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ASO (App Store Optimization) is the process of optimizing app store elements to get better rankings in search results and to improve app store conversion rate.

It is also referred to as App Search Optimization and App Store SEO.

ASO is a vast subject. In this answer, we will focus on the basics. I have tried to keep it as simple as possible so that it will help those who have just started with ASO.

There are 2 important objectives of ASO.

1. Improving Keywords Ranking

2. Improving Store Conversion Rate

1. Improving Keywords Ranking

The objective here is to increase the app visibility by ranking high for different search keywords. 'App store search' is one of the most common methods of discovering the apps. The potential users search for the app using several keywords and it becomes important to be on top of the relevant search results. Higher the keywords rank, higher will be the installs.

Keywords Research & Usage

We start by identifying the keywords to rank for through 'Keywords Research'. There are several tools available in the market for doing advanced Keywords Research.

We can select the right Keywords based on the following parameters:

  • Search Score

  • Chance/Difficulty

  • Relevance

  • No. of Apps

Once we know which keywords to rank for, we can use them in the following store elements :

  • App Title

  • App Subtitle (only on the App Store)

  • Keywords (only on the App Store)

  • Short Description (only on the Google Play Store)

  • Long Description

 

2. Improving Store Conversion Rate

The objective here is to improve the installs rate after the Store Page Visit (or View). This helps in improving both organic and inorganic installs conversion rate.

Icon, Video, Feature Graphic & Screenshots

They should be attractive, unique and be able to communicate the USPs of the app. Their end goal will be to make the store page visitor to install the app.

The best way to find out the top performing combination of these is to run Store AB tests of different variants of each. While you have to rely on third-party solutions to AB test on the App Store(iOS), Google Play(Android) has 'Store Listing Experiments' feature for AB testing.

Ratings and Reviews

High ratings and positive reviews help in improving Store Conversion Rate. This can be achieved by encouraging users to rate the app at the right moment(in-game rating pop-up), having a bug-free app and through proactive customer support.

Localization

Localizing the app and app store page helps in reaching the native language target audience and increase installs from countries for which the app is localized. It not only helps in improving the store conversion rate but also in ranking for native language keywords. This leads to an overall imprvement in the user base globally.

Some Tips

  • Always focus on a few keywords for iteration and increase the number of keywords ranked for over a period of time. This also helps in measuring the results of iterations.

  • ASO is not a one-time effort. Analyze the results periodically and keep refreshing the keywords and store elements based on the trends.

  • There are many more factors which influence the ASO results such as install volume, crash rates, update frequency and more. Complete details of how the store algorithms work are unknown. These factors vary for different platforms. Stores keep updating their algorithms too. It's important to stay updated on these changes.

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While many still define "ASO" as the visibility and traffic you receive from organic search (or even worse, by "SEO of Apps"), ASO has become a holistic field over the years, which includes a broad scope of activities, characterized by:
- whatever is happening on the app store side (mainly AppStore and Google Play, but this can be run on third party Android stores, SmartTV, etc)
- the aim of raising visibility (impressions, views) and impact (downloads)

Activities comprised in this broader sense of ASO include:
- Search: Organic & Paid
(hence: ASO is not only organic)
- "Browse" or "Explore" traffic (category & overall charts, featurings, related/similar apps...)
- Conversion optimization & A/B testing, natively or externally, organic and paid

Some elements that play a role in one or several of thiese fields include:
- Text metadata (Title, subtitle, keyword field, short & long description)
- Visual metadata (Icon, screenshots, app preview...)
- Ratings & reviews
- Promoted IAP
- App bundle & developer pages
- Localization
- App weight
- Featurings (searchable forever on iOS)
- Additional off-store factors also play a role in rankings, both from your app (App vitals, engagement, uninstalls...) and off (links, download velocity, ratings velocity...)

 

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