App Store Optimization (ASO) is SEO for mobile apps.
In other words, for mobile marketers, ASO is all about how you get discovered.
While Apple and Google continually make changes to their ASO algorithms, this doesn’t mean you’re left totally in the dark about how to optimize your app in the app store.
Let’s start with why you should pay attention to ASO.
About 65% of downloads happen after a search. Therefore, it makes sense to figure out how to optimize your app to get found.
As for what ASO is, it’s putting the best meta-data in your iTunes Connect listing, which will get you discovered more frequently. It also means getting those users who discover your app to convert to downloads. This usually happens in two ways:
1) Index meta-data - What the app store can “read”
2) Non-index meta-data - What the app store can’t “read”
What the app store can read is your title and subtitle. They should include keywords, but try not to keyword-stuff them. It can also read your promotional text (which is new with iOS 11), your category, and your keywords. The keywords are probably most important.
For non-index meta-data, you have your creative stuff: your icon, screenshots, and app video if you choose to have one.
You should optimize for index meta-data first. The app store can’t see how good your creative designs are. Again, 65% of downloads come after a search, and the searches are directly tied to what’s in your index meta-data.
“Creative last,” Chino said. “Keywords first.”
Chino’s suggestion is to go for high-popularity, low-competition phrases.
In terms of numbers, this is hard to quantify because of Apple’s UI. If you go to Search Ads, you can find the exact search traffic volume of any term or keyword. The problem is, it’s just a blue bar.
If you can put the blue bar relative to something like Facebook or Snapchat, you can see on a scale of 1-10 how popular that keyword or term is.
In terms of competition, it’s like Google SEO, where the first top 4-6 results get the views, downloads, and clicks. Typically, you want less than 160 apps competing for the keyword you’re looking to rank for.
For example, if you’re trying to rank for “basketball,” you might have thousands of apps to compete against. But if your app is about “basketball news,” you have a better shot. You can even play with the title (e.g., “basket-ball news”) in a way that targets your audience but doesn’t compete with the exact term.
In that last example, “basketball news” is a term, “basket-ball news” is a separate term, and “basketballnews” is probably also its own term. You can get traffic by hacking the store that way.
We like to ask all of our guests on the Appy Hour podcast this question: Where do you think the future of mobile is headed?
Here was Chino’s answer:
“Anything great always happens against the odds. Right now, anyone in mobile knows that something like 80% of users’ app time is spent between Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, messenger apps, and WhatsApp. But in the future, when the rest of the world gets online, it’s going to be on mobile phones, not on desktops.
“That’s the silver lining. There’s an opportunity to grow, for other apps. But I think a lot of the future of mobile will look like people having a lot of apps that other people wouldn’t have. For example, you’ll have these specialized experiences on your phone that you like, and my phone and your phone will look entirely different. The hits will always be there—the Facebooks, the Snapchats, the WhatsApps—and they probably won’t move. But some of the apps that people will have that aren’t those hits will be much greater than the hits themselves.”
Chino Lex is a Serial Entrepreneur, mostly in mobile technology. His companies have built 160+ Apps, with 50+ reaching the App Store's Top-Charts resulting in millions of users. He's been featured for this work in mobile and marketing on Forbes, Huffington Post, and Inc Magazine. He can be reached on his site or at email@example.com.
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About Chino Lex:
Chino Lex is a Serial Entrepreneur, mostly in mobile technology. His companies have built 160+ Apps, with 50+ reaching the App Store's Top-Charts resulting in millions of users. He's been featured for this work in mobile and marketing in the Forbes, Huffington Post, and Inc Magazine. And can be reached on his site or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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