April 16, 2014

App Store optimisation

Written By Martin Sandhu
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The key to app success is not just building it, you also need to let people know you did.

Imagine you just have created a fancy, flat design shiny app, wow! Your app is uploaded, app store accepted it, well great all done, great job!!

Well, not quite, as what you actually did was drop a seed in to grow somewhere in the dark. Will it grow? Nope, it needs sunlight and water. Same with your app, it needs the title in the keywords to be optimised so your app can “grow” in the app store. And as app store here I mean Apple App Store and Google app store (Google Play) only.

So, how can I make my app visible to everyone? Web designers came a cross the same question years ago as a result they came up with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). For the app store we have App Store Optimisation (ASO).

So, what is ASO?

ASO is the process of optimising mobile apps for high ranking in app store’s search results. The more your app “grow” the more it is visible to potential customers. The more it is visible it drives more traffic to your app page in app store.

The difficulty with ASO is that you can’t just achieve results and rest. You also must keep pace with frequent changes and diverse factors that influence search results in app store.

As you may notice, I only compare here App Store and Google Play. The reason is all app stores are following their own rules and algorithms. As a simple example, Apple App Store main focus is on the title and keywords, it doesn’t count the description as Google Play. So each app store needs separate work to be undertaken.

Why is it important?

You may see the success of some apps in app store and wonder how come they are on first 10 or why they are so popular? They have put some effort to optimise their apps.

According to Forrester, 63% of apps are discovered through app store searches.

Search brings natural traffic which usually converts into buyers much easier, so if you are not using ASO to increase your app search ranking, you are missing on the largest channel available to your app.

What are the main factors?

As we mentioned before the title and the keywords, there are also description in some cases and also number of downloads or the ranking and reviews.

The title is the main traffic holder. It must be accurate and should mainly contain the app’s main functionality so it should be short and simple. Remember not to copy others, “Little Clumsy Ninja” or “Angry Ninja Birds” will be simply rejected as they sound familiar to the famous brands and may foul new users.

Searching for keywords it a challenge as you must do research on competitors apps and check what keywords they using in a bid to get noticed. Keyword is also being found by analysing the app store for the keyword to check what is suggested in the results. To find the keyword you can use some tools like Google AdWord.

ASO takes time!

There is no gold approach, no golden key or anything else you may think. As we said it is a process of analysing and study. This requires to be willing to experiment. Track, improve and invest. Obviously you will need some tools and advice or just handle it to the professional.

This blog leaves you probably with a lot of curiosity and unfinished guides. True, to say everything about ASO you would need a book and not just one.

We strongly recommend to follow Gabriel Machuret and his podcasts, the book “ASO Ninja”.

There is another book by Phil Maher “App Search Optymization”.

Our recommended tools are MobileDevHQ, Google AdWords, AppCodes