Remember what it was like setting up your first website? As many did, I personally approached the whole thing like a kid building a lemonade stand. I put all of my effort into making the thing look as nice as possible, giving it a nifty name & padding it out with what I then considered decent content.
Following that, my feet were up, the sun was shining and I was waiting for passers by to come across my humble set up. Before I knew it, I’d shelled out for a nice shiny domain, been captured by an amazing hosting package, and spent countless hours writing for what would turn out to be a nonexistent audience. To say the least; it was disheartening.
Years later of course I’m well versed in the process of driving traffic via SEO, SEM & Other methods. In fact, most people (there are always a few slow ones) are well aware that a website is only a tiny portion of creating an online presence. Why is it then; that app developers & marketers seem to be approaching the game in the same way I approached web design all those years ago? As apps become as important as websites, App Store Optimization (ASO) follows alongside, and is now essential for anyone wishing to maximise the exposure of their prized apps. Let’s look at some basic features of app store optimization.
Designing an effective & useful app is only the first step… Obviously though, it’s a very important step. Without an app that your audience will actually enjoy and benefit from, it doesn’t matter an ounce how well you market it. In addition – app store ranking algorithms do actually take into consideration certain usage habits of people that download your app, such as the frequency of use, and the rate at which people delete your app. So to be succinct, make a decent app & you shall prosper. A few ideas that can help people stick with your app:
- Make frequent updates & additions
- Keep your app in the spotlight using social media outlets such as Facebook & Twitter.
- Encourage user feedback via these same channels (and actually respond to it!)
Keyword research & the proper usage of keywords are both very important when it comes to being found in the app store. Depending on the subject of your app, ensure that you spend time finding out what your target audience are actually searching for, and ensure you use those terms to represent your app. If you can – try and find some high volume, low competition keywords. Admittedly though, this is getting more difficult as the number of active apps steadily rises.
Having your main keyword in your app title is ideal. If it fits naturally – go for it. If not, don’t tack it on the end or cram it somewhere in the title that looks weird.When writing your app description, be sure to include a variety of keywords you’ve previously identified as either popular or relevant to your app. Again, be natural. Nobody likes a keyword stuffer, least of all the sophisticated algorithms of today.
Reviews and Downloads
It goes without saying that the more people download your app, the more exposure and popularity it’s going to get – but that’s seems like rather useless information when we’re here to figure out how to get downloads in the first place. Nobody likes a chicken vs egg debate so we’ll accept that downloads improve ratings and move on.
Reviews are also one of the most important factors in App store rankings. What you want are lots of reviews, and lots of positive ratings. There are many ways you can help these along, (some not so honourable) but we’ll try and keep things above board where possible. Some ideas:
Utilise notifications within the app, and offer an incentive if possible (such as coins in games or extra features). The more reviews you get, the better you rank. Simple.
Turn haters into supporters
If people give you a bad rating, hopefully they left a reason. If so, respond to them, fix their problem if possible, and wait. People love this kind of attention & they’ll usually re-rate in a positive manner if you show them a bit of love.
Enlist some help
Although it’s not an ideal way of doing things, don’t be afraid to ask your friends & family to get the ball rolling. In addition, there do seem be a lot of people purchasing reviews via various online freelancing sites. This isn’t something to be encouraged, but as the saying goes “if you can’t beat em…”
Track and Adjust
As with any performance based activity your ASO efforts should be constantly tracked and analysed. If you start to see success through your efforts – What can you scale? What can you learn from it? Never be satisfied with simply seeing improvements. An idea would be to set up a weekly or monthly report template which you can easily update to measure your progress.
There are many tools out there which allow tracking of app performance, which you can read more about in our upcoming blog posts.