Looking for App Store Optimization tips from someone who has used ASO to power some of the fastest growing mobile apps? If so, you are in the right place.
App Store Optimization, ASO for short, is the most powerful marketing strategy for anyone with an app. If you need App Store Optimization tips that will help you grow your app, this post is for you. All of these App Store Optimization tips come from my real experience marketing apps. #FactsOnly
My 12 App Store Optimization Tips
1. App Store Optimization should be white-hat and ethical. Out of all the app store optimization tips I share in this post, there is a reason this tip is first. I felt the need to get this out of the way because it disappoints me how there is a misconception about App Store Optimization. App Store Optimization is not a shady marketing tactic. Apple encourages ASO. If you want to get results from App Store Optimization, do it the ethical way. Do not try to ‘fool’ Apple. When you do App Store Optimization the right way — and the tips in this post will help you do that — you can create sustainable growth that has a meaningful impact on your business. Here is some personal proof of that.
Every element of your App Store product page has the power to drive downloads of your app. Creating a great app is just the beginning — now it’s time to help users find and engage with your app through thoughtfully crafted app metadata. (Apple)
2. Optimize based on what your app does. If this sounds a little ‘out there’, please hang with me. There are a variety of factors that impact your App Store SEO. Some of these factors are only visible to Apple. I group these factors together and will refer to them as “phase one” of App Store Optimization. Phase one of ASO is about telling the App Store search engine what your app is all about. Your keywords, which you optimize to maximize discoverability on the App Store, are only visible to Apple. If I visit your App Store product page, I have no way of knowing what keywords you entered in your iTunes Connect listing. Apple uses your keywords to suggest your app to people based on their search queries. So take a good look at your app. What does it do? What problem does it solve? If there is an app for every ‘that’, what is the ‘that’ of your app? Optimize for that first.
3. Ask real people to describe your app. When people use search engines, whether App Store search or Google web search, they typically use natural language. Knowing how people describe your app in their own words helps you identify valuable keywords that others may miss. There are more app store optimization tips that fall under my ‘people first’ approach to app marketing. This is the first one to apply.
4. Make sure your app name make sense. The name of your app matters for App Store SEO. When you write your app name, approach the process as if you are writing the title of a college textbook. Textbook titles are clear, concise, descriptive, and tell readers what they will get from reading the book. Approach your App Name the same way. Keep in mind that the title of your app is not the same as the name of your app. The app title should include the app name, though.
5. Include benefits in your app title. Think about the people who discover your app for the first time while searching the App Store; there’s a limited number of ways they can know what to expect from your app. They only see the icon, name, and star ratings. The name of the app is the place where you can communicate the value proposition to App Store searchers. Do it well. It makes a difference.
6. Do not double-down on keywords. Out of all the app store optimization tips in this post, this might be one of the most basic. However, I’ve been surprised how often folks unintentionally make this mistake. Your app keywords should not include keywords that are present in your App Name.
7. Be mindful of conversions. Ranking for keywords on the App store is a sure-fire way to drive traffic to your App Store product page. Next, you need your App Store product page traffic to convert i.e. people who land on your page download your app. To measure your conversions, go to iTunes Connect, click Analytics, and divide the App Store traffic by total downloads.
8. Choose the most relevant category for your App. It is important that you carefully select your primary App Store category. My advice is to choose a category that is most relevant to the search intent. After all, if your App Store Optimization efforts help propel your app to the Top 100 of a particular category, you want to be sure that it is a category that attracts a high quality user. Specifically, the type of user who will be in the mindset to download your app, immediately find value from the product, and become a monthly active user (MAU). If you are browsing the Top 200 ‘Shopping’ charts on the App Store, you are probably not going to download an app that should be categorized as Productivity.
9. Add social proof to your App Store description. There’s conflicting points of view on how much the app description directly impacts search results. One thing is for certain about your App Store description: it impacts conversions. Showing potential users that real people use and love your app is a great way to increase conversions.
9. Do not overthink your app icon. Some will say you should split-test your app icon. It’s not bad advice, but I can tell you from my experience that it is one of the least meaningful App Store conversion factors. If you are going to spend time split-testing elements of your App Store product page, focus on the screenshots first. To ensure you have a quality icon, make sure it is aesthetically modern. When Apple made the switch to flat graphics, the icons that still had the old look probably converted far less. Take a look at how Apple’s icons have evolved here.
10. Invest in great-looking screenshots. Create great graphics to showcase for your App Store product page is crucial. Believe it or not, a healthy percentage of app users never even read the description. They decide to download based on the screenshots. While the content of your app screenshots do not directly affect search rankings, they can significantly impact your App Store conversions. For example, if your app ranks #1 for the search term “group chat”, but the screenshots look terrible, I’d be willing to bet people would be less likely to tap the download button.
12. Drive downloads to test your App Store Optimization strategy. From my personal experience, I find that Apple rewards apps that get consistent downloads with higher rankings for specific search terms. There are other organic ways to get more downloads for your app outside of App Store Optimization. I’ll make a separate post about that one day, or you can subscribe to my email list.