As of July 2015, Android users have access to 1.6 million apps and Apple App Store users have access to 1.5 million. This creates a lot of noise for app developers trying to gain app exposure making the objective of achieving any type of hype feel unrealistic. Do not lose hope. There are some basic optimization rules that you can follow to give your app a winning chance from the start. This blog offers a guide in app store optimization (ASO) and how you can boost the ranking of your app in an app store search.
Ranking high in the app store is the only guaranteed way your app will be found. It is rare for apps to be featured in the top category results and surprisingly the results for appearing in the top app lists are significantly less than one might expect. The majority of iPhone users find apps by searching in the app store and this is very similar in Google Play.
ASO behaves in much the same way as search engine optimization (SEO). The goal of the app developer is to create an app store listing that can rank well for popular search terms within the app store. Here are some ways you can develop an effective listing in the app store:
Conducting a thorough keyword discovery to aid the listing for your app is step one in your ASO process as keyword use in your app title and description are very important. As with SEO, you do not want your title and description to feel forced, so it is a good idea to consider keyword choice when you build the name of your app too. Ideally your title and description will neatly convey the point/subject of your app in the same way as how users will search for it.There is no solid research that suggests that keywords in your description will help boost your ranks in the app store, however it is very important to your user and will help you sell your app. Make sure your description flows naturally and grasp the attention of users searching in the store.
There are some helpful tools on the market for finding keywords to help boost your app, such as KeywordTool.io, and most allow you to search based on language and country. When looking for keywords you want to look for words that are highly relevant first and then look at search volume and competition.In addition to this, you may want to consider the category keywords for which your app will belong and ideally choose a category that isn't too competitive. Lastly, app store users are usually looking for apps that complete a certain task, such as 'photo editing app' or 'best alarm clock'. Consider these keywords in your keyword discovery.
Your app can improve its search rankings by using localised keywords. This basically means applying multiple language translations to your app. Localising your app in the App Store and the Google Play Store is really simple including automatic translations. Take a look at this list to help you.
The images you associate with your app are important as they are the touching point that will grab the attention of users. They are also a visual representation of your brand and will help to communicate the purpose and use of the app to users browsing in the store. It is a good idea to A/B test or user test the icons to see which one resonates with users the most.
The science behind app ranking is quite straightforward. If your app gets lots of downloads, it is more likely to rank higher in the app store. The higher your app ranks in the app store, the more likely it is that other users will download it. And so on. It is a similar story with reviews, whereby lots of positive reviews will increase your app rank and encourage more downloads. You can use a tool such as Rate My App to encourage users to leave reviews.
Gaining traction for a new app is a difficult task and it requires as much attention to ASO as a website requires from SEO. What ways do you optimize your app? Tell us your thoughts over on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
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