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The Ultimate Guide To App Store Optimization

Did you know how many apps were downloaded by users last year? 204 billion. Yes, you read that right. It’s a billion with a B. This translates into a 6% jump in app downloads when compared to previous years. If you look at the data of the last five years, you will notice that the number of app downloads surged by 45% from 2016-2019. The pandemic has further accelerated that trend as people were spending more times in their homes.

According to mobile app statistics, mobile apps are expected to generate $935 billion in revenue by 2023. There are 2.8 million apps available for download in Google Play store and around 2 million apps in Apple’s app store. 

This essentially means that if you want to create an app today, your app will be competing against millions of other mobile applications on the app store. How can you make your app stand out from the crowd and get the limelight it deserve? That is where app store optimization comes into play. 

In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about app store optimization.

What is App Store Optimization?

App store optimization is enhancing the visibility of your mobile application in app stores. The primary objective of app store optimization is to improve the ranking of your mobile application inside the app store. Other objectives include increasing app downloads, increasing brand recognition, getting positive app reviews and ratings and boosting user engagement.

How Does App Store Optimization Work?

If you are familiar with search engine optimization, then you won’t have difficulty in understanding app store optimization because it shares many similarities with search engine optimization. App store optimization works like a closed site search engine, which depends heavily on the following:

  • Convenient content discovery
  • Indexing
  • App ranking algorithms

Key Factors Impacting App Store Rankings

The app ranking algorithm usually looks at the following factors when ranking mobile applications.

  • Freshness
  • Perceived app quality
  • Brand worth
  • User signals such as reviews and ratings

KPIs To Track

The goal of marketers is to generate higher return on investment and boost app visibility Some of the important KPIs app store optimizers needs to track are:

  • Downloads
  • Impressions
  • Shares
  • Engagement
  • Reviews and Ratings

By tracking these key performance indicators, you can get a clear picture about where your app currently stands amongst millions of other mobile apps. Just like search engine optimization, app store optimization is also a continuous process. As algorithms change and new apps enter the market, the ranking of your mobile app will fluctuate with the passage of time.

How To Improve Your App Store Rankings?

There are ten steps you can take to skyrocket your app store rankings.

  1. Choose a Descriptive Title

Believe it or not, the name of your app plays a crucial role in ranking. Yes, that’s right. That is why it is important for businesses to choose the name of their apps carefully. If possible, try to choose a name that can tell the user what your app does. Additionally, you should choose an app title that is descriptive. 

This will help prospective app users know what your app is all about and what they could expect from it. Setting the right expectations early on in the process is crucial as it reduces the risk of user dissatisfaction with your mobile apps. The more relevant the name, the brighter will be the chances of your app to rank higher. The Apple app store gives you 255 characters to play with while the Google Play store only offers 30 characters.

  1. Select Keywords Cleverly

Once you choose a name for your app, it is time to select keywords you want your app to rank for. Just like the app name, there is also a difference in character limits of keywords in both app stores. Apple app store give users 100 characters for entering all your keywords, 

On the flipside, Google play store does not offer app owners a field to enter keywords. As a result, they have to enter keywords in the description field which offers a 4000 character limit. Do some keyword research and find keywords that have high traffic potential and are easier to rank for. Also look at how many other mobile apps are already using the same keywords. 

You can also use a tool that will help you generate the right keyword for app store optimization. Most importantly, include your primary keyword in both your title and description for the best results. You can also create long tail variations of these keywords and use them in description.

  1. Define Your App In Detail

Let’s say, your prospective user has read your app title and wants to know more about your mobile application. Where would they look? It is your app description section. It is your chance to describe what your app does and how it benefits users in detail. 

Here are some of the questions your mobile app description must answer.

  • What does your mobile app do?
  • Which problem does it resolve?
  • How will the app make users’ lives more convenient?
  • If it is a paid app, is it worth the price?

By answering all these questions, you will be able to write a persuasive mobile app description.

  1. Put Your App In Right Category

Imagine visiting your favorite online store but could not find the product you are looking for in the right category. There is nothing worse for a user than that. That is why it is important for mobile app developers to select the best category for their apps.

This not only makes it easier for users to find your app but also has a positive impact on your app store rankings. Always choose a category that is relevant to your mobile app. You can also choose a category that is less competitive to rank higher quickly especially if it is relevant to your niche.

