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App Store Optimization (ASO) - Is Your Mobile App Optimized?

app store optimization (aso)A few weeks back, we wrote about marketing and monetizing your mobile apps. We thought a discussion on app store optimization (ASO) would be a timely follow-up.

ASO is similar to search engine optimization (SEO). It’s all about making sure the mobile app you developed ranks highly in the app store/market and, once your app is found, it’s appealing and relevant to searchers.

There are basic ASO mechanics to setting up your app in the store. However, as with SEO, quality content is central to successful ASO. In simple terms, here’s what you need to do to optimize your app:

1. Develop relevant keywords, and use them to name and describe your app.

What search terms would you use to find an app like yours? Pick a few keywords and do some research. Which apps come up when you enter your keyword terms? Are they similar to yours? How are these apps being described and marketed? Focusing your keywords on how the function of your app fulfills a user need is a great way to go.

If you’re really serious about your app store rankings, TechCrunch recently reviewed this tool for engaging in keyword research and for monitoring rankings. Once you decide on keywords, you’ll want to use them in the following places within your app store/market listing:
  • App Title
  • Company Name (if possible)
  • App Description
  • Keywords
  • Image Titles
A catchy app title is great, but what if that catchy title doesn’t describe the function of your app?

Try using a title along with a subtitle. If your app is offered for free, you may want to include “Free” or “Lite” in the title as well. Your app description should be rich with keyword phrases, but make sure the text flows organically.

If your app is similar to another high-ranking app, you might try working the name of that app in as one of your keyword phrases. Again, use it in way that sounds natural. Try something to the effect of, “…action-packed game that fans of Angry Birds will love.”

2. Market your app well, inside the app store and out.

We focused in an earlier post on marketing your mobile app to drive users to your app store listing. Your overall marketing efforts do impact ASO directly.

It should be no surprise the more your app is downloaded and installed, the higher you’ll rank. Once potential users arrive at your app listing, make sure you greet them with high-quality images, including interesting screenshots and a well-designed logo/icon. If possible, work some of your keyword phrases into your image titles.
Another element shown to impact ASO are dramatic short-term spikes in downloads/installs. Some marketers recommend a tactic called a “burst campaign” to propel a short-term spike. Burst campaigns involve a very concentrated marketing push over a short period of time.

3. Make sure people love your app so much they can’t wait to tell others about it.
All of the strategies we’ve mentioned in this post are important, but it should go without saying that without a great app, you won’t succeed. Even if your initial marketing campaign generates thousands of new users, your up-front work is wasted if masses of people start uninstalling because the app doesn’t live up to expectations. 

Like any other product or service, the goal isn’t just getting people to sign on or buy; it’s offering something of value. You want users to love the app, post a high rating, and hopefully care enough to write a rave review.  (And if they happen to use a few choice keywords in that review? Bonus.)

Feeling confident you can move your app up the ranks? Let us know if you have other questions about app store optimization or any other mobile strategy issues.