With millions of apps available, it has become increasingly difficult for publishers to gain visibility in the app stores. Because of this it is important that publishers understand App Store Optimization (ASO) best practices for both the Apple App and Google Play Stores. In this post, we will be discussing what ASO is and how it can increase an app's downloads and visibility.
What is App Store Optimization and why is it important?
With every search query made in an app store, there are number of possible apps that show up within the results. Similar to SEO for the search engines, ASO is the process of optimizing app store page listings to improve its rankings for the app store search results. A higher ranking in search results should translate into an increase in organic downloads for an app.
What are the factors of ASO?
The Apple App Store and the Google Play Store are unique when it comes to their search algorithms. While keyword usage is important in both stores, how these keywords are taken into consideration is significantly different. Other factors that can impact ASO include listing localization, volume and velocity of downloads, as well as reviews.
For both stores, apps should always tailor their messaging for their target audience and NOT keyword stuff. An app store listing is a marketing and user acquisition piece and should be treated as such. Content on the app store listing page can significantly impact tap to install rate, and should be treated with care.
Apple App Store
For the Apple App Store, the primary factors that impact ASO are the app title, keyword Field, downloads, and quantity and quality of reviews.
The title in the app a store can have a maximum length of 50 characters. Though the title does have a high character limit, we recommend that apps keep their titles short and only have important and relevant keywords within the title. Having a lengthy title could potentially flag an app due to keyword stuffing, which could block an important app release. Also, it is a best practice to keep important keywords to the front of the title.
The keyword field is where any additional keywords, that are not used within the title, can be added. There is a 100 character count limit, and each term or phrase must be separated by a comma. A best practice that we recommend is to not use spaces after a comma, as this is not required and takes up valuable real estate. Just as with the search engine algorithms, Apple’s App Store algorithm is able to recognize a number of different word combinations and phrases in the keyword field. For example, if the terms in the keyword field are “fun game,gem game,jewel,” the algorithm would be able to read phrases such as “fun game” out of this field.
Google Play Store
For the Google Play Store, the app store title has a max of 50 characters, which is significantly shorter in length than its counterpart.. With this limitation, it is important that Apps only include the highest value keywords into the app title.
The short description field is a quick overview of an app and has a character count limit of 80. Relevant keywords should be included in this section and should give a brief overview of what the app is, does, and be relevant to user’s search queries.
The app’s full description section allows for a maximum of 4,000 characters and is impactful for ASO, unlike the description in Apple’s App Store. This field should be utilized as a marketing tool to app store users and should give a detailed understanding of an app and its features. Keywords from the title and short description can be included in this section, as well as additional keywords. Density wise, we do not recommend using a keyword more than five times, as this can appear spammy and negatively impact an app’s ranking.
Both App Stores
For both app stores, download velocity is a key factor that significantly impacts ASO. In combination with on-listing ASO efforts, paid install campaigns, whether through Facebook or other third-party networks, can be used to increase download velocity. This will help improve ASO rankings significantly. Paid install campaigns also can be useful in increasing download velocity.
While the way reviews are taken into account in both app stores can be different, obtaining positive reviews can have a high-valued impact on ASO. Apps with higher quantities of higher-rated reviews regularly outrank apps with lower ratings and less reviews. It is important to note that for the Apple App Store, the reviews for a specific version are taken into consideration, and thus releases should be timed with respect to review counts and ratings. With each release in the Apple App Store, an app’s review count reverts back to zero for that version. Thus if an app is regularly releasing updates, this can actually harm ASO.
If an app is in a number of different languages, it is important to have app store pages localized to support that. Every language is different and It is important to do extensive research when considering a different language and understand what are the appropriate keywords for an app. Understanding the correct terminology will make it easier for an app to be found. This same thought process also applies for screenshots. An app listing’s screenshots are one of the first things seen by users. By having localized screenshots, it creates a better user experience and can help increase downloads.
When localizing an app, it is also important to take into consideration the different use cases. Just as each language is different, so is how a user might utilize an app. Highlighting the appropriate use cases in screenshots, as well as the description, can help increase downloads.
To recap, it is important to take each ASO element into consideration when working on the app store listings. Investing the time into seeing what works best, and discovering new keywords, can greatly improve keyword ranking and organic download velocity.
If you’re looking to take your app marketing efforts to the next level, contact us at Appyness today. We specialize in creating unique and ROI-positive campaigns that maximize our our clients’ budgets. Whether you’re looking to get your app users in the United States or looking to expand into Western Europe or China, the Appyness team can help. Contact us today to Find Your Appyness!