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App Store Optimization Tips & Checklist (2018 Guide for iOS 11 & Android Apps)

App Store Optimization Tips & Checklist (2018 Guide for iOS 11 & Android Apps)

What is App Store Optimization (ASO)?

App Store Optimization (ASO) is the process of optimizing mobile apps for the purpose of achieving a higher rank in the app store search results and top charts rankings. Due to its similarities to search engine optimization (SEO) for websites, app store optimization is also referred to as App Store SEO, App Search Optimization, and Mobile App SEO.

Note: The tips below include the latest updates for iOS 11.

The Story behind this App Store Optimization Guide

When I launched my first app in the app stores a few years back, I thought the app was so awesome that it would get a lot of downloads.

Then I waited, and waited…

Well, in actuality, the opposite happened – there were only a few downloads each day.

Frustrated, I turned to paid advertisement campaigns.

But the cost-per-install of an advertising campaign can easily cost you US$1 to US$5.  In addition, you need at least 40k installs per day to get to the top 25.

One look at the prices got me like:

app store optimization tips free

However, all is not lost. Through countless hours of hard work and research, I learned many techniques to “get my app off the ground”.

For the sake of brevity, I will mention the strategy that was the most quintessential to my then-future success … app store optimization.

At last, I managed to increase the amount of the app downloads by 1478% in a month!

app store optimization 10x growth

Free Bonus:

You may wonder:

“This ASO thing sounds so useful, but how can I do it?”

To help you get started, here are three steps that guide you through the app store optimization process:

How to do App Store Optimization?

Step 1: Find the right app store keywords

Step 2: Put the app store keywords in the right places

Step 3: Convert visitors to users

Note: If you find the tips below useful, remember to get the summary checklist here.

 


How to do App Store Optimization?

app store optimization tips keyword ranking strategyStep 1: Find the right app store keywords

One of the biggest aspects of improving your app store search rankings is the choice of keywords. Thus, your app search optimization efforts should start from implementing the right app store keywords.

a) App Store Keyword Ideas

To start, try and come up with at least 50 app store keywords. Here are some great ASO tools to guide you through the hunt for quality keywords. These tools will provide you many other keywords to consider. And the best part of all – they’re all free!

app store keyword optimization

Remember that your app store keywords must be relevant to your apps. Don’t be tempted to use a popular, but irrelevant keyword to your apps. You want your apps to be found by users who will actually download and enjoy your apps.

App Store Optimization Tips:

App Store Review Keywords
Did you know the words in your app user reviews are indexed by the app store search engine?

This is why review mining is a very good method for getting app store keyword ideas. In addition, app reviews are an extension of the users’ minds and the words within the reviews are highly related to the things users would look for in an app. You will be surprised by the amount of keywords you might discover just by observing app reviews!

There are review analysis tools on the market you can use to identify keywords from app reviews, and this one uses Artificial Intelligence on your user reviews to identify what your users like and don’t like about your app.

Time-sensitive App Store Keywords
Let’s illustrate the idea by an example. If you had used the word, “Rio” (the city, not the movie) in conjunction with its related app store keywords during the 2016 Olympics, you would have definitely received greater exposure for your sports app.

 

b) Optimize Your App Store Keywords

Now with your initial set of app store keywords, it’s imperative you develop a strategy to filter and select the best keywords for your app. Here are some app store keyword tools that can help you with this optimization process. These tools provide the popularities (or search traffic) as well as difficulties (or chances) of your app store keywords. In general, carefully select around 25 app store keywords for the next release of your app.

App Store Optimization Tips:

App Store Keyword Optimization Strategy
For a new app, choose the app store keywords with low difficulty and reasonable popularity. They help your app gain the initial momentum. After gaining the initial momentum, start using app store keywords with higher popularity and reasonable difficulty. They help your app stack up more downloads. Work your way up gradually as your app gets more popular.

If you don’t know what difficulty and popularity you should use for your keywords, use this tool that makes the decision for you using AI.

Long-tail App Store Keywords
Use longer app store keyword phrases (i.e. long-tail keywords) to outrank the competition. For example, it is hard to outrank Zynga Poker by the competitive keyword “Poker” (high difficulty). However, you would have a better chance to outrank it by utilizing keyword phrases such as, “Poker Casino”. This is because “Poker Casino” is less competitive (lower difficulty).

Retiring Poor App Store Keywords
If you have already released your app with your target app store keywords, check your current app store keyword ranking. Keep those app store keywords that your app ranks within top 10, and replace the rest with new keywords in your next release.

5X Your App Store Keywords
You can multiply the character space to store your app store keywords using this trick. That means you can use up to 500 characters to store your keywords for getting a lot more app store search traffic!

