You don’t need to be an SEO expert to understand the basics of how search engines operate. The world’s biggest one, Google, doesn’t really reveal what’s behind the rankings.
But we have an idea of what to do to rank higher (original and updated content, good backlinks, etc etc). In the end, the ultimate goal of every search engine is to select the most valuable and relevant content between millions of websites. App Stores are also search engines in this sense, admittedly fairly poor versions of them.
If you’ve gone to the effort to build an app (if you haven’t yet we can build you one) for sure you want it to be discoverable, at least for the app name and your business name. If you’re building a consuming facing app that could potentially acquire more customers from app downloads, then this is even more important.
That’s when ASO (App Store Optimisation) can be a great help. In this article, we will talk about 7 Basic App Store Optimisation practices. Whether you want to increase discoverability or need some insights to perform better than your competitors, you should definitely check our list out:
1. Have great visuals!
You’ve probably heard the expression Choosing the book by its cover. Well, a lot of people really do it when it comes to apps as well. The icon is what the users see first when browsing through an endless list of applications. Both Google Play and Apple App Store have specific requirements for them. They have to follow specific guidelines for size, resolution, colour and geometry. Simple and playful icons are eye-catchy and good for brand communication – keep that in mind. Alright, did someone click on your app? No reasons to celebrate yet! Before going to the description, he or she will take a quick look at the screenshots first. Visually appealing screenshots drive 30% more downloads. But keep in mind that only 3 of them will show in the gallery on page load. Include high-resolution images that really represent what your app’s about. You can also apply graphic elements on the picture, such as text overlay, in case you want to highlight specific information.
2. Choose keywords wisely
Picking the right keywords will always be the most crucial part of App Store Optimisation. Have a quick brainstorm session with your team and try to come up with a keywords list. Consider checking how your competitors are optimising as well. Try to think with your ideal customer’s mind (how would he look for to find your brand?). After that, get your list and cut off the irrelevant words. Talking about relevance, you can also check online tools that show search results for keywords, such as App Annie’s (available for iOs only). Specific metrics like competition and traffic can be measured with Google Adwords Keyword Planner. Try to find that sweet spot for words that are highly searched, but not so extremely competitive. It’s a bit challenging in the beginning, but don’t worry – you can always adapt your keywords list on a later stage.
3. The title is super important!
The title is a high ranking signal. So if you want to rank for a keyword, it must be in the title! Include your most relevant keywords and what’s the best about your app. Your title needs to be clear and concise, remember that the lengthy ones will be truncated. That said, keep the actual app name on the first part and write the selected keywords just after it.
4. Optimise descriptions
Your product description has to be like a strong Call To Action for users. They will read the first 2 or 3 lines of the text and decide (or not) to download. Place the primary information first and mention all benefits your customers with have with the app. Include also here your keywords, but don’t overuse them – remember you are writing for people, not for the search engine. Following this logic, you should also make the text visually appealing. What about bullet points to make it more readable and straightforward?
5. Keep your content updated (and localise it)
Always include new features and the last changes you did. Got any bugs fixed? Or perhaps do you want to feature specific products this season? Update keywords, images, and the information about your company constantly. In addition, make use of the localised listings that you can do in both Apple Store and Google Play. 72% of customers prefer shopping in their own language even if they are fluent in English. You can reach a bigger audience rates only by adding a few keywords in foreign languages. It doesn’t even take too much time, right?
6. Ask for feedback (and reviews)
Positive reviews are not only good for the brand image. According to an analysis from Moz, they also help your app rank higher. App Stores take different factors into consideration for building rankings. One of them is the size of your fan community, and of course, this metric is also based on the rating count. You need to encourage feedback from your users. Be open to criticism and always answer bad reviews – this shows you respect your audience and will make the customers feel appreciated.
7. Promote it!
This is probably the part that businesses overlook the most. App published, job done? Absolutely not! Actively promote it on social media and through marketing campaigns. Coordinate with your marketing team specific actions to feature the app and always include links for download on your homepage and even email signature. You did a great job; now you just need to make people find it. Following these tips will cover you for the must-do basics of App Store Optimisation, you must at least rank for your app name and business name in the beginning. Yes, you can celebrate!