The logic of promoting mobile applications is partly similar to website promotion - it also uses search engine optimization - App Store optimization (ASO). The keywords that are concisely introduced into the descriptions that are included in the search queries of users of the store, like SEO, help bring the application to the top and motivate to download it to your device.
But in a competitive and rapidly changing environment of mobile applications, in order to bring a product to the top and keep it in a leading position, it is important to follow promotion algorithms using various tools (List of services for ASO in the App Store and Google Play) and constantly improve the ranking. Consider the features of ASO promotion in detail and on live examples.
What is ASO and how to work with it
ASO is an application optimization tool that provides for a number of actions, starting with the selection of keywords and filling in meta tags:
In addition to keywords, the visual component - the icon, reviews, informative screenshots, as well as the user rating of the application and the total number of downloads - affects the application’s output to the top and the user's final choice.
All this is necessary to increase the visibility of the application in the search engine for a specific segment, access to the top categories and featured.
Fichering or entering the thematic selection of applications from the "editorial board" of the store serves to organize the assortment and keep the attention of the audience. The more user needs the application closes, the more it is in demand.
Apple and Google often change features of formats, trying new collections. But the main format is promoblocks: "Editors' Choice" or "Recommended", from where the user goes to the application page in the store. All featured applications are manually collected by store employees, and it is impossible to buy this service. Therefore, ASO tools help convey the maximum benefit of the application for both the editors and the end user.
Search Engine Promotion - Step-by-Step Algorithm
Like any promotion tool, ASO consists of a number of important sequential steps, on the quality of which the result depends in many respects - the application goes to the top in the organic issuance of stores.
Step 1. Target Audience
In 2017 alone, the number of downloads of mobile applications in the world reached 26 billion, an increase of 8%. Russia is in fifth place in the ranking of the number of application downloads. The Russians made 3.8 billion downloads of applications on Google Play and the App Store in a year.
Therefore, making applications for everyone is pointless, it is important to clearly understand for whom this application and whose tasks it solves. Before starting any promotion, you need to make a portrait of the buyer, the person who will search and download your application in the search engine.
You must clearly understand not only how old he is, where he lives and who he works with, but also his interests, pains, how much he earns, what his hobbies, related interests, and how your application can help him.
Application user segments are determined based on the following parameters:
device platform (iOS, Android);
social and demographic indicators (gender, age);
types of users;
By popularity, among the interests of Russian users, games, business applications and entertainment are leading.
Statistics of the popularity of application types among Russians
For example, among gamers, as the most popular segment of mobile application users, Richard Bartle identified 4 psychotypes of people:
killers - they have a competitive spirit and a desire to prove their superiority over other participants, and most importantly for them - their own interests;
sociophiles - do not think of themselves without communication and commenting on everything that happens in social networks and media;
careerists - most often go through the game to the end, ratings and excellent results - their fetish;
Researchers - complex gameplay and the study of tools and mechanics - their main values.
Such a detailed classification of users of applications and games helps to create not only optimal conditions for the target audience, but also to understand how to satisfy the needs of this group. For example, sociophiles should talk about the possibilities of sharing the results of the game in social networks.
Only knowing all the parameters of the target audience, you will understand how the potential client thinks and what queries he will enter in the search for stories.
Step 2. Collecting semantics
The semantic core is a selection of search words and phrases - key queries that most accurately characterize the application.
Keywords may have:
As a starting job of collecting requests, you can interview current users of the application, as well as acquaintances - this will help to think more broadly when generating requests.
Experienced optimizers use several services to collect semantics at once, including AppCodes, Appunique, MobileDevHQ, as well as keyword unloading from Wordstat.yandex.ru, Google AdWords, Google Keyword Planner, Google Trends to get the list of keys and phrases as accurately as possible describing a specific application.
Many ASO experts recommend sensortower to evaluate key demand dynamics. It shows the number of users entering the search for a specific key query for any period of time.
After the maximum number of requests is collected, they need to be grouped by topic or other parameters. This procedure can be done manually or using ASO Tools or Rush-analytics with uploading to Google Sheets or xlsx.
Step 3. Audit the current position of the application
If you didn’t immediately think about ASO, and the application has already been downloaded for some time, before starting the search promotion it is important to evaluate the current positions - how much the application is in demand among the audience:
how many downloads;
how many views;
on which search line the application is located (not lower than the top 20);
Are there any user reviews, what is the reputation of the application among the audience.
This will help put point “A” and correctly predict what results and in what time frame can be achieved using ASO, that is, put point “B” and a plan for achieving it with fixing the intermediate steps.
Step 4. Competitor Analysis
In search engine promotion of applications, one should take into account market competitiveness, for example, to promote games, keys must be selected precisely, among low-frequency queries from a few words.
It is important to see descriptions of related applications and what words they are promoting. Services like searchman.com and suggest & search will help you track your competitors' requests.
This will help not only to evaluate the descriptions and find out the strengths and weaknesses of other applications, but also to be as different as possible from others both visually and in the texts of descriptions.
Step 5. Selecting the exact optimized name
The first thing that a potential user of an application introduces into the search bar in the store is the name or those words that should be reflected in the name of the application. Therefore, when choosing the name of the application, it makes sense to use exact occurrences of keywords.
