3.1 million. That’s the number of mobile apps on Apple App Store and Google Play, screaming for the users’ attention. Yet there are still undisputable advantages in providing an app to your customers, partners, or other business allies, even if getting noticed might be quite a challenge. Fortunately, basic optimization of your app store listing can effectively help to move your app into the spotlight.
What is app store optimization and why it matters?
Just as SEO helps your website rank higher among web search engine results, app store optimization (ASO) helps your app get a more prominent position within the app store search. And since 50% of iOS and Android users discover new apps primarily by searching in their respective stores, it’s well worth focusing on if you’re looking for a way to expand your app’s user base.
However, there’s another similarity to point out – just like with web search engines, the app stores’ exact search algorithms aren’t publicly known. And considering the volume of apps available, you can’t just rely on making it to the “Featured” selections on the stores’ home page.
So what should you be focusing on to grow the chance that your app will be discovered by users?
Titles, keywords and other word equilibristic
The best titles not only tell potential users what your app does but improve its search rank as well. A carefully chosen title with a keyword can alone boost your app’s ranking position by 10%. But keep in mind that both Google Play and App Store handle titles and keywords differently.
Google gives you as little as 30 characters for your app’s title. However, since the descriptions at Play Store are searchable, you can include your keywords there. As great as keywords are for search algorithms, don’t forget that those who will read the text and decide whether to install your app are, in fact, people. So coming up with a confusing description, merely stuffed with keywords, might actually discourage the prospective user.
On the other hand, app descriptions in App Store aren’t indexed for search. That’s why Apple allows app titles up to 255 characters which act as keywords. You also have a 100-character keyword field to put in even more formulations. The tried & tested practice is to create a title with your app’s name accompanied by a descriptive subtitle with your chosen keywords.
When choosing keywords to go with your app, pick words that meet the usual, well-known SEO requirements:
- High level of relevancy
- Large number of searches
- Low level of competition
Additionally, it’s always good not to forget the golden rule: It’s better to rank in the top 5 of an averagely searched keyword relevant to your app than in the top 100 of the most looked up keyword.
So what types of keywords people actually look for?
About 80% of app store searches include category oriented words, such as ‘productivity’ or ‘entertainment’. Therefore, identifying the proper category to place your app and incorporating related terms to your ASO plays a significant part in whether your target audience will find the application.
The so-called inspirational keywords account for up to 10% of all searches. Those include phrases like ‘best business apps’ or ‘new games’ etc. Naturally, these should not be stuffed in the app name, but you might incorporate them within your description and keyword field.
The remaining 10% are split equally between specific app titles and functionality-related searches – once again, emphasizing the importance of using popular terms which at the same time describe what your app does.
Speak your user’s language
Literally. Localizing your app title, description, keywords is an often overlooked search rank booster, especially if your app is targeted at broader audiences speaking different languages. That doesn’t mean you have to localize the entire app – we’re still talking simply about modifying listings on the store, which is a quite straightforward process.
In App Store, you can make an app listing in additional languages, but if you don’t change your primary language setting, you have to translate the app’s name, keywords and description, while all other fields can automatically use the original text in your primary language. Google Play provides automatic machine translations of your texts and also the opportunity to purchase professional translations from third-party companies, available in the developer console.
And what results can you achieve? Make App Magazine’s Chris Jenner experienced 767% download increase after localizing his app’s listing. Most notably French, Spanish, Italian and Russian stood out as the languages with highest growth potential.
Visuals that support your case
Even if images aren’t indexed for search in either of the two major stores – the app icon is the first thing a potential users sees, just before laying eyes on the app’s name. Enticing visuals and screenshots can easily sway them to take that next step: tap on the icon and install the recently discovered app on their device.
Ratings & number of downloads
Both user ratings and the number of downloads are aspects largely beyond your control. But to receive favorable ratings, you need not only make sure that your app works as promised but also to start asking users to review your app. And while doing so, make submitting positive reviews as simple as possible.
The number of downloads impacts the app’s ranking. Simply put – the more downloads you have, the more likely will your app rank highly in the search results.
I hope that these few tips will help to get your app to an even broader audience.