 

app store optimization tips guideStep 2: Put the app store keywords in the right places

Now that you have chosen and optimized your app store keywords, you are ready for step 2 of app search optimization: putting the app store keywords in the right places.

There are a couple of metadata where you must fill in the text with your app store keywords.

a) App Name

Name your app in a creative and searchable fashion. Not only is it the first piece of the puzzle in telling your potential users what your app is, it also gets your app in the app store search results.

According to MobileDevHQ (now renamed to Tune), using keywords in your title can result in up to 10.3% increase of rankings.

app store optimization tips keywords titleImage courtesy of MobileDevHQ via John Rampton on Forbes

Both Google Play and iOS App Store search algorithms scan the app name for keywords when a user performs an app store search and give higher priority to apps with names that contain the search input. As such, it is a good idea to include a few keywords in your app name.

However, moderation is key. Don’t stuff every app store keyword you know into your title or your app will look spammy. You need to find a good balance between keywords and branding.

Also, iOS App Store limits the app name to a maximum of 30 characters in iOS 11, while Google Play Store sets the limit at 50 characters. Thus, efficiency and moderation is the name of the game.

App Store Optimization Tips:

App Name Format
Keep the actual brand name short and sweet. You can then append this short brand name with a few keywords, typically preceded by a dash or a semicolon.

Use this tool to analyze your app name and get the recommendations of best name format and length.

Here are some real examples:

app store seo increase app downloads google map
Google Maps – GPS Navigation

app store seo increase app downloads amazon icon
Amazon – Shopping made easy

app store seo increase app downloads ebay icon
eBay: Buy & Sell – Find Deals

app store seo increase app downloads pandora icon
Pandora – Free Music & Radio

app store seo increase app downloads weather channel icon
The Weather Channel: Forecast

It’s also important to use only URL-friendly characters in your title, particularly in the App Store, as the iOS uses the app name to create your app URL. Also, avoid any special characters in your app name, like the trademark or copyright symbol. They will cause iTunes to refer to your app’s numeric ID to scan for relevant app store keywords instead of your app name.

b) App subtitle (for iOS App Store only)

App subtitles were introduced in iOS 11, available in the Apple App Store only.

app store optimization subtitle

This field appears under your app name and is limited to 30 characters only.

It is ideal to include some keywords in this field to communicate the value of your app. More importantly, the contents of your subtitle will be indexed in app store search, so be sure to make good use of the app subtitle to cover important keywords.

c) App description (for Google Play Store)

Android developers must take care with the app description in the Google Play Store, as Google pulls keywords from your description to be your app store keywords. It’s important to incorporate keywords in the description in natural and sensible sentences.

Note that keywords in the above-the-fold section (the first few lines) carries more weight than the rest of the app description in Google Play Store search algorithm, so remember to put your main keywords in this section.

Also, Play Store allows rich formatting and emoji in your app description. Make good use of these features, as well as spacing, and bulleted lists to make your description stand out and easy-to-read.

d) App description (for iOS App Store)

The iOS App Store does not search for app store keywords in the app description, but that does not mean iOS developers can be lazy with it.

You should mention the unique values – the provided benefits of the app – in the first three lines so that visitors can catch them easily from the description preview. If possible, list out all the social proofs, awards, and honorable mentions your app has received. Try to compile the list of complete features in the description box for new visitors, and don’t forget to include your app’s social media links.

App Store Optimization Tips:

Short Description Text

According to StoreMaven, only an average of 5% users will click the “read more” button below the short description on Google Play.

This number is even lower on the iOS App Store, clocking in at only 2%.

This means that every character in the short description counts!

On mobile, you only have 252 characters for this short description.

app store seo increase app downloads app description

You don’t want to waste any space here. Avoid blank lines and interrupted sentences.

Tell users what makes your app unique and why they will love it. Add a strong call-to-action text to encourage visitors to install your app.

e) App Promotional Text (available only for iOS App Store)

Like the app subtitle field, the app promotional text was introduced in iOS 11. It is situated at the top of the description and is limited to only 170 characters.

Though the promotional text is NOT indexed in the app store search, you can change this text anytime without releasing a new version.

App Store Optimization Tips:

A/B Test on Promotional Text
You can use the promotional text to perform an A/B test of different messages quickly without publishing a version update. Once you’ve found the message that gives you the best conversion rate, you can then input the contents of the message into your app store keywords.

f) App Store Keyword field (available only for iOS App Store)

app store seo increase app downloads keywords

This metadata decides how your app gets discovered. Fill in the keyword metadata with your selected app store keywords. Follow the rules below and make each character count!

  • Use all 100 characters
  • Separate every keyword by a comma
  • Avoid space, articles, and prepositions
  • Either singular or plural works
  • Don’t repeat keyword
  • Use numbers instead of spelled out words
  • No need to include the words of your company name, app name, and app category names.

