If you have ever built an app you would know it is not an easy process. Unfortunately, even harder is getting your app seen in the app store. This is why anyone who intends to own an app needs to know about “App store optimization” or ASO.
WHAT IS APP STORE OPTIMIZATION?
App store optimization is the process of optimizing the characteristics of an app so that they can be found easily in the app store. Like search engine optimization (SEO) which, has been around since the inception of the web, we need to tinker with things like the headline of our app, its icon, and screen shots to make sure we don’t get buried in the sea of apps that get released daily into the iOS app store, the Google play store or any of the lesser-known app stores.
What Characteristics of An App Need to Be Optimized?
Most of the traffic to your app being potentially downloaded will come from the search form embedded in the app store platform. Other than being “featured” on the app store or ranking for the top 10 grossing or downloaded app, most of the traffic to your app will come through organic search. If you don’t optimize the characteristics of your app to be found organically, the truth is that your app is doomed to fail. So, what characteristics do you need to optimize? The optimization ninjas at syntaxNinjas LLC have identified some app optimization tips you need to implement so your app can perform well in the app store.
1. Your App Icon
We cannot overstate how important it is to have an icon for your app that is properly optimized. Since your app icon is the first item of contact people will have when trying to download your app, make sure it is as visually appealing as possible. In our opinion, it is advisable to put aside some money for the budget to your app for icon design. That way you can hire a professional designer that will design an icon that helps your app stand out from the crowd.
2. The Description of Your App
In this category, you have an opportunity to provide valuable information about your app. Use keywords that your potential customers might use to search for an app in a judicious but effective manner. The description of your app is where you get to tell anyone downloading your app useful information about the app like key features and update release dates.
3. Your App Screenshots
Screenshots are a visual way of giving users a preview of what your app is like when they are using it. Use clear pictures and make sure your pictures show some type of progression from screenshot to screenshot. Some app stores are also experimenting with video as a way of showing potential users what using your app is like.
4. Your Apps Title
The title of your app is very in app store optimization. This is another area where you have to use the right keywords not on to rank for search but also to capture your user’s attention. The app’s title has to be as clear and explanatory as possible and also it must contain the keywords you want your app to rank for.
We have made brief references to keywords in the points listed above but you have to be certain about what keywords you have the best chances of ranking for. This is one area of your app store optimization that will require some research. You see, each app is associated with a certain keyword that retrieves it when a user enters it as a query. If the keyword you are trying to rank for has too much competition, the chances your app gets called up when a user enters that keyword into the search bar is minimal. You have to find long tail keywords associated with the highly competitive keyword that you can use. That way you have a better shot of being found if the end user alters the original keyword they going to search with into a long tail one.
6. App Store Category
If your app can be grouped into more than one category on the app store, make sure you pick the category with the least competition. If for instance you can rank for sports and health and fitness but you believe the health and fitness category has less competitive apps make sure you list your app when registering in the health and fitness section. This gives you a higher chance of being found in the app store.
7. Reviews and Ratings
This is another key parameter in the app optimization process. We would recommend the use of filters that prevent customers from leaving bad reviews on your app. Instead, a more productive way of getting negative feedback for your app would be to use an app optimization tool like apptentive that routes users to send emails to air their grievances with your app. App stores keep tabs of apps with negative reviews and drop them down the app hierarchy. If you do get a negative review, make sure you pay attention to it and address the cause of the negative review.
This has more to do with the functionality of your app than how it’s optimized. The gist is that app stores keep tabs on how engaged their customers are with the app they download. If your app gets deleted after a couple of uses or users hardly open it once downloaded then other apps with more usability might beat you in the search rankings race. To avoid this, make sure your app keeps users engaged.
Localization matters! The market you are in sometimes determines who your app will be shown to. Different markets also cater to different platforms. You have to make sure your app is optimized to serve other markets and not just the platform that is popular in your local market. Mobile penetration around the world has reached unprecedented levels so if you don’t take advantage of customers who might be in far flung places you might lose out on those ever-elusive app downloads.
In the hunt for people that will download your app, we thought we mention that you only employ best optimization practices or as they say in the optimization world “white hat practices.” If you employ any under-the-table practices to get a higher ranking and you get caught your app might be banned from the “app store” altogether. Follow the steps we outlined and you definitely will have a winning app on your hands.
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