You’ve probably heard of SEO but ASO might be a new acronym to you.
SEO stands for search engine optimization and is about how to get higher rankings in Google basically.
ASO stands for app store optimization and is about how to get your app discovered within the app store and appear in app store searches.
According to Forrester, 63% of apps are discovered through app store searches. Which means ignoring ASO means ignoring your biggest possible referral channel.
There are 4 main factors that will effect your apps ASO:
What your app is called. Some apps will just title their app with the name, which is obvious. But some are taking advantage of the huge weight that Apple puts on the title and are stuffing keywords into the title of their app.
An example is a meditation app called ‘Omvana’. But instead of just titling their app “Omvana,” they titled it: “Omvana – Meditate, Sleep, Focus, Relax, Rest & Nap Better with 1000s of Mindfulness, Hypnosis, Meditation and Binaural Sounds”
They’re doing this because most people aren’t searching the app store for the term “Omvana,” because they’ve never heard of it. But they’re way more likely to search for terms like “meditation,” “binaural,” “sleep” etc. By adding these words to the title of their app, they are far more likely to appear in these search results.
Think about it like when you Google for something. The search results usually don’t just say the websites name in the title. Instead they have a keyword rich title so that they rank higher in search results.
Keywords are words you add to your app page when submitting it to the app store and can only be changed when submitting a new version of your app – so pick wisely.
An easy way to find keyword ideas is to analyze your competitor’s keywords or other sort of similar apps that are ranking well. Keyword data isn’t readily available but sites like https://sensortower.com/ will allow you to type in an apps name and then it will pull in the likely keywords that that app is utilizing.
Just go to SensorTower.com and from the home page you can type in any app’s name and see the keywords it is using.
If you make an account and connect your app to it once it has been launched, it gives you all kinds of other powerful features like:
– Keyword suggestions
– Keyword optimization
– Keyword research
And my favorite feature is that it will email you every day with a summary of your app’s download numbers for the day.
App Ratings and reviews
You don’t have direct control over this, your users do. But you can encourage reviews with things like notifications. Well actually I kind of take that back, you have control to some degree – if you make a good app, you’ll get good ratings and reviews.
BUT – a “good” app does not mean an app with beautiful design. A “good” app that will get high ratings and solid reviews just needs to be useful and solve a problem for the user.
Like I said in the perfectionism chapter, my app is super ghetto. You can’t even view horizontal photos, it just crops in on them. Scrolling between photos isn’t smooth. You can’t view videos at all. It doesn’t work on iPad.
But despite all of that it has 4.5 stars out of 100+ reviews.
Total number of downloads
All things being equal an app with more downloads will rank higher than another app. Which makes sense. That is a pretty clear indication that one app is more popular than the other and is a better ‘result’ to the search. Again you don’t have direct control over this but it’s worth keeping in mind that as your app is out longer and gets more downloads it should get a bump in ASO do to the increase in downloads.
Since you really only have control over the Title + keywords – I recommend really spending some time researching the competition and similar apps to see what kind of words they’re using.
Again https://sensortower.com/ is great for finding out their keywords.
Also don’t forget to do some research on App Annie: http://www.appannie.com. App Annie is a really powerful site that shows you metrics on your own app as well as the entire app store. Go to that URL then click ‘store stats’ and you will be able to easily research all of the app store top charts and get detailed information on apps that are ranking well.