App Store Optimization (ASO) – The Ultimate ASO Guide
August 21, 2020
This is the most comprehensive guide to app store optimization on the planet. The best part, you ask?
I’m going to tell you about the best ASO strategies that are working right now for both Google Play Store and Apple Play Store.
Cut to the chase: if you want to rank your app higher in the search results and want to know the best tools and services in the market, you’ll love this guide. Let’s get started.
About the Mobile Industry
In the infancy stage of the Apple App Store, the platform had only 500 apps . In 2020, it boasts of 1.85 million apps.
In the good old days of 2008, it was easy to get your app rank higher in the search results. But now Google and Apple-the two leading app stores in the market have become more picky with the apps they allow to be published.
Now, trial and error won’t work.
You need a time-tested App Store Optimization Strategy with the right tools and services.
What Is App Store Optimization?
Your customer searches for a gaming app in the Playstore. Your app is the first app to land on their search results. He clicks your app and downloads it.
No, this is not a dream. It can happen with App Store Optimization.
What is ASO? Simply, it is the process through which an app ranks in the search results of a play store.
Yes, it is somewhat like SEO. But, guess what!
ASO is much more than SEO. It can help increase the number of app downloads, increase audience engagement, increase Click through rate (CTR) and ultimately increase the exposure of your app.
Why is ASO important?
According to Statista, in the first quarter of 2020, Google Play Store tops the chart in terms of number of apps with 2.56 million apps to choose from. Second on the list is Apple Store with 1.85 million apps.
You don’t want to get lost among these 4.41 million apps, which is also why you need to optimize your app for app stores.
Although these numbers can be scary, with the right tool and right help you can leverage ASO to your benefit.
So, how does ASO work ?
Now, ASO is an ongoing process. In simple words, it optimizes elements of your app such as icons, screenshots, video and so on by selecting the right keywords.
But you need to know that ASO is much more than using keywords to make the app rank higher.
First, you need to know two factors: on metadata and off-metadata.
On-metadata factors are completely under the control of the developer while off-metadata are not under the control of the developer.
Some of these factors affect Search and others affect Conversion Rate. While the rest affect both.
App Store Optimization Strategies
In this section, I have explained in detail the strategies for Google Play Store and Apple Play Store separately as both have different ranking factors.
ASO Strategies for Google Play Store
1. Do Market Research
The first and most basic step while implementing an ASO strategy is doing market research.
So, how do you do this? Firstly, identify your niche. Is it a gaming app or a habit tracking app? Later on, this will help you to find keywords, which you are going to target.
Another important question you need to ask is who are your competitors? What strategies are they implementing? This way you will learn how to get ahead of them.
2. Find the Right Keywords
Now, that you have done market research and clearly understand the market, it is time to target the right keywords.
Be it Youtube, Amazon, Google or App Stores you need to know what words people are putting in the search bar. Finding the right keyword is key to ranking higher in the search results.
Again, emphasis on RIGHT KEYWORD. If you are launching a new app and target a keyword with high competition, you are in for a disaster.
Instead, target Long-tail Keywords. Long-tail keywords, as the name suggests are longer and very specific. They have comparatively less search volume but high conversion value.
Use The Tool that helps you find the best keywords for Google Play Store and Apple Store. It even tells which keywords are helping you to rank.
3. Pick the Right Title
The title of the app should have both the brand name and right keywords. The title should be short, crisp and clear. It should grab customer’s attention and should be easy to remember. Google allows you to use a maximum 50 characters in the app name. This means that you can add keywords in the title.
4. Optimize URL
Including a keyword in the URL will help your app rank higher on search.
So, before publishing the app check the URL package on Google Playstore. Remember, once the app is published it cannot be changed.
5. Add keyword in Developer Name
You can add keywords in the developer name. This will help optimize the app for search.
For example, this app has the keyword game in developer name.
6. Write a great short description
Google allows you to include up to 80 characters in the short description. This tests your ability to do more with less.
A great short description will clearly state the features of the app and the value it provides.
7. Create a click-worthy description
Description needs to be optimized both for Search and customers. It should clearly convey to the customers what they can expect from the app. It should be clearly formatted (use emojis) and should outline the benefits and features of the app.
Second, optimize it for search as the search engine crawls through the descriptions. You have upto 4000 characters, so include a good blend of keywords. Avoid keyword stuffing as it can have a negative impact on users.
8. Make a visual statement with the Icon
The icon is an important factor in the decision making process of users. So, make sure it catches the eye of users and reflects your brand.
Keep in mind these requirements:
- 32-bit PNG
- Maximum File Size:1024KB
- Dimensions: 512px by 512px
To decide the right icon use A/B Testing Tools.
A video is a great addition as a user would naturally want to see how an app works before downloading it. Adding a video is simple. Just paste the URL of the Youtube video in the “Promo video” field. Keep in mind basic things such as not using a restricted video and making sure that you are not pasting the link of a playlist.
