Pearl Lemon’s Practical Guide to ASO – App Store Optimization

What is App Store Optimisation

Got a cool new App released in the App Store? Then you might want to direct your attention to App Store Optimisation (ASO). This is basically the process of getting your app to have a great rank in the App Store’s search results.

App store optimisation is similar to its cousin SEO, but goes beyond just search engines. ASO focusses on your app gaining excellent rankings within the app store itself. Similar to SEO, the goal is to have the top position because the greater the visibility, the better your chances are at making a sale.

What I found quite interesting is that:

65% of App Store downloads from Apple apparently come from search queries

That statistic should underline how important App Store optimization and General Optimization is.

There is a significant link inside your Android or your iOS app via the actual descriptions. Various aspects of Optimization in General come into play here:The Keywords, App Store Localization about Country-Level searches, Country-Level Downloads, Organic Installs, Retention, etc.

ASO Quick Tips

Improving your ASO and in turn your ranking within the app store can be controlled with proactive measures and continual improvement measures as well.

Optimise Your Title

Your title is the first part that users will see in the app store. This tells them what the app is and hopefully signals users what the purpose of the app is. Your title should also include one or two of your main keywords…this has proven that for people that do this they tend to rank 10% better than those that don’t.

Keep in mind that Google only allows 30 characters for your title and Apple offers 255 characters…so choose wisely.

Have a Keyword Strategy in Place

When placing your app within the app stores, you will have the option to attach target keywords. Apple has a dedicated keyword section and you are able to use 100 characters to work in your keywords, whereas Google does not have a keyword section, but you should have a good focus on your keywords through the description. Google allows for a budget of 4000 characters for your app description.

WARNING: Just like with SEO for websites, keyword stuffing is a huge no-go. If your keyword stuff, this will get your app penalised…and it is best to avoid this.

Do Your Research

In addition to choosing your keywords wisely for your listing...you need to do thorough research on which keywords to include. The goal is to choose top searched terms that relate to your app. This allows you to be found for more relevant searches within the app store.

Relevant keywords in the title AND the description have proven to impact app store rankings. So include these to have a headstart in your journey to position one. High traffic keywords with low number of apps will be your best bet. This is because it is top searched with little competition.

Bring Power to Your App Description

Your app description is a key part to how well your app will succeed. It is as important as a website’s landing page…it must be eye catching and address the users’ needs. Your app description should include points such as:

  • What problem your app solves
  • What your app does
  • Why it is worth the price
  • Why it is better than the competition
  • How it will make lives easier of the users

Your goal is to be persuasive to the user without coming across as aggressive, pushy, or overly sales pitch like.

Include Those Images

Within the overall app description there is also the option to include images. Take advantage of this and include screenshots of the app. This helps users see what they will be getting before the purchase. This touch of transparency helps boost trust for your app.

These screenshots should be high resolution as well. This is more than just showing the app, you want it to be shown well. Images tend to be the second most influential factor for users making a purchase… so don’t skip this quick win. Users spend seven seconds or less looking at an app page, so draw them in quickly with images.

Get Those Reviews!

Reviews establish trust. Having positive reviews shows that your app is truly great. You want your users to leave these though…don’t buy them. Reviews should be in depth and authentic. Asking users for reviews also allows for critical touch points to be made on what may need improving and gives your development team a chance to make your app even better.

Don’t Skip on the Icon

Your icon will be the face of your app. You want to be unique and stand out, but still capture the name and goal of the app. A Lot of users will judge an app by the icon, so make sure yours is top notch. Test out your icon with a few variations to be sure it is truly the best it can be.

File Yourself in the Right Category

Choosing the right category is a standard best practice for listing your app in both the Apple and Google app stores. This allows for users to filter by category and find apps based on this setting. This being said, you want to be found with all relevant searches, so pick the category that matches your app the best.

Don’t Forget the Videos

One last optimisation tip is to include a video preview within your app store listing. In addition to the transparency images give, a video allows for a more in depth preview to the app. This can be that final push a user needs to purchase your app.

Your video should also have subtitles of sorts. This appeals to users that are watching the previews without sound on. Being able to read what is going on while the content is being watched can offer a great advantage.

ASO Tools

There are a variety of tools, both free and paid, that can help you with your app store optimisation journey. 

Gummicube

Gummicube has been in the ASO game since 2011 and is considered one of the best ASO tools out there. This tool works with both Apple and Google, so both app stores are covered. Gummicube focuses on keyword optimisation and overall on-page optimisation. There is a flat monthly fee to use the tool. This tool also functions as an analytics tool to get a better idea of your audience.

App Annie

App Annie is another analytics tool for the ASO market. This tool goes over both analytics and market data. This tool can be a powerful addition to your tech stack to maintain an understanding of your audience. App Annie also is available to both Apple and Android users, so both markets are covered.

Pre Apps

Pre Apps is a powerful tool for those just starting out with their tool or looking to establish a greater user base. This tool functions as a directory of sorts and matches the users to apps that best suit their needs based on how they set their profiles. This tool would allow your app to potentially reach your perfect market. Pre Apps works for Apple, Android, and Windows app stores, so all three app stores are covered. Pricing for this tool is based on each user, so you have to contact their team to get set up.

Keyword Tool

Keyword Tool is a web based tool that can help you find the best keywords to use for your app within the play store. This FREE tool allows you to use a special setting to look at auto-complete keywords to see what will best suit your app title and description.

App Bot

App Bot is a paid tool that allows you to be able to monitor and keep an eye on user feedback for your app. App Bot tracks app store reviews, support tickets, social media, NPS, surveys and more…these all help your app designers better understand what users want most and if there are any bugs. The sooner these are found and understood, the sooner and better your app can develop.

SEO and How it All Comes Together

All of these things fall deeply within the realms of SEO, plus Conversion Rate Optimisation.

These aspects all integrate with one another from the initial organic search to retention and we’ve worked on several sites that have apps with several App Store businesses to really drive new growth.

App Store Optimization also has to do with thinking about your keyword weighting, targeting, how Google will index these things, where you can build links for an app or how you set up the referral links from your actual main website.

These come into play when we’re considering the space of App Store optimization and we’ve helped as part of organic traffic campaigns to really drive in the space of tens of downloads with mobile apps.

Optimization is is something that’s critically important and what we could do to make sure that you can increase your organic presence is critically stress the  importance of ASO.

We’d absolutely love to work with you on determining, defining and planning a roadmap with a hierarchy of all of the things that we need to consider as part of the implementation process to ensure that you get the best returns from your ASO!