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What is ASO? How can App Store SEO help my business? How should it be done? How to track and improve it?
ASO is a must for every app or game developer
What is App Store Optimization?
App Store Optimization (AKA ASO or App Store SEO) is the process of optimizing a game or application in order to maximize its visibility in the Apple App Store, Google Play Store or other markets in Search (when users search on the app stores), Top Charts, and Featured, boost traffic to listing and improve conversion rate to generate the maximum volume of organic downloads.
ASO brings free high-quality users to your Android or iOS app and is the base of any Mobile Growth strategy.
App Store SEO = Traffic + Conversion
This process requires a critical understanding of how the stores work, the target user base, and the most relevant keywords potential users are typing or speaking to find apps or discover new ones.
App Store Optimization is not only optimizing for Search
Don’t get confused: App Store SEO is not the same as SEO for mobile apps!
What is ASO? Experts say...
We’ve asked some experts and friends:
App Store Optimization is a never-ending optimization process that can bring millions of free installs.Daniel Peris (@DanielPeris)CEO at TheTool
App Store Optimization is an essential part of App Marketing strategy for any mobile business. If you haven't started yet, do it now!Katerina Zolotareva (@kat_or_cat)Marketing Manager at TheTool
How does App Store Optimization work?
Mechanics of ASO
There are some known factors that influence / impact ASO for iOS & Android apps. Let’s start by breaking them down:
ASO on-metadata factors are those elements of product page can be modified within iTunes Connect or Google Play Developer Console in order to optimize keywords rankings within the App Store or Google Play and to encourage the user to download.
These elements, that are 100% under our control are: URL / Package (only Google Play), Developer name (only Google Play), App Name / Title, description, short description (only Google Play), keywords field (only Apple), category, icon, screenshots and video.
Optimizing on-metadata will help you rank higher in App Stores Search.
As it happens in SEO (Search Engine Optimization from web marketing world) and off-page factors, ASO off-metadata factors are those external factors that are not under the control of the developer.
The elements that are not 100% under our control are: volume and speed of installs, ratings + reviews and, maybe, user engagement…
App Store Optimization = on-metadata + off-metadata
How important is App Store SEO?
AppleOptimizing for App Store Search
“Search plays a huge role in how users discover apps, with search queries accounting for 65% of downloads from the App Store.”
ASO = More downloads
All the ASO intelligence you need to succeed.
TheTool helps you track all App Store SEO KPI and increase your downloads & revenue.
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ASO is a process, a marathon
How to do it
You know you have to optimize your app and that ASO stuff is cool but… how to do it? How to do App Store Optimization the right way to boost visibility and increase downloads? Let’s take a look at the process:
1. Keyword research / market research
Picking the right keywords is crucial for Search success. You should target those with high relevance (related to your business), high traffic and low difficulty or competition.
The keyword research process is different for each app. For example, for new apps, it’s better to use mid and long-tail low competition keywords to gradually change them with some with more traffic and competition.
In order to get the maximum visibility, your app or game should be global (available worldwide) with all languages “ASOptimized”.
It’s time to optimize!
2. Optimize for Search & Conversion
It’s all about optimization when it comes to App Store SEO.
Apple App Store ASO
Add keywords in the App Name (50 characters) and keywords field (100 characters). So, a total of 150 characters, although there is a “hack” that allows using much more than 100 characters in the that special field…
Google Play Store optimization
Add keywords in the title (30 char), short description (80 char), description (4000 char). Unlike Apple, Google indexes almost all text that appears in the store listing. Google Play ASO, when it comes to Search, is much more similar to SEO.
Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
A/B test listing elements like icon (to increase CTR in lists), feature image or screenshots to boost conversion rate and get more installs with the same traffic.
Is your product page ASO ready? Let’s see it!
3. Track / monitor main ASO KPI
Track all ASO related KPIs: keywords rankings and competitors’ rankings, track Top Charts rankings, organic installs (by country), conversion rate to install, revenue from organic installs (in-app, advertising…), and competitors’ updates / changes in listings (on-metadata).
IMPORTANT: ASO for Apple App Store is not the same as ASO for Google Play Store. Take a look at our ultimate guides!
Meet TheTool, the first Performance-Based ASO tool
The most accurate and powerful ASO software
TheTool helps you with your ASO strategy on the App Store & Google Play in 93 countries. Track and optimize the main App Store SEO KPIs: keywords rankings, Top Charts rankings, user ratings, conversion rate, organic & non-organic downloads and revenues.
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Quick App Store Optimization tips
1. Pick a great App Name / title
The title is one of the first things that users see when they discover your app or game. Chose a name that is identifying your app and expresses its purpose. Your brand name should be simple and memorable – better stay away from generic names here.
To compose a perfect title use this formula: Brand name + 2 or 3 of your most important keywords. These serve a double function – to give users an understanding what your app serves for, and to boost your rankings. App stores give most weight to the keywords included in the title, so make the most out of it!
App Store Optimization begins with the App Name…
2. Focus on Search
Keywords are the most important aspect of your ASO strategy, and you should start working on them even before the day you launch your product. Do a keyword research, and get as many keywords and combinations that are related to your app and imply a download intent. Also, do a market research to study competition in Search.
Besides Title, add keywords to the URL of the page (package Google Play), short description (Google Play), and in the description (Google Play). Important: Google Play indexes your full description, but App Store doesn’t.
3. Make your icon stand out
Get creative! This is your chance to outrank your competitors. Make your icon descriptive and clear for the users to understand what your app or game is about, check out what your competitors are doing, and make an icon which is striking and original. Work on your style and stick to it, keeping it through updates. Create a distinctive image for your app!
Marketing is about creativity!
4. A/B test everything
Prior to implementing a change in the app page elements, test them using an A/B testing tool. Our advice is not to combine several changes at once, but separating and testing them one by one, so you can certainly understand which item benefits from the change.
5. Localize your app store listing
A blind translation doesn’t work here. When you are localizing your app for a different country, you are getting in touch with a different culture, with different search and behavioral habits. Even for the US and the UK english language there might be differences in spelling. When opening a new country for your app, adapt your text, provide screenshots in a different language, think of culture-specific engagement options.
And if you decide to publish your app in a new country using an english version, think of how many people in this country actually speaks this language and if they will be eager to use your app in english.
6. Don’t let your app weight more than 100MB
Without WiFi connection the user most likely will not download your app or mobile game instantly, and it might become hard to remind them to come back and install it…
7. Avoid bugs
Bugs can cause a lot of negative reviews, and you don’t want that. Monitor and update your app frequently, and get your users to report bugs on a separate page, impide negative reviews from leaking to your download page.
8. Monitor your competition and never stop optimizing
ASO is not about one-time optimization. Some of your competitor’s actions can make a big change in the market, so never stop monitoring and react timely on these changes. Or maybe you will be the first who shakes the market? In any case, track the situation in your niche daily with an ASO tool and update your strategy frequently.