Are you aware of the number of apps on the App Store that are divided into multiple categories and subcategories? The number is a whopping 20,00,000.
65% of the people rely solely on the App Store for downloading apps and Apple is signing off cheques worth billions of dollars to its developers regularly. In this scenario, if you are not putting in backbreaking hard work in doing all you can to rank higher on the search lists, you are indeed losing out hand over fist.
Much like website SEO, there are many “on page” as well as “off page” tactics that you can employ to improve your ranking. Pull up your socks and get into the form!
What is App Store Optimization (ASO)?
As we know ASO full form is App Store Optimization and you can say it a counterpart of SEO but mainly for the Mobile app. Just like the SEO, it is a process used to improve the visibility of mobile apps of different platforms such as an iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry or Windows present in apps stores like iTunes for iOS, Google Play store for Android, Windows Store for Windows Phone or BlackBerry World for BlackBerry apps. For more detail on this please refer to Wikipedia.
Here are some steps to get an effective outcome from the App Store Optimization (ASO) digital marketing
Keywords should be less than 100 words
Apple allows you to mention keywords in the App Store listings. The same keywords are then used by the search algorithm to refer your app whenever users search for it. It is therefore crucial that your keywords are the best description of what the function of your app is. Here are the tips that you can follow to come up with the best keywords for your ambitious app –
- Keep the Keywords within the word limit of 100 words
- Steer clear of the following while choosing your keywords –
– Long words
– Name of the app
- Avoid using spaces while deciding the names of keywords. They will only eat up your necessary character length
- Make sure that you have separated your keywords using commas.
Opt for a descriptive app title
If you are starting off and do not already have a significant popularity base among the users, the chances are that there is very little or nil information that the users have regarding your app. It thus becomes essential to list that one particular function of your app for which it is designed in a precise and attractive way so that users get attracted to it and know why exactly they are downloading the app.
Furthermore, these keywords that you use in the title will also improve your listing in the search. You must ensure that the description of the app is less than 50 characters in length.
Steer clear of generic names or names similar to that of apps already featuring on the app store
If you choose dull and boring names like “Photos” or “Music” for your app, it will undoubtedly confuse your users. It will not attract many people because they will think it to be bland. You will thus attract lesser traffic, and you will face losses.
In all circumstances, avoid choosing names that sound or less like the apps that are already featured in the app store. This one is an infamous black hat trick among shady developers and can land you in trouble with Apple which might even reject your app.
Avoid employing celebrity names or trademarks while choosing the keywords
This fourth guideline is a strict guideline listed in explicit terms in the App Store guidelines. While selecting the right keywords for your app, you must consider this guideline to be your Bible and try to abide by it to the best of your capabilities. Unless you are armed with a proof that your app is affiliated and has proper permission to use such trademarks, registered names or the names of celebrities in keywords, you must avoid this practice at all costs. Apple has a no mercy policy regarding this and will straight away reject your app.
Add Keywords to Titles
In this game of ranking higher on the search list, you cannot afford to ignore any tactic out there. Every percent counts. According to a recent analysis, using keywords in the title of your app can enhance its discoverability by over 10.3%.
Give close attention to categories
While displaying the most relevant app to the users, the search engine of the App Store also keeps the category in hindsight. Thus, you must always choose categories that match the crux of your app and not of additional secondary functions.
For instance, to have a clear look at how categories work you can see the example of Facebook and Instagram. Instagram is listed in the App Store under Photos and Videos while Facebook comes under social networking. There is, in fact, significant overlap in the functions of the apps, and many people now consider Instagram to be a social networking platform too. Despite this obvious explanation, they are listed separately owing to the crux of their interface.
Make the description of your app user-friendly
People only get to know why your app was designed in the first place and what it does through the description provided alongside. Follow the given tips to makes your app description user-friendly –
- Use bullet points and break up paragraphs. They make it easier for a user to read the lengthy descriptions. If correctly, a user can get the gist of the app through a single glance at the description.
- Use social proof (press coverage, testimonials etc.). These make your app more credible and build user’s trust. By reading these, the user will be certainly convinced to give your app a shot.
- List out benefits and use cases. Also, try to list what sets your app apart from the other apps in the store under similar categories.
