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App store optimization (ASO) best practices

By Expert commentator 04 Oct, 2013
Essential

A Step-by-Step Guide to App Store Optimization

With so many competing apps available within Apple’s App Store and Google Play, app store optimization (ASO) is now essential for driving traffic to your app, particularly for apps targeting a need which aren't developed by well-known brands. In these cases, demand for apps is high...

63% of people discover apps via search, according to Forrester Research, making it all the more important to focus on ASO. Investing in ASO is one of the best strategies for increasing the organic downloads of your mobile app.

Guide to improving your ASO ranking in searches

Here’s a step by step guide on how to go about achieving exceptional results from ASO to ascend the ranks in user searches, ultimately driving more traffic to your app.

  • The right keywords

The principles of SEO often also work for ASO. Create your app store metadata using the right keywords that your users might be searching for. To get started on this I recommend using this process:

  • Brainstorm to arrive at keywords related to your app.
  • Search for your primary keywords on the App Store and find out who are the top search performers.
  • Make use of tools to guess keywords of your competitors as well as to track your search rankings over time.
  • Find out which are the less competitive keywords you could rank higher for. Slightly less popular keywords with medium search volume will also help you a great deal.
  • Localize keywords to make your app popular in certain geographic locations.

Google Play in particular also takes into account page rank while ranking apps so make sure you invest significant effort in mobile as well as Search Engine Optimization.

Tips for ASO

Following these steps will lead you down the right path as you’ll learn about which keywords work for you and which don’t.

  • 1. Create a stunning icon 

Your app’s icon is one of the first things a user will notice about your app. Make them app icon should be attractive enough to make people click, yet simple and unique to convey its use:

  • For business apps, keep the icon consistent with the rest of your business logos, colors and style.
  • For games, make sure your icon reflects a key element of your game.  It’s also helpful if the icon conveys the gameplay to let users know if they will be interested in it.
  • Use borders and increase the contrast of colors in the icon to produce a shiny frame – app icons with noticeable frames have shown greater click-through rates.
  • 2. Write a killer app store description 

Writing a good app store description is all about keeping it simple and getting straight to-the-point:

  • Make sure your description conveys what your app is about in the first 10 seconds.
  • Use bullet points and short sentences.
  • Highlight the USP of your app in the first two sentences.
  • Make a list of the features users will care the most about and create 3-5 main headings explaining why they rock.
  • Highlight single-line excerpts from app reviews.
  • Provide an easily accessible e-mail for questions and support.

It’s important to not use any jargons as it may not strike a chord with users otherwise. For Google Play, promote your app on Google+ as it adds to your ASO. For both app stores, it’s important to localize your description for important territories.

  • 3. Use great app screenshots 

One of the more important aspects of marketing your app on Google Play and Apple’s App Store is to use high-quality screenshots. Think of these screenshots as a virtual flipbook through your app and showcase your app’s biggest strengths. Majority of the users will make up their mind about downloading your app based on how attractive it looks in the screenshots:

  • Utilize all the available slots for showcasing your screenshots.
  • Make sure your first screenshot creates a lasting impression.
  • List out features to be communicated through the screenshots.
  • Use minimum space in the screenshot to write a tagline about the feature.

Also, remember that for Apple’s App Store, your screenshots can be changed only with every new update so make sure you get them right.

  • 4. Make the best of your app updates 

When your app has an update, users will be able to read a quick description of what the update entails and what to expect. Avoid describing your update by simply saying 'bug fixes.' Instead, use this space to continue to sell your app, telling users why they need to update immediately and how it will improve the overall app experience.

  • 5. Iterate every few weeks

Repeat these steps every few weeks and make sure your track the impact of the changes you make on your app’s search rank as well as the download numbers. Make adjustments as app stores introduce changes with every OS update. Experiment and learn to make your app stand out.

By Expert commentator

This is a post we've invited from a digital marketing specialist who has agreed to share their expertise, opinions and case studies. Their details are given at the end of the article.

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