  1. Give Users a Sneak Peek With Screenshots

Did you know that users take just seven seconds to decide whether they should download an app or not? Your goal is to grab their attention with your mobile app in those seven seconds. The best way to do that is to add eye catching and high resolution screenshots of your app. This will give users an inside look of your app without downloading and installing it. Your app screenshots will influence users in downloading your app.

  1. App Icon Does Matter

Your app icon design is usually an afterthought despite being the first thing users will look at. What most businesses don’t realize is that it can do wonders for your app store rankings if you design it the right way. Create multiple variations and versions of your app icon and test each one before selecting one for your mobile application. Try to create an app icon which is attractive to look at and unique so users are attracted to it and don’t mistake it as an app icon of any other app.

  1. Include a Preview Video

Just like app screenshots, a preview video of your mobile app gives users an interactive overview of your mobile application. The best thing about preview video is that they can see everything in motion and get a better idea about your app. 

Since most users might view this video with their sound off, it is highly recommended that you add subtitles to make it easy for users to understand your app functions and features. Keep your preview video short and sweet and only highlight key features that your target audience might find useful. Include in app recordings in your preview video.

  1. Leverage App Store Analytics

How would you know how your app store optimization efforts are performing? Are they delivering the results you want them to or not? That is where app store analytics can come in handy. This data tells you what’s working and what’s not. More importantly, it offers useful insights to improve your app store optimization in the future. As mentioned before, app store optimization is an on-going process, which means that you need to make changes from time to time. Your app analytics data can help you with that. This also assist you in deciding what needs to be changed and what needs to stay the same.

  1. Get Positive Reviews

Another important factor that can have a significant impact on your app store rankings is reviews and ratings. As an app development company, your goal should be to get as many high quality, positive reviews and ratings as possible. Focus on improving the user experience of your app and offer direct customer support to your users. Take regular feedback from users on how to improve the app even more. What features need to be included in the future update? This will help you decide what features to add in the next release.

  1. Evaluate Continuously

Last but certainly not the least is to continuously evaluate your progress. Set it and target it approach does not work in app store optimization. You will have to stay informed with the latest trends and keep an eye on the changes. Conduct an in-depth assessment every month to see the fluctuations in rankings. If your app store optimization strategy is not working, ask yourself questions such as:

  • Have you chosen the right keywords?
  •  Is the app description enticing?
  • Have you picked the right category for your app?
  • Does the icon design need more work or polich?

4 Useful App Store Optimization Tips To Improve Your App Rankings

Here are four proven app store optimization tips that will skyrocket your app rankings.

  1. Keyword Triggers

One thing that most businesses are unaware of is that app stores use keyword triggers. Keyword triggers are basically sub keywords that appear in the search bar when a user types in your primary keyword. It works the same way as Google’s auto suggest feature. This can prove to be a treasure trove for you when doing keyword research and identify keyword opportunities that you might have missed.

  1. App Page Presentation

Just like you optimize your website for conversion rate, it is also important to optimize your app page to get more downloads for your mobile app. Don’t expect a messy app page to give you any app downloads. Your app page presentation can make or break it and determines how many downloads your app actually gets. The more appealing your app page looks, the more likely you are to convince users to download your app. Just like app store optimization, conversion rate optimization and improving the presentation of your app page should be a continuous process.

  1. Research Your Competitors

If you are new to app store optimization, look at what your competitors are doing. How are they optimizing their apps for higher rankings? What keywords are going after? Look at their preview video and read their description carefully. This will give you an idea about what’s working in your industry. You can take inspiration from them and give it your own unique twist. Identify gaps in their app store listing and capitalize on these opportunities by creating a better app store listing page for your mobile app. This will automatically put you ahead of your competitors

  1. A/B Test Everything

Every app user is different and what works for one might not work for another user. That is why it is important to A/B test everything. By conducting A/B testing, you can see the impact of new features. It also helps you understand your app user needs in a much better way. Let’s say that more users are liking a particular button color inside the app, it is an indication that you need to adopt that color across the app. More importantly, it helps you optimize app engagements and deliver a more personalized app experience to app users.

How do you optimize your mobile app to rank higher on respective app stores? Share it with us in the comments section below.

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