- Add information on the version number, changes made in the new update, bug fixes etc. If a user was dissatisfied with your services previously, he will be tempted to try your app once again after reading this and will understand that you have made an effort to make amends.
- Append links to website or support.
Optimize the first few lines of the app description
You must have used App Store at some point in time. You would be aware that by default when you open an app’s page in the App Store, you only see the first few lines of the description. The rest is available for reading just after you click on Read More. All the work that the previous tip pushed you towards will go in vain if the first few lines of your description do not succeed in grabbing the users by the collar and making them pay rapt attention to the rest of the specification. You need to spend some time in devising such an engaging beginning for your description that the users are hooked from the word “Go”.
Focus on being the big fish in the small pond
While choosing keywords, you must always go for the ones who have the least competition. This way you will not end up being the small fish in the big pond. If you are starting off, this is a vital step for you.
The lower the search volume and the competition as listed by a keyword search tool of your choice, the better is the keyword for fetching the attention of your users and gaining popularity. Only when you have successfully managed to build up sufficient credibility and social base should you proceed to face the more significant tides and beat the big boys on their turf.
Make the best use of the first two screenshots
See, 60% of the users are not going to swipe beyond the first two screenshots. So, you need to make them count and utilize them to the maximum. They should be the best portrayal of the main features of your app. Here are some tips that you can use to make your screenshots count –
- Submit high-resolution screenshots. Your screenshots should not be blurred. Neither do blurred screenshots fulfill the purpose nor are they attractive to the users?
- Show off the best features of your app in the first two images. As you already know that many users will not swipe beyond the first two images, they should aptly portray the crux of your app.
- Use overlay text and annotations. These additions will improve the messaging.
- Use a plain background. A complex background will only distract the users and make it difficult for them to see the screenshots clearly and read the text. Thus, to improve the readability and draw attention towards the features of the app, going for a plain and classy background is the best bet.
Make a great app preview video
Apple even recommends this tip. You can add a short video portraying the different functions of your app. Make sure that the video has an attractive poster frame. Only a beautiful poster frame will be able to attract the potential users to see what your app is all about through the video. A good video will also lower down the install costs. It will draw tons of users to your apps and thus boost the discoverability of your app.
Internationalize your App
By restricting the number of languages that your app is available into only English, you are cutting down a massive chunk of market share. The world wide web has made the world a global village. Technology has transcended cultural and territorial boundaries. Thus, your app should have an option of inculcating several languages for the benefit of those users who may not be well versed in English. Firstly, attempt to change the app title, keywords, and the description. You must keep the local needs of various regions in mind while deciding these. Then, also attempt to fit the screenshots, videos, currency and date formats, descriptions, and reviews within the broader global context.
Ensure that your app is regularly updated
Apple is infamous or looking suspiciously at apps which have not updated themselves for a significant duration. Google rewards those developers who update their apps regularly. Similarly, Apple understands that a particular developer is interested in fulfilling the needs of his users by seeing how regularly he updates his apps with the latest fixes according to the demands of the users. To comply with the policies of Apple, periodically updating your app is an absolute must.
If your app is categorized as obsolete because of lack of regular updates, the App Store will delete it automatically.
Pay close attention to the app icon
Users tend to remember the apps on App Store through the icon of the app. Thus, to register the presence of your app on the minds of the potential users, you must come up with an innovative and attractive app icon. Similar icons with limited colour palettes out rate gaudier ones to a large extent. You must choose simplicity over everything else. Moreover, your app icon should have a professional touch. It should be polished and should have other transitions like shadows. Such icons tend to lure more users.
Do go through Apple’s iOS Human Interface Guidelines before you start off with the process of designing your app icon.
Do not underestimate the power of humans to search for keywords
The market is flooded with apps that function as great keyword tools. They are stellar in their approach. They have been professionally designed for this very purpose. However, you must not neglect the crucial aspect that the very same tools are also being used by your competition who is banking on the same keywords that the tool is listing.
To solve this dilemma, you can ask humans how they would search for your app on the App Store. You can do so by setting up Human Intelligence Tasks in Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. You can analyze the responses that you get through this platform and can then choose the keywords that best serve your purpose.
The App Store Optimization process is incessant. These 15 tips are merely the tip of the iceberg. If you have further queries, do feel free to ask in the comments section.
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