There are tons of content about ASO on the Internet and the amount grows every day. App stores (Apple App Store & Google Play Store optimization) are becoming bigger (and more competitive) and they grow exponentially.
What Is App Store Optimization?
App Store Optimization is the process of Optimizing a mobile app in order to get the maximum visibility and highest rate of installation in App Stores. It is also called App Store SEO because it is similar to Web Search Engine Optimization. Play store optimization ASO is not only about traffic but also about conversion rate.
App Store Optimization consists of three processes.
1. Keyword Research and Market Research
2. Google Play Store Optimization + A/B Testing
3. Tracking / Monitoring and repeating Number 2
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1. Keyword Research and Market Research
This first steps to begin you ASO and it is very necessary even before publishing your apps to play store.
For new applications, it is quite difficult to get into the top search results.
But it Is possible, but it will take a long time, and many installations In the strat you should use Long-tail keyword and keyword combinations. this is is the best strategy in the beginning. You should target keyword combinations for specific searches than your app has more chances to get into the top searches.
First, you should make a list of keywords that are related to your apps and the tasks which your apps perform, or its main features. Check related apps keywords, which keywords they are listing. Another good practice is to read reviews of your competitor’s app and try to identify the keywords that users mention. You can do it with a keyword suggestions tool – for example, AppKeywords.io or TheTool:
Pay attention to those keywords that have low or medium difficulty and at the same time, the most traffic. These keywords are not highly competitive, and ranking for these keywords will improve the visibility of your app dramatically.
When you will start implementing your ASO strategy, you will know which keywords to target.
2. Google Play Store optimization + A/B testing
Implementing an ASO strategy for Google Play is a process that embraces optimization of your app’s on-metadata and off-metadata.
• On-metadata factors are the ones that are under the control of the developer: title, developer name, description, icon, screenshots, feature graphics.
• Off-metadata factors are the ones out of your control (but you can influence them): installs volume, ratings and user reviews.
It doesn’t matter if you have already published your app, Play store optimization or if you are just preparing to launch it, you will need to implement the Google Play Store optimization. You will work on different elements of your listing, to improve both visibility and conversion rate to install.
And here is news for you: what you think is not the same as what your users think.
What is A/B testing?
To perform an A/B test, you will need to create 2 different versions of your listing element, and compare them against each other. During the experiment, half of your traffic will go to version A, and another half to version B, and then both options will be compared to determine the best result. It is very important to test with a change in only one listing element, otherwise, it is hard to determine which of the changes has caused an improvement.
Good news – Google has an A/B testing tool integrated into the Google Play Console! Here you can check out more about how to perform the experiments on your store listing in Google Play and the best tips about A/B testing.
You should always have a store listing experiment running.
The App Store Optimization process never stops, the market changes as well as the Google Play Store itself, so a developer has to be always up-to-date with the current market situation.
The good practice is to track weekly (ideally, daily), your volume of installs (organic + non organic), keywords rankings, top charts rankings (overall, category, etc.), ratings and reviews of your app or game.
Remove the keywords that are not performing, analyze and add new keywords and continue A/B testing until you find a best-converting elements of your Google Play Store listing.
User reviews are a part that is not totally under your control, but if you are constantly monitoring it, you will get valuable information about your product, Play store optimization keywords, and the weak points of your product and/or your communication strategy with users.
In Google Play you can interact with users, replying to their reviews, which helps to build trust and improve the overall rating of the app. A good user sentiment not only improves the conversion rate to install, but it is also favorable for search ASO, as Google ranks higher the apps with more and better user reviews.
URL / package
First things first, and the URL is the first thing you should think about because once set, it can not be modified later. In Google Play Store, same as in the Google web search, keywords included in the domain / URL act as a strong ranking factor for app search.
The developer name will as well help your app rank in search results. Besides that, Google favors apps from a developer with a positive history and ranks them higher in searches.
Try adding some keywords in the developer name. For example: “#DeveloperName: keyword + keyword”
The title of an app in Google Play Store is another important ASO on-metadata factor to keep in mind. It affects, above all, the search results, but as well the conversion rate to install.
Google allows developers to include 50 characters in the App Title (NEW: link), so use them wisely. Keep your brand name short, easy to spell and easy to memorize for your users. Play store optimization Include your most relevant keyword(s) alongside your brand name. This can significantly improve your app keywords rankings
Quick tip: Try adding emoji to your app title to grab the attention of the users when they browse or search the Play Store.
The perfect Title should look like…
• Brand – Keyword
• Brand: Keyword
• Keyword – Brand
• Keyword: Brand
In Google Play Store, the short description of an app has a strong effect on the ASO in keywords rankings and conversion rate.
Google allows developers to include up to 80 characters for the short description, and if the users are interested to know more, Play store optimization they can expand the short description to view the full description of your mobile app or game.
Quick tip: Like it happens with the title, adding emoji in the short description definitely catches users’ eye!
BONUS: Spy any Google Play Store short description with this tool.
The description in Google Play store optimization is specifically important because it is an On-Metadata factor that is responsible for Search and Conversion. In this field, you have to include all the keywords of your app or game, combined with a powerful call-to-action.
First of all, the description serves the purpose to improve your app’s position in the Google Play Store search algorithm, so it has to be searchable. Play store optimization And secondly, it helps to convince your potential users to install your app, so it has to be actionable.
A few tips for a perfect description:
• Use the maximum possible number of characters for description. 3000-3500 char is OK.
• Localize description to ALL possible languages.
• Look for mid and long-tail keywords and add them to your description.
• Use bullet points to organize the information in a clear and visual way for the user.
• Describe the best features of your app.
• Write in short paragraphs without an overload of information.
• Include emoji or format text with HTML.
• If your app has won a contest or award, brag about it!
• Include a call-to-action that contains a sense of urgency (e.g. “Download now and start an adventure”)
• Support your description with your social media profiles or links to communities of users of your app.
• And check these requirements from Google what NOT to do
An icon is the first visual impact that your app will have on the user, an essence of your application. Right after making the search request in Google Play, what the users see is a huge list of apps with different names and icons, and at this point, the users will decide which app to check out and install.
Another key element for Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is the feature graphic that gives an idea and “mood” to your Google Play Store listing.
Basic requirements for feature graphic from Google are:
• JPEG or 24-bit PNG (no alpha)
• Dimensions: 1024px by 500px
Follow these simple tips while designing your feature graphic:
• Don’t include any important visual or textual information near the borders and in the bottom third of the graphic.
• Center the information/text/logo horizontally and vertically.
• Use large font sizes for texts.
• Mind that your feature graphic can be used alone without app icon, so stick to your style and make it recognizable.
• A/B test your graphic to see which one has a better conversion rate to install (this is your end goal). Use Google Play experiments for this.
• Take a chance to change the theme for a season, important announcement, or an X-mas holiday, for example.
• Remember to localize your feature graphic alongside with name and description, in case it includes text.
If an image is worth a thousand words, a video is worth a thousand images!
In Google Play store optimization you can add a YouTube video to enhance your app or game identity. The thumbnail of a video will be acting as a feature graphic in this case.
Simply enter the URL of the video in the “Promo video” field, and remember these Google tips:
• Make sure to use an individual video’s YouTube URL, not a YouTube playlist or channel URL
• Don’t use an age-restricted video as your app’s promo video
You can localize your video, too. To do that, upload your video in different languages, or upload just a transcript, which Google will automatically display depending on the user language settings.
Like the icon and feature graphic, the screenshots don’t affect the search algorithm, but they do have an impact on the conversion rate to install.
In Google Play Store you can add up to 8 screenshots for each supported device type, while the minimum required by Google is just 2 screenshots with following specs:
• JPEG or 24-bit PNG (no alpha)
• Minimum dimension: 320px
• Maximum dimension: 3840px
• The maximum dimension of your screenshot can’t be more than twice as long as the minimum dimension
Follow these tips to rock your screenshots:
• Reserve the first screenshot slot for your most important message, or your app’s BEST feature.
• Don’t give bare screenshots, provide explanations for each slide.
• Pick a style or theme for your screenshot sequence and follow it instead of bringing up random images
• Don’t just declare your app features – challenge the user with your copy!
• If you have a limited offer, show it in your screenshots.
• If you have awards or mentions in media, too!
• Test many options to find the best-converting ones.
• Localize screenshots if needed