App Store Optimization: How to improve your ranking

App Store Optimization (or ASO for short) is search engine optimization (SEO for short) for the App Store. ASO makes apps stand out, increases the download rate, and thus expands our app business.

What is ASO?

Are you familiar with SEO? The concept is basically very simple: the things you do to get your website in the top 10 search results or up in the index to get the click on your website. Google regularly changes the algorithm to ensure that the most relevant pages are displayed in the top 10. This is the only way the user can get a satisfactory result for his keyword search.

ASO is exactly the same, only for the app store. The user searches for the app of their choice using certain keywords in the iOS or Google Play Store. With the right settings and keywords, your app will appear at the top of the search results. What sounds very simple is still half a science. The Apple and Google algorithm is constantly changing and testing to ensure that the user gets the best results and the best “experience”.

What are the basic ASO conditions? 

Would you like to bring your app to the front of the app store? While the SEO takes into account backlinks or the age of the domain, the following content is important at ASO: 

The app title: What is the name of your app? What category does it fall into? Can important keywords of the market be placed in the title?

The description: What is the content of the page in SEO is the description of the app at ASO. When users search for something in the App Store, they use keywords to get the best possible results. Use the most important keywords in your app description to be highly indexed.

The screenshots: If the title and description convinced the user, he clicks on the app. So make sure that the screenshots of the app are attractive. Use a demo video to convince users. 

Attention: The Google Play Store allows up to 8 screenshots per localization and a preview video. You will also be asked for a graphic function banner that will be displayed above the title and the icon of the app or anywhere in the Play Store when the app is presented. The video comes directly from YouTube and the thumbnail is used as functional graphics.

The Apple Store, on the other hand, allows a custom background of up to 5 screenshots and three videos of 30 seconds each. 

The reviews: The app stores pounce heavily on user reviews. Many good app reviews will give your app a better starting position.  

The number and quality of the backlinks: Apps can also be linked. The more websites and other apps link to your app, the more relevant it is classified. 

The number of downloads: The more downloads an app has received, the better its quality and reliability are rated. 

The engagement factor: The Apple & Google Play Store tracks the engagement of an app. How much time did the user spend on the app? What is the reopening rate? How many purchases have been made in the app? And what are the loading times of the app? All of these points flow into the app’s rating. 

The icon: The logo of your app can create a context and recognition value. Be creative and take into account that you are not only creating an app, but also a brand. 

The updates: Regular updates of the app are essential to be at the forefront. 

So many different ASO criteria have to be met to successfully get an app among the top 10 suggested apps in the App Store. 

Keywords, keywords, keywords

First, think about which keywords are suitable for you. Create additional lists with the related search terms and their search volume. Also note that the keywords are relevant, popular, and not too competitive. Categories such as fitness and games in particular are highly competitive markets in-app marketing. Getting into the top 10 here requires a lot of effort and patience.

Also note the difference between the individual app stores: To have a keyword indexed, it must be contained two to five times in the Google Play description or once in the app title or in the short description.

You should avoid the following errors

If possible, use the available characters. A crisp title is good, but it must not protrude beyond the maximum length. The title can be up to 30 characters long, the short description up to 80 characters, and the normal description up to 4,000 characters long. 

Avoid irrelevant and unpopular keywords: keywords that are not searched do not have to appear in your app description. The better your pre-selection of keywords is, the better it will be. 

Strategies for ASO in 2020

The following optimizations can boost your ASO and lead to more downloads: 

  • Your app is already live, has users and you want to bring it forward? Then use your social proof for more conversions. Have you already collected information about your customers? Who downloads your app? Evaluate your customer data and analytics and include the social proof in your screenshots
  • Are you currently building your app? Ask yourself right from the start: Does your app have what it takes to be a brand? A short, crisp name related to your main keyword can help you build it up. This gives you double the search volume and more users, as the example “Learn languages” shows. Think Babbel. 
  • Use emojis to stand out. For example, add a year to your icon to make it particularly relevant and up-to-date. You can also pimp your name and a short description.

It will be worth it 

Conclusion: The more thorough you are with your ASO research, the better you will be positioned with the app launch. So make the best of it!