What Every App Developer Should Know About App Store Optimization
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Dan Burcaw

What Every App Developer Should Know About App Store Optimization

This post is part of a series related to what every app developer should know. Part 1: What Every iOS Developer Should Know About Submitting Their App. Part 2: What Every iOS Developer Should Know About App Store Optimization.

There are billions of smartphone in use worldwide and that number isn’t going to stop any time soon. Year after year, this growth continues to generate a massive market for creating and purchasing apps. There are about 4 million apps ranking on Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store. This means you’re going to need to get strategic when thinking about marketing your app if you wish to see it generate engagement and downloads.

What is App Store Optimization (ASO)?

App Store Optimization is a set of improvements you make to your app download page to raise your ranking on the visibility ladder to secure more downloads. ASO for the most part, is focused on the world’s two major app store platforms: Apple App Store (iOS) and Google Play Store (Android). Wether you are new or experienced, you need to know that ASO is never a ‘one and done’ task. Continuous attention and consistent updates are critical to your app success. Let’s take a look at a few tips to get you started on your path to success.

Use Real Keywords

Research is critical and it’s good to see what keywords your competitors are using. Match your keywords with the needs of your customer to help them find your app easily and much faster. You’ll need to target the keywords your users use and not the ones you think they would.

For example, you may be building a law firm’s app where they would like keywords reflecting their main source of income – car accident victims. They may be insistent that you use Auto Accident Attorney as a keyword because it is the correct legal term used by attorneys in the United States. That’s simply not going to fly as most people are ranking high searches using the keywords: car crash lawyer. The lesson is to use simple natural language that customers use.

Title and Description Optimization

The most important metadata used to get the most downloads possible is in your title. Keep it under 25 characters. This way the whole title is visible on the app store when browsing. Once you’ve picked the right title, do a search for it. If you get identically-named results back, you’re not being creative enough.

When making your description, include as many relevant keywords as you can (don’t stuff words just to stuff) and keep it within 250 characters. Anything beyond that will be truncated with a “read more” link.

Screenshots and Icons

Your screenshots and icons must be compelling as they will give you a visual edge. Choose an icon for your app that is very easy to recognize and is memorable to the brand. Try to use different colors than your competition to avoid confusion. Use design to stand out from the crowd of related apps.

Keep in mind that the majority of people do look at screenshots before downloading or purchasing. Make sure you’re using colorful templates. The screenshots must look professional and pleasing aesthetically. For this space, text is not as critical as displaying the visual features that are a better value than the competitors app.

Include Video

Videos included in an apps page stand to get up to 23% more downloads than a competitor who does not use any. Upload a video showcasing the best features that show your app presenting the greatest value.

Research the Competition

Since this has been mentioned above, you should be catching on that this is vital to your app’s success. Studying your competition will ensure you become successful. Learn from their mistakes and look for opportunities to stand out in other ways.

Before you include your app into your preferred marketplace platform, you do need to nail down the right category for the app. When choosing the right category, think about things like; how many competitors do you have? How many apps are consistently updated? How popular (in downloads) does the category rank? Once you’ve chosen and uploaded, keep an eye on your category. You’ll want to monitor top performers and their keywords or metadata.

Bonus Tips

Build Backlinks: To get the best backlinks, make sure your app is linked on relevant websites. There are quite a few app directories that allow anyone to submit their app to as long as it meets relevancy requirements.

Drive Traffic Other Ways: You also have the option to use paid app advertising, with Google Universal App Campaigns (UAC) and Apple Search Ads (ASA) as the primary drivers.

Last Words

Implementing ASO best practices and subsequently driving up app downloads will not happen overnight. By spending a bit of time daily working on a ASO checklist, you will get results and make progress over time. Once you begin to see some traction, you can then take a shot at paid promotions to further take advantage of ASO.

ASO is fundamental to growing your app business. Focusing now on the benefits of making you app easier to stand out of a crowded app space will provide that extra boost in revenue down the road. Nami is there every step of the way by your side as you grow your audience and increase app revenue along the way.

Dan Burcaw

Dan Burcaw is Co-Founder & CEO of Nami ML. He built a top mobile app development agency responsible for some of the most elite apps on the App Store and then found himself inside the mobile marketing industry after selling his last company to Oracle.

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