App Store Optimization Tips: 

App Store Keyword Optimizer
You can use the App Store SEO Grader to optimize your app store keyword metadata. The tool applies the above rules to your app store keywords and informs you on techniques to improve.

How To 5X Your iOS App Store Keywords
Do you want more app store keyword space for your iOS app? You can get up to 500 characters for your iOS app store keywords using this optimization tip. That’s FIVE TIMES more than before!

g) In-App Purchases

Both Apple and Google index the names of in-app purchases (IAP) in the app store search.

And in iOS 11, each IAP has its own display name, promotional image, and description. In-app purchases can also appear in app search results and be featured on the Today, Games, and Apps tabs. You can display a maximum of 20 IAPs on your product page.

To maximize your app store search exposure, be creative and include some app store keywords in the names of your IAP items.

ASO service - App Conversion RateStep 3: Convert visitors to users

After app store keyword optimization, optimizing the app store page is the next core step of ASO.

The first goal of app search optimization is to increase the app installs. To this end, the app detail page has to be persuasive enough to convert the app store page visitors to app users.

Here are a few things related to the app store page that developers have to look out for:

a) App Icon

A better icon can increase your downloads up to 560%!

To design a good icon, keep your design simple and eye-catching. Do not cram the small space with many items or words. You want people to remember the icon after the first impression, so simple designs without much noise is best. Also, make sure your icon will still look good when it is scaled down to the smallest size required by App Store/Google Play. It should also look good against light and dark backgrounds.

To get inspiration for designs, browse the top-rated apps in your category and Apple/Google’s top picks. Also, make sure your icon is different from your competitor’s to avoid brand confusion.  Contrasting colors, different shapes, or the addition of a frame can also help.

App Store Optimization Tips:

Branded vs Functional Icon
If your app is a functional app, use one object to describe your app. If your app has an established brand, use the logo to make your brand and your future products recognizable.

ASO - Branded App Icon Uber
Branded App Icon: Uber
app store optimization tips service - App Icon  7 Minute Workout
Functional App Icon: 
7 Minute Workout

Color Scheme
Use the science of colors in designing your icon. The color scheme should align with the message that you want your brand to convey.
app store optimization screenshot colors

b) Screenshots

According to StoreMaven, 60% of users won’t swipe past your first two screenshot images. Using your two best screenshots can increase your conversions by 25%!

To produce better screenshots, make sure each screenshot is telling a single message about your app. Display your strongest messages in the first two screenshots. Add a short caption text on a clean background into your screenshots and impress a positive impression in the viewers’ mind.

Avoid login, registrations, purchase forms, ads and even “Welcome” screen in your screenshots. Make the best use of the screenshots to tell your users why they should love your app.

App Store Optimization Tips:

Screenshot Orientation
Keep the screenshots vertical. The users can see more screenshots on the narrow screens when the screenshots are vertical.

app store seo increase app downloads clash of clans 1 app store seo increase app downloads clash of clans 2
Vertical screenshots of Clash of Clans

Screenshot Dimension (iOS only)
Not so long ago app publishers had to upload screenshots of various sizes matching different iPhone models. Now it’s possible to upload screenshots for the screen of iPhone 7 Plus (1242 x 2208 pixels) and iOS App Store will adjust screenshots to sizes of all other iPhone generations automatically.

Optimize Your App Screenshots
To optimize your app screenshots, use this tool to checks your screenshots’ dimensions, count, orientations, and their compatibility with various iOS devices, and lets you know how to improve in the screenshot department.

c) Preview Video

Making a video may be difficult but it can increase install rates by more than 23%, according to StoreMaven. Don’t forget to use a good poster frame (iOS)/feature graphic (Google Play).  This graphic has a big impact as to whether your visitors would watch your video.

App Store Optimization Tips:

App Marketing Video
Here are some of the essential elements of an effective app marketing video, as recommended by Apptamin, a company well-known for its app videos and trailers:

  • Use the first 5 seconds to grab the viewer’s attention
  • Focus on the best features, instead of all features
  • Your video should make sense even with the sound turned off
  • Include a call-to-action

Remember, 80% of users don’t watch past first 12 seconds of the video. It’s imperative you keep it concise and to the point. Avoid any fade-in and “welcome” type of message at the beginning of your video.

iOS 11 notes:

In the app store search result page of iOS 11, up to three App Preview videos and/or screenshots can appear, rather than just two as in iOS 10. Videos will always be displayed before screenshots and the first video will now play automatically, but the sound will be muted by default.

app store optimization ios 11 search results

d) Ratings & Reviews

Ratings and reviews have a great impact on your app downloads. Check out this infographic:

app rating infographic

App Store Optimization Tips

User Review Sentiment
Use this tool to get a user sentiment analysis of your app. It applies Artificial