Screenshots help users see what the app looks on the inside. Hence, it is responsible for conversion rate. Google lets you add 8 screenshots with 2 as the minimum number of screenshots.
The app screenshots requirements are as follows:
- Maximum dimension:320px
- Minimum dimension:3840px
- JPEG or 24-bit PNG
ASO Strategies for Apple Store
1. Keyword Research
Keyword Research is as important in Apple Store as it is in the Google Play Store. But keep in mind that both work differently. So, the first step is to brainstorm a list of every possible search query related with the app.
Now, the question is where to find these keywords. A simple tactic is to search for the suggestions in Apple search bar or you can invest in a good tool.
2. App Name
Like Google Playstore, include the right keywords in the app name to rank better. Only 30 characters can be included in the app name. The title can be changed only when you submit a new version of the app.
So, choose the name wisely!
Apple allows only 30 characters in the app name. But the good news is that you can include a subtitle. The subtitle affects rankings so include right keywords. It also appears on Top Charts, which means users see subtitles and icons. Hence, affecting click- through rate.
Again, subtitles can be changed only when you submit a new version.
The description is 4000 words long and can be changed only when you submit a new version of the app. It affects search rankings so include the right keywords. Make the description clear, highlight the features and benefits of using the app, it should reflect your brand, and avoid keyword stuffing.
5. Promotional Text
If you have added new features, using promotional text is a great way to communicate it to the readers. It appears on the top of the description and is 170 characters long.
It does not affect rankings but it can affect conversion rate. How? A well-written Promo Text will compel users to take action.
6. Developer Name
The developer name appears in search so it does affect search results. Optimizing it for search will help you boost rankings and help the app feature on Today tab, Games Tab and Apps tab.
It is located below the description so the user has to scroll down in order to see it. Hence, it hardly affects conversion rate.
The difference in Apple Store and Google Playstore is in terms of the size of the icon. In Apple, icons have two sizes.
The smaller size appears in the Home Screen of the devices. The large size appears in AppleStore.
Don’t randomly select the icon, use A/B testing to pick the best icon for your app.
Apple allows you to use 3 video previews. These appear before the screenshots and make the user experience the app before downloading it.
They can be upto 30 seconds and play on mute on autoplay in Search and product page.
As the video previews play on mute it is important to use great copy to make the users take action.
Apple allows up to 10 screenshots and they feature right after the video preview.
The screenshots don’t affect search ranking but they do affect click through rate and conversion rate. They also appear in search results making them the second visual element after the icon appearing in search.
The requirements are:
- High quality JPEG or PNg format.
- 72dpi, flattened, no transparency, RGB
Use your screenshots to showcase the best features of your app, use good copy to compel users to download it, and lastly use A/B testing to pick the right screenshots.
Also use the secondary ranking factors when planning your app store strategy.
- You do not have control over the number of downloads. The higher the number of downloads, the better is the result for your campaign. You can achieve the goal by marketing your brand and app to increase both awareness and interaction.
- While you may not have direct control over ratings and reviews. You can take steps to incentivize users. Make sure your engagement with users is prompt and personalized. Apps with more positive reviews and higher ratings are downloaded more.
- Launching the app is not enough. You need to update the app regularly to stay relevant with your users. It is necessary to stay up-to-date with technology and protect the app from bugs.
Tracking App Performance
Optimizing your app for search is one thing but you can’t optimize it and leave it at that. You need to analyze the performance of your app to see if the strategy you are implementing is actually working or not.
Tracking app performance can be a soul-sucking task. But with the right tools and services you can nail this. Listed below are the best tools and services in the market right now.
Best App Store Optimization Tools and Services
App Store Optimization is an ongoing process and you need an expert who can help you with this process. Some of these tools and services focus on a single aspect of ASO such as finding the right keywords while others help you with the whole process.
The Tool is the best ASO tool in the market. The good part is that it works for both Apple Store and Playstore in 93 countries. It helps find the right keywords and even tells you which keywords are helping you rank in particular countries. It even tracks conversion rate in 93 countries.
Techmagnate ASO services
Techmagnate is the leading Digital Marketing Agency in India and was rated top 5 app marketing companies globally by Clutch.co. We have been in the industry for 15 years so we know what we are doing.
Did you know that we even provide App Store Optimization services?
At Techmagnate, we help you rank for popular keywords, improve the reviews and ratings of your app with App Reputation Management services, run paid App Install campaigns, and increase downloads.
The best part we help you increase visibility on both Apple and Google Play Stores.
Additional Read: Effective App Marketing Strategies
Wrapping it up
So, what did we learn? Your app may be better than a mediocre app. But the harsh truth is!
Without the right marketing and ASO strategy, the same mediocre app can go ahead of you. We are the experts in ASO so take our help and don’t let your app drown in the sea of apps.
Now I’d like to hear from you in the comments. Which element of your app are you going to optimize first?
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