For those interested in bringing their app offerings to the masses, there are a few aspects which are wise to keep in mind. That is if you want the best chance of optimizing how your apps are displayed and utilized in the Play Store (or any app store for that matter). Apps are different from websites. While sites use SEO to optimize the amount of web traffic they receive, web traffic is not much use to an app developer. Instead, what is far more important is the number of conversions from web traffic. In short, it does not matter how many people come across your app or how highly you rank, if no one is actually downloading your app. This is where app store optimization (ASO) differs greatly from SEO and this is why ASO is so important to consider for app developers looking to maximize exposure, number of downloads, app marketing and revenue.
When considering ASO, it is best to break down the key points into separate groups. This will help you better remember and implement the various measures which will improve optimization. In short, think of these groups as (a) what a potential downloader does see and (b) what they do not see.
What The Potential Downloader Does See.
This section includes end-user visible aspects like your app name, app description, app logo (icon), screenshots, reviews and so on. In terms of your app name, the name need to ring true to what your content is offering. In short, it needs to be relative and contain keywords within your title. Not to mention, it also needs to be catchy. Neither is more important than the other and striking the balance between catchiness and keyword relevance is where the real task of choosing a name matters. In terms of app description, this is just as important. While the keywords will be what Google uses to make sure the app is displayed to the right potential users, the keywords will have lesser value with the actual user. Try not to baffle users with complicated or technical information they might not understand. Instead, tell them what your app does in a way they will understand and one which will make them want to install your offering. When it comes to the description, features like ‘permission’ information will go a long way to showing your potential users that what you offer is an app to trust. Next up, is the app logo (icon). This one should need less explaining. An image speaks a thousand words and with app icons being one of the most eye-catching aspects in an appstore, app icons will be far more effective to grab a user’s attention than any keyword. Make icons visible attractive and relevant to the function of the app.
Once a user clicks on your icon and reads your app description, one of the first places the potential download will move to next is the reviews of your app. Previous experience with your app will go a long way to generating future experience. This is also why Google places such prominence on your app listing page to the review section. With that in mind, you will want to take reviews seriously. Highlight the ones that say good things and just as importantly, interact with those who make negative comments. In fact, the speed in which you reply to negative comments will go a long way to showing those users (and the future ones reading the review) how much you care about the user experience. Employing such proactive methods to reviews, can actually make use of negative reviews to your advantage. This leads on to another point to note with ASO. Another trick to employ to maximize app store optimization is to not only monitor reviews of your app but to also monitor what other similar app developers are doing. Competitive research can not only help you stay ahead of the curve, but can also expose you to new keywords and new trends.
Visuals like screenshots and video trailers will be also important to maintain your potential downloader’s attention. When it comes to screenshots, unfortunately, mainly developers take an approach which is too literal and simply displaying actual screenshots of the app. While it is good to show what your app will look like and do, this is a rather boring approach. Screenshots are a way to advertise your service, your brand, your app. You would not expect a brand in any other industry to just show a picture of their product. Instead, the images should be far more visually attractive. Make your screenshots more like banners, than actual shots. The same logic applies to video trailers. There is little point to doing a quick hands-on with the app, as this will only show the same information displayed in the screenshots. Not to mention, this could actually negatively impact your app by cheapening the presentation of your product and brand. In short, avoid videos which could be mistaken for an ‘amateur feel’. Use your video to further highlight the brand as well as the app. Make it creative, informative and enjoyable. This will help to let potential downloaders know that the developers behind the app are just as creative.
What The Potential Downloader does not see
Moving on from app presentation and what the user actually sees, just as important for ASO is what the user does not always see. For instance, choice of category is an extremely important aspect when filing your app offering. If your app is placed in the wrong category then it will not rank high in app store results. Relevant categories are extremely important. That said, you also do not want to file your app in a category which is too over saturated. If the category you are entering is full of big league competitors, then you are still unlikely to rank high. Find the correct balance between competition and relevance when choosing a category and you will increase the chances of your app ranking higher.
Of course, keywords are going to be a real winner when it comes to how your app ranks in an app store. That said, using the most obvious or relevant keywords are not always the best solution. Although relevant keywords mean direct association with your app, they also mean direct association with your competitors apps. If your competitors already have better ASO methods in place, then your keywords are not going to be that effective. Finding the balance between a relevant keyword and one which displays your app over your competitors is the real battle. Sometimes, certain obvious keywords will be worth sacrificing to make sure your app scores higher and ranks better. Another important aspect to remember with keyword searches is locality. Different regions employ different terms, phrasing and keywords. With that in mind, there is no one-fits-all solution to keywords. If you plan to offer your app in multiple regional markets, then you should look to maximize results from different regional markets by using locally relevant keywords.
The last main trick which can greatly help to maximize your app store optimization is analytics. Although, following the above measure will help to offer an increased chance of exposure and conversion, analytics will provide the real answer to what is and what is not working. Over time, you can perfect your app listing by using these analytics. Try changing your images, keywords, descriptions often and use the analysis to help guide to what is proving to be more successful. The more you try and the more often you improve what the app user does and does not see in app stores, the more chance you will have of improving your app store optimization.