You’ve developed an awesome application – congratulations! And then you decide to introduce it to the world by submitting your product to all the popular app stores and…nothing happens. No downloads, no ratings, no recognition, no revenue whatsoever. You app is just somewhere on the search results page, collecting dust and slowly fading into oblivion.
Since March the number of apps available on Google Play continues to grow and is expected to reach three million in the near future. The App Store currently has well over two million of apps. Together, these two control the majority of the app market share but are far from the only two app stores in the world.
Simply submitting your app to app stores won’t bring about any results because you’re competing with so many other apps. No matter what niche you market to or how specific your categorizations are, the competition is stiff and there are thousands of apps to stand out from.
You app needs promotion. Just like all good websites require a sound SEO strategy, your app needs to be optimized to be found by app store users. It requires a well-thought-out ASO strategy.
What is ASO?
ASO or App Store Optimization refers to the various measures taken to improve an app’s visibility on app store. The process has constantly been evolving since the term was first mentioned in 2009, spurring the creation of ASO-specific search algorithms. The main goal is to manipulate these search algorithms to ensure better rankings across app stores, as top positions on search results have a better chance of being downloaded by users.
Promotional tactics don’t make any sense if the app fails to meet one main requirement – your application has to be useful and be of value to people. If it is something app store users have zero or very little interest in, your efforts will be useless no matter how hard you try.
If your app isn’t another Instagram or Angry Birds product, stick to the following basic ASO rules to help move your app closer to the top search results.
8 Rules of ASO for App Developers
#1 Do Your Research
SEO and ASO are very similar in terms of the importance they place on keywords. According to research, the majority of people actually search for new apps via app store search. This means that users type in some form of search terms to find what they need.
Understanding what words your target audience uses to look for applications is a crucial step for ASO. Try to walk in your potential user’s shoes; how would you search for an app like yours? Also, keep an eye on your competitors to get insights on what other keywords you might be missing.
#2 Choose a Creative App Name
Come up with a short, unique and creative name for your app and remember to include keywords that you expect your app to rank for. But try not to go overboard and include too many keywords.
You are crafting a title for people – they’re the one making the decision whether or not to download your application once they find it on search pages. Additionally, only 23 characters of your title will be visible to searchers on the App Store. Those who use Google Play won’t see more than 30 characters on their smartphone screens as the rest of the characters are truncated.
#3 Design a Catchy Logo
In the digital world, decision-making is highly design-oriented, so your logo plays quite a decisive role in determining whether someone likes an app or not. On the search page, this tiny picture is the first thing users see while browsing through results. The icon design has to be appealing yet minimalistic (to look clear on small screens) and be able to convey a general sense of what the app is about.
Pay attention that the two app store leaders have different guidelines for logo design and sizing. To better understand and pick up some ideas on how a perfect icon should look, just get on one of the stores and look through the top-rated applications.
#4 Generate an Attractive Description
Here’s where SEO principles come into play again. While writing a description for your app, incorporate your keywords naturally throughout the descriptor. By naturally we mean where placing words where it’s appropriate and in a way that doesn’t irritate your users. Keywords are what make a difference for search algorithms, but they mean nothing to users who just want a good reason for choosing your app over your competitor’s.
Don’t write a lengthy description; we live in the age where people’s attention span is shorter than a goldfish’s. Focus on the first three sentences to describe what your app does and what its outstanding benefits are.
#5 Add Screenshots
The human brain digests visual information better and faster than written text. For this reason, include a couple of stunning screenshots to your description to maximize its effect. Show your potential users a little bit of what’s inside the app to pique their curiosity. Sure, screenshots of the interface, features and updates will have little impact on your search performance, but they can give users an extra incentive to download the app.
Depending on your target audience’s location and language preferences, consider localizing your app features. After all, the market is not limited to only English-speaking countries. By localizing your app listings, you can expand the reach of your app, increase its visibility across multiple countries and generate more revenue.
#7 Choose the Proper Category
Selecting the wrong category to submit your app to can be detrimental to the whole optimization process and vice versa. Analyze every possible option to choose the most relevant field. In doing so, you will be able to increase your app’s visibility, findability and rankings in specific categories and help searchers to better understand what your app is intended for.
#8 Release Updates
Gather user feedback to identify your shortcomings and get to work resolving them. Apps that keep their users in mind and promptly respond to customer complaints and recommendations perform better on search and ensure more downloads. Positive changes are always rewarded by both app stores and users.
Be ready to work on ASO strategies for a long while to ensure long-lasting results. Once you start with optimization, you need to always stay on top of things that can constantly change. Track and measure your performance on a regular basis to be able to adapt to ever-evolving ASO standards and you’ll see your app shoot to the top of search results in no time.