that provide little value. Game, Map, and News offer more insight to search engines than commonly used words like HD, Lite, and Free.
- Use all 100 characters in your keywords and don’t repeat the app title. Research your competitor’s keywords to see what they use.
Optimize your images
Including keywords helps explain what kind of product you are offering.While SEO and ASO guides are built around finding ways to make the system help you, it all comes down to setting up your app page in a way that appeals to the consumer. For example, including keywords helps explain what kind of product you’re offering, and useful descriptions tell users why your app is better than your competition’s offering. With that in mind, follow these optimisation tips for app icons and images.
- Avoid including your splash screen in your screenshots. The user wants to see what the app offers and looks like; your logo on a plain background tells them nothing.
- Load your screenshots by relevancy. Show the homepage (if you have one) and include shots of key tools and options.
- Avoid words in your icon; that’s what your description is for. Words are often too small for the user to read anyway.
- Consider designing a border on your icon to make sure it pops no matter the background.
- In Google Play, you can add a YouTube video to promote and explain your app. Create a tutorial to show it in action.
Write out app updates
Finally, you should constantly be updating your app pages as you improve your app and make changes. Once again, we can compare this to regular SEO. Many companies have blogs so Google is constantly scanning their pages. Static, outdated pages rot in the SERPs.
If the app is fresh, with constant improvements and additions being made, then it will rank higher in the results. It’s not in the best interest of the Apple App Store and Google Play to promote apps that haven’t been modified since the iPhone 4 was released. This also gives you space to brag about how awesome the new features are and how they will help your audience.
Encourage your users
Now that we’ve reviewed the elements that are fully in your control, let’s go over a few ways you can encourage users to share, review, and rate your app.
- Create a marketing campaign around your app. Encourage customers to download it and consider offering an incentive like coupons or possible prizes. The more downloads, the higher the ranking.
- Create a pop-up banner asking users to rate and review your app. Don’t make it pop up as soon as they download the app; give them time to test it and get a feel for its benefits.
- Include calls to action in the description and landing page to review or share the app with friends.
- Build social and email share buttons into the app. This is an easy way for users to spread the word about your awesome tool.
Follow iOS and Android updates
Even if you’ve optimised your app to its maximum potential and continue to post updates and market your product, ASO continues to evolve. With each new phone or update you’ll have to tweak the app specifications, and the same can be said for optimising for user experience and search. Stay on top of ASO updates to keep your app front and centre.
We began this article with the statistic that 63 percent of Apple App Store downloads come from browsing, but another 50 percent come from word-of-mouth recommendations. ASO shouldn’t be your only strategy to make your app a success, but rather a tool to make it easy to find.
Don’t forget, the best way to make sure your app is at the front of the App Store or Google Play is to build it well and make users want to access it daily. That’s all up to you.