For app developers, App Store Optimization (ASO) is their version of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). App Store Optimization is the process of optimizing apps so that they can achieve higher rankings in the app store. We recently came across and enjoyed this casual interview between Dean Takahashi, an editor at Venturebeat, with the speakers at a conference in San Francisco about app store optimization. Here are the top 5 tips that we picked up from the conversation:
1. Do your keyword research
Keywords are one of the most important aspects of ASO. In iOS you get 100 characters. Android doesn’t give you a keyword field. It’s about figuring out the most relevant things the kind of user you’re trying to get is looking for. One area is phrasing of keywords. You can do a ton of experimentation with programs like SensorTower.
In a general sense, consumers are going to pull out their smartphone, go to the search tab within the app store, and search for some sort of phrase. That’s where search-based app store optimization comes in. You want to rank in the top 10, or ideally the top two. Those goals are similar across iOS and Google Play. You want to figure out the best development terms for your app.
Again, you still want to go for those bigger, more generic keywords, but there are a lot of opportunities in people who are searching for something and not getting it. A lot of time you’re searching for an app and getting no results. You’re not the only person making that search. There’s an opportunity there.
2. Optimize the description and the name
There are many tactical things you can do. Shorter descriptions on Google – that’s one thing. You don’t want to have 5000 characters in descriptions.
It’s not a numerical thing, five times, eight times, but it’s a keyword density thing. If you have a 200-word description and 30 of the words are a keyword, that?s not going to do so well. Do your keyword research, know what words you want to use, and then use them in the text so that they’re there, but it’s still natural. It shouldn’t feel overdone.
3. Figure out what you?re doing next before the next app update.
Some bigger companies have schedules of when they’re releasing the next version of an app. That’s when you have to get ready and figure out what you’re doing next from an optimization standpoint.
4. Your visuals have to have relevance.
If you’ve gotten the user as far as to click on your app in the app store, you’d better have something to get them to install your app in the first five or 10 seconds. The description and what’s new is very important, especially with Google.
You can get to the top of different searches, but the reality is that if no one’s converting icons and screenshots should all be considered an optimization technique.
An A/B testing platform for iOS came out with an interesting statistic showing that users are split into two groups, half and half. There’s what they call instant decision-makers, people who make it to your store page and right away hit the install button or right away ditch. The other 50 percent are explorers. They’re going to look through your screenshots or look through your description, although very few people actually go that far. You have to cater to both. Screenshots, if you’re not putting the time into them, it’s something you’re just leaving on the table.
5. Have a marinating period
Optimize no more than once a quarter. There’s a marinating period. Even though iOS makes changes pretty quick, once you put in keywords, you can see changes quickly. However, until people start adding more reviews again, your reviews reset on iOS every time you upload a new version, we like to see a marinating period where the reviews are back to where it was and the keywords come in place together. So try to optimize around once every three months.
Matt Clark is the Chairman and Co-Founder of Amazing.com, a serial entrepreneur, and investor. He’s been featured on Forbes, CNBC, and Entrepreneur.com.