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Mobile app stores are getting crowded with applications and users are spoilt for choice. In such circumstances, how does one keep their application on a noticeable pane in the app store? Apple and Google have come up with plans to capitalize on this competition while presenting app developers an opportunity to market their application.

App Store Optimization (ASO)

App Store Optimization (ASO) is similar to Search Engine Optimization (SEO), in that, it provides measures for improving the applications visibility in mobile app stores such as iTunes for iOS, Play Store for Google Android, Windows Store for Windows Phone and BlackBerry World for BlackBerry.

As App Stores are trending and will continue to do so for some time to come. The problem faced by mobile app developer is to ensure that their application gains visibility and access among the largest number of users and not be lost in the bottom of a list.

Since app store searches are the primary source for people to find new apps, ASO presents the best formulas for success.

ASO Tools

There are a host of ASO tools that can be use for mobile app marketing. A 2015 Google/IPSOS survey showed that apps are largely discovered outside the app store. 52% respondents said that word of mouth was the biggest influencer. However, 40% users still browse the app store for apps.

Smartly executed ASO will improve app ranking opportunities, brand recognition and search discovery. There is a host of ASO tools that are available in the market that will get the app discovered.

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These tools are intelligence software that understand what users are searching for in the app store. They provide on-page optimization and analyses to improve ratings and increase organic download. ASO tool software track the following aspects to deliver results –

  • Search rankings tracking
  • Check visibility scores
  • Discover and optimize keyword usage
  • Provide app market research
  • Compare install estimates
  • Track competitors
  • A/B test descriptions.

Ways of Discovering Apps

The common ways in which apps are discovered are –

  • Generally browsing the app store
  • Recommendation from friends or family
  • Browsing “Top Rated” or “Most Popular” apps
  • Pre-installed applications on the device
  • Searching the internet using a search engine
  • Print advertisement
  • Reading blogs

ASO requires proper understanding of one’s target audience as search makes all the difference in ensuring an install. To have a meaningful impact in the app store, developers must spend meaningful time on ASO.

Factors that can affect ASO

Metadata for app has to be managed in the same way as metadata for websites. It is the key performance-booster for the application, from the time of its launch. Broken down to its components, the key factors that affect ASO are –

Keywords – Just as the case of SEO, the mobile app must have all the relevant, trending keywords. While Google Play does not have a separate section for specific keywords, Apple does.

The characters specified in Apple’s keyword section, when used appropriately for the app are taken into consideration to boost app ranking. However, an app is only allowed 100 characters. A lot can be done with this limited resource by following these tips –

  • Use single words instead of long phrases
  • Separate words with commas without space
  • Do not repeat words mentioned in title
  • Use singular version of noun to save on characters

Title – keyword on the title should carry the most weight in search traffic. This requires extensive research because it is not a good idea to keep changing the title to test different keywords.

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As the app rank improves, and gains more reviews, the news of this new app will spread word-of-mouth. If the title is changed often, it will make app discovery difficult for prospective users.

Factors allied with these two factors that affect ASO –

Ratings and reviews – this is also beyond the developer’s control, but offering incentives to users may help improve ratings and review

Number of downloads – this is an important factor, but one that cannot be controlled completely by the developer

Tips to Improve the ASO

Title – ideally, up to 25 characters can be used to fit a good title, which is very important, since it is the first thing a prospective user sees

App Description – there are two parts to consider in app description – above the fold and below the fold. Most users only read content above the fold, which has just enough space for 1-2 sentence description.

Hence, here the focus must be more on relevance and utility than keywords. Below the fold is where developer should ensure that relevant keywords are used and individual app features are described

Keyword localization – both Apple and Android have country-specific stores and user visit depends on their physical location and spoken language. When keywords used for each of these stores is based on the keyword search pattern of those areas, it greatly increases app’s ranking and downloads.

Image-based ASO – images are for presentation more than metadata. These must be selected smartly so that focus is not taken away from description. An ideal image will be –

  • Icon that will look good enough to make people inquisitive and correlates with the apps name and function
  • Screenshots can be promotional graphics that incorporate app screenshots to show its functions

Backlinks – these matter only with Google as it takes page rank into consideration. So, for an Android app, the same tactics that are used for SEO can be applied

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Solution Analysts uses its experience working with the major app stores since their inception to design highly lucrative ASO strategies that will launch an app on the successful upward curve. We support our clients to not only publish their app, but also to maintain the top position.

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