App Store Optimization (ASO) is the art and the science of ‘How To Get Found’ on the App Store, and if you’re an app developer, or planning on developing an app, then this is something you need to know inside and out.
“Similar to SEO (Search Engine Optimization) where the marketer uses specific strategies and techniques to optimize their website meta data to make their app easier to find by searchers.”
In Layman’s terms, search engines, like Google and Yahoo, operate using specific algorithms that find keyword related information (websites) based on your search terms. The App Store is basically just another search engine full of apps instead of websites, and the art of getting found is based on how well you deploy the strategies.
What is ASO?
This is the organic approach, and by far the best option. Where other marketing tactics are aimed to spike the volume of downloads to achieve a higher ranking, ASO is aimed to create a high and consistent download rate over a period of time. And the cost is actually zilch!
“So what’s the difference between ASO & SEO?”
On a high level they’re basically the same thing. SEO is the optimization of a website for search engines like Google and Yahoo, whereas ASO is a strategy for optimizing specifically for the App Store. And the same elements persist.
How To Optimize Your App For The App Store
We focus on many of the same strategies:
On-App Store Optimization
Most marketers and app developers focus only on getting a high volume of downloads in as short a period of time as possible, which is expensive and not very rewarding. Spikes of downloads may be exciting, but what goes up often must come down and at the end of the day consistency takes-the-cake in any business venture.
Research & Planning
One of the most important parts of ASO (& SEO) is keyword research, and implementation-planning. It comes down to getting a fundamental understanding of what search terms your potential ‘customers’ are using to find similar products.
Finding out what these keywords are means that you can optimize your app for each search term and make sure that your app is the first to be seen when these keywords are searched.
If you do not have any experience in researching keywords I would recommend that you seek some advice or use software like Scribe by Copyblogger Media.
App Name & Description
Include your main keyword in App Name, eg if you’re making a Camera App, then use the keyword ‘Camera’ in the name. For example: CameraAttack.
Also include the keywords in your description. But here’s the catch: ASO is about writing your description for search engines, but you also need to write it to be attractive and engaging for the user. And that’s called writing ‘Sales Copy’.
The screen shots are more about conversion optimization rather than ASO, but as it’s part of the same process I have added it in here anyway.
Plenty of app developers get this wrong BIG-TIME by only submitting the screenshots that are most attractive to look at. Not a good move.
The key is to provide a range of different screenshots that clearly highlight the most important features of the app.
The developer / publisher holds a level of credibility as well. Developing an app under the same developer / publisher name as another high ranking app or multiple apps, will automatically bring your app up in the App Store Search Engine.
Basically, the first app might be a little bit slow, but as you release more and more apps your authority will grow and your apps will naturally (organically) be ranked higher by the App Store.
Ratings / Reviews
People care a whole lot about what others think and will base their own shopping experience around that. So the search engines have adjusted their algorithms accordingly and even to the point where users of apps can rate and review the apps on the App Store.
Consequently, those reviews will either make or break you as far as being found on the App Store goes. The result of poor ratings is that people are going to have a hard time finding your app. Alternately lots of positive ratings will see your app shot through the roof.
The only thing you can do for this element is:
- Ask as many of your friends and family as you can to download the app, leave a positive review and a 5-star rating;
- And, hard code a push notification inside the app to request a 5-star rating after the 5th time the app has been in use.
How many times I’ve heard this term, I do not know, but if there is one thing that works when it comes to ASO and SEO, it’s lots of healthy backlinks.
Just be aware that before you start a ‘Backlink‘ campaign of any sort, make sure you’re working with a good company that use the right techniques, because the search engines will penalize you for using dodgy tricks.
We speak to Melbourne SEO Services regarding our own SEO needs because it can be hard to find a good SEO and Backlink provider that you can trust.
In this day and age, social media is everything. To go along with ASO is a relatively new (to most) concept: SMO (Social Media Optimization) which is being used by successful business all over the world.
Social Media Optimization has a huge impact on both ASO and SEO because of the value that search engines place on the information we share.
Why? Because at the end of the day, SEO and ASO is all just a big popularity contest and a high engagement on Social Media, by real people, is a clear indication of how popular something really is.
A good example of how to use social media to market your mobile app is:
- Open an official Facebook page and begin pushing your message out there, and;
- Hard code a sharing option into the application that allows the users to share the app via Facebook and Twitter, etc.
In a nutshell, try to be realistic about what you spend. You need to market your app in a smart way and if you’re making $ 0.70 per app that gets downloaded, then make sure you pay no more than $ 0.10 to get that download.
What we’re seeing in the industry is a high level of success among app developers who market their apps with a long-term perspective. Try avoiding the temptation of going for those quick wins, because they will cost you an arm and a leg, but gain you very little ground in the long term.