With over 2.6 million apps live in the App Store and thousands more added each month, every app developer’s number one concern should be discoverability. It doesn’t matter if you’ve created the next great game or a revolutionary new service if nobody can find it.
Discoverability is what ASO is all about. ASO, also called App Store Optimization, aims to make it easier for users to find your app, primarily through search. By optimizing your app’s title, keywords and description, you can improve your App Store rank for search terms that are important to you and your app, spreading your services to a wider and more relevant audience.A higher App Store rank will naturally lead to more downloads, more chances to be featured on the charts, and ultimately create a cycle resulting in a higher chance of users finding your app.
So how exactly do you optimize an app? ASO is a complex process, but it can ultimately be broken down into a few simple steps.
1. Decide on a Title
You may have a title in mind for your app already, or you might be drawing a blank. No matter what you choose to call your app, it’s important to keep a few things in mind.First, you want to make it easy for users to find your app. Standard naming conventions apply here – Quick, catchy and easy to remember is generally best.Beyond that, though, you can take a few extra steps to ensure that your title is ASO-ready. Apple places a heavy emphasis on your title when determining your rankings. That’s why you may have seen some apps with extra-long titles, cramming in words and properties that sometimes aren’t even related. These developers are hoping that Apple will automatically rank their apps for any word in the title, but it doesn’t quite work that way.
With Apple, you don’t just cram keywords into your title and call it a day. Instead, your app has to be relevant to the keywords in the title; they should explain your app, flesh out its features to users, or act as a subtitle of sorts.This is most likely the reasoning behind Apple’s recent decision to shorten titles from 255 characters maximum to 50 characters. However, you still have some wiggle room within that limit. Create a subtitle for yourself that explains what your app does using highly-searched keywords, and you will have passed step one in the ASO process.
2. Choose Your Keywords
Your keyword bank maxes out at 100 characters and gives Apple a better idea of what you’d like to be ranking for. After your title, Apple looks here to determine which search terms you will be relevant for. The same rules apply, so don’t think you can sneak in irrelevant terms.Don’t mistake your app’s keywords for SEO keywords, either. ASO and SEO are two very different beasts. The way that users search on mobile is very different than the way users search on the web. Think about the last few Google searches you’ve run compared to your last few App Store searches. App Store searches tend to be short words or phrases based around the features of an app.
However, similar to SEO, some terms are searched more than others. You may want to use software to track the search volume of terms, as they are constantly fluctuating.
Keeping all the above in mind, choose your keywords.
3. Launch and Gather Data
Once your title and keywords are ready, launch your app to the world.Now, it’s time to watch and wait. You may not immediately pick up ranking for the desired keywords. Don’t worry – this is completely normal. It can take time for your app to settle into place in the rankings.From there, it’s important to track not only your own fluctuations in keyword rankings but the movements of your competitors as well. There, you can get new ideas about what will and won’t work for your own app.
4. Re-Optimize to Adjust for Trends
If you’ve failed to pick up rankings as you hoped, or if you’ve noticed new terms that you could be targeting, you can always re-optimize and reposition.
This fourth step is essential for getting on top and staying on top. You’ll want to double down on the terms which Apple has found you relevant for, branch out to any terms which your competitors have successfully targeted, and leave behind those which haven’t gotten traction to make room for the above. With your title and keywords chosen and primed for maximum discoverability, your app will be poised for more organic visibility than ever before.
This is a guest post from Dave Bell is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Gummicube. In this role, Dave is responsible for overseeing the business strategy for the company, driving growth and market development.