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(almost 3 years ago) by

App Store Optimization (ASO), is the process to improve the visibility of a mobile application in the app stores. It is the equivalent in the web world to the SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

In this article we are going to talk about why is important to care about ASO, and some advices and tips that you can easily apply when publishing a mobile app

Why is ASO so important?

According to Forrester,the discovery of the 63% of the apps is lead by a search. Also, Google says tha in android most of downloads are initiated after a search.

This graph shows the results of a survey taken on more than 4,000 users of smartphones in Europe:

métodos para descubrir las apps

Looking at the bars, it can be highlighted that the first way of discovering a new app is a search in the Google Play and App Store. followdd by the word of mouth (we'll cover this topic in another article in the future).

App Store Optimization Guide

Now, we will give you some simple tips and guidelines that will help you to get more downloads:

  1. Your app icon should be: flashy, Different, simple and meaningful
    The icon together with the title of the app are the two onmipresent elements in the search results. We already covered the topic of how to optimize your app icon to get more downloads in this blog but to sum app we can say that your icon has to be flashy, highligh among the others, but also has to be informative, meaningful, be related with the topic of the app. Finally, your icon has to be simple, think that it is going to be relatively small, so details won't be visible.

    captura Google Play búsqueda mexico

    In the screenshot above, we see an example of result of the word "Mexico". We can observe, that there are 5 icons with the flag of the country. In this case, the flag provides information, is meaningful, because it identifies the country, but because it is so widely used, the icon loses personality, uniqueness, and visual differentiation. If you are in a similar situation, try to be creative.

    For example, in this case, the third icon on the top row, the one of "Mexico TV", includes the TV frame wich makes it a better solution.

    Whenevery you design your icon think in this type of details, find out how are the icons of your competitors and search on the markets for words that you may expect to be found.

  2. Your app title has to be short, clear, unique and creative.
    According to Ankit Jain, head of search and discovery for Google Play, the title of an app is the most important metadata in searches.

    He poses that a good title has to be short, clear, unique and creative. As example, he mentions "Beautylish: Makeup Beauty Tips". This title is unique, bautilish is a made up word, also the title includes "makeup", "beauty" and "tips", which are three keywords that will make the app appear in search results. The title also says in a short way what is the app about, it is an app about makeup beauty tips.

    Also, you have to bear in mind that the maximum length for a title in Google Play is 30 characters, so definitely you are forced to keep it short.

  3. Keywords optimization for searches
    For the publication of an app in the App Store, Apple requests to the developers to provide a set of comma separated keywords in a string of 100 characteres. These words are very important for search results as your app will appear on the queries that have these keywords. Follow these tips:

    • Don't use keywords that are already in the title. These are automatically added

    • Try to use as many of the 100 characters as you can.

    • Don't use spaces after the comma. You have to provide a comma separated list, but you only have 100 chars, do not waste them. Example "keyword,keywords two,third keyword"

    • Do you have competitors? You may want to appear in the same searches. Make some test searches and take notes. Evaluate which keywords best fit your target.

    • Don't use terms too loose becasue in the results may apps will appear, so yours will be lost in a sea of apps. Also, you should know that apps with better ranking will appear on the first positions. Try to be a bit more specific. For example, if you have a restaurant in Miami, you can use "restaurant miami" as keyword instead of restaurant. Again make some tests and check the number of results that appear.

  4. Use visually appealing and meaningful screenshots.

    Screenshots do not affect directly in the search, but they are a key on the download success. Think that a picture is worth a thousand words. It should tell the user in a graphical way (maybe with some text also) what is your app about.

    In the App Store the first screenshot image is shown on the search results, so for iOS apps this image is specially important.

    captura de resultado de búsqueda del app store

    Screenshots of the mobile apps built with adiante apps, are taken by our publishing team. So, you don't have to worry about this, we already search for the best shots.

    We usually include 3 or 4 shots. To select first one, the one showed in the App Store results, we choose between the splash screeh (if it is meaningful) and the main menu.

    These are two splash screens that we considered to be useful:

    captura pantalla de inicio de adiante drafts apps builder captura pantalla de inicio de feliz navidapp mobincube

    The first image on the left belongs to adiante drafts, which is our app previewer. As you can see in the image sumarizes in the two taglines what it is for.

    The image on the right is the splash screen of "Feliz Navidapp". The sentence "la app para felicitar a todos" (the app to merry Christmas to everyone), plus the colors clearly reflect the purpose of the app.

    For the remaining screenshots we select screens visually appealing:

    captura de pantalla visualmente atractiva tu-app captura de pantalla upplication
  5. Make a description for search engines.
    The last element that you can use to optimize the search results is the application description. This is a long text (4000 characters maximum) that is specially useful for Google and Google Play search engines.

    We recommend write a fisrt paragraph that briefly explains what is the app about and why should anyone download it.

    The next paragraph should add more detailed information about the app.

    • Try not to use very long paragraphs (2 to 5 lines is ok). You can use lists as well.

    • Use in the text all the words that you selected as keywords. Think that Google will index these pages.

In adition to these parameters, there are others that you should take into account:

  1. Number of downloads. In search results apps with more accumulated downloads may appear first.

  2. Date published/updated. New apps or recently updated apps appear temporarily in better positions. Algorithms try to help the discovery of new apps.

  3. Reviews and +1. Reviews have a double effect. First, it is used by users as indicator of the quality and popularity of the app. Second, search algorithm, use them to rank the app.

Although it may sound a bit obvious to mention, try to get as much good reviews as possible. One way to achieve this is to ask friends and family to help you.

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