It is important to consider the requirements of the applications for the name. In the App Store, the permissible length of the name is 50 characters, but the visible part is up to 30 characters, the rest is cropped. On Google Play, the name is immediately limited to 30 characters, including the visible part in the directory.
The name is one of the key ranking factors, therefore, priority requests should be placed at the beginning.
Thus, by replacing the name and introducing key queries into it, we achieved an increase in the number of downloads by 5%, and the visibility of the application in the search increased by 13.5%.
Step 6. Creating a description for key queries and filling meta tags
When the semantics are collected, the name of the application is defined and tested, you need to fill in the meta tags and determine from the entire collected semantic core 10 basic queries by which the application can get into the top stories. You can use the formula for calculations:
T - search traffic.
Kol - the number of applications for this key request.
The ideal Key indicator is where T max, Kol min.
In the description of the application, it is important to take into account that this should be not just text stuffed with keywords, but text that accurately and clearly reflects the usefulness of the application for the end user, and from the very first lines. Moreover, the description is not indexed by key in the App Store.
In Googe Play, on the contrary, it is the description that plays the main role in indexing, moreover, according to the rules of classic SEO. It is important the number of occurrences of keywords on the number of characters in the text. Description on Google Play is divided into short - up to 80 characters and a full description of up to 4 thousand characters. The main key queries and the essence of the application need to fit in the first 80 characters.
But the requirements for clarity and attractiveness for the consumer are the same for all parties.
Also on Google Play there is a separate Keywords field, which gives 100 characters for making basic key queries.
Step 7. Visualization: creating attractive icons and screenshots
When choosing an application in the search, the first thing you pay attention to is the icon, how much it stands out and answers the given topic. There are several key recommendations for the design of the icon:
do not add text to them - there is a name for this;
Avoid transparency of the background and small elements;
Do not use photos or screenshots as an icon.
When developing an icon, it is necessary to take into account the visual range of competitors, since the one who is brighter and more attractive wins in the catalog. Test and choose what causes the greatest response from users and maximally reflects the essence of the application. Color, gradient, image quality and even line thickness can influence the choice.
A properly designed block with screenshots increases the conversion to installations. In the screenshot, the user sees the application screen framed by the device and a short description of the functions on the screen.
The maximum number of screenshots in the App Store is 5. The main ones are the first two, it is the user who sees them when they go to the application page. There are 8 screenshots on Google Play. For effective promotion, you need to use all the permissible number of screenshots, and also make a separate set for each device size.
Without A / B testing it is impossible to understand which icons or screenshots work. Therefore, it makes sense to develop several options and configure external traffic to identify the best. There are also automated services, such as SplitMetrics, that help identify the best combination of screenshots or icons that best convert users from views to installations.
Step 8. Work with reviews
Reviews for the application are very important, so you need to motivate users to leave them, offer to rate the application. When the reviews are negative, they need to be worked out, especially since they can be answered on Google Play, and starting from version iOS 10.3 - in the App Store. So it is highly likely that the user will correct his assessment and be more loyal to the developer. Reputation management is becoming a new basic marketing strategy.
How does ASO work to bring the application to the top search engines store?
According to statistics, 53% of application downloads are organic, and, as a rule, these are applications from the first lines of the search.
The strategy of our agency is a combined use of ASO and motivated traffic. Due to the latter, the application has become a leader in search engines almost from the moment it appears in the store. And thanks to the competent use of ASO, the number of organic downloads is not reduced.
Regular work of the agency to optimize the application allows you to keep it at the leading positions for a long time and provide a stable percentage of organic downloads without additional expenses for motivated traffic.
How to get to the top using ASO - checklist
To summarize, we can distinguish the following scheme for outputting the application to the top stories for key queries.
To study the audience and its needs.
Collect the most complete semantic core - all the queries by which the application and its analogues can be searched.
Cluster semantics by topics and select 10 main queries for promotion through meta tags: title, description, keywords.
Choose a capacious and speaking name that includes a keyword.
Create an attractive and different from competitors icon and the most informative screenshots to create a catchy visual image of the application.
Carry out A / B tests of descriptions and visualization.
Using the latest requirements from Apple and Google, try to achieve phishing.
After completing all the steps, you can increase the conversion of the application in the store by 10% or more.
Demonstration case of ASO-promotion Sudoku application:
It is important to understand that user requests change regularly, new applications appear, therefore, you need to check statistics on key requests at least once a month and, if necessary, change the description, name and visualization for user requests and the requirements of current Google Play and App Store ranking trends.
The leadership effect in search engines lasts about two weeks on average, then it automatically rolls back and the promotion needs to be updated and started again. But at the same time, organic coverage remains even without additional promotion.
The current App Store search engine ranking algorithm is quite logical: the more installations for a specific search query per day, the higher it rises in the search the next day. If the number of installations from the search is over 600, the query appears in the “Popular search queries”. At Google, keyword density is more important in the description and name of the application, so more attention in the ASO should be given to visualization.
ASO is an effective, relatively inexpensive and long-playing way to bring mobile applications to the top search engines in the web and natural increase in organic reach. But the effect of search engine promotion is slow and requires constant work and testing in the face of changing algorithms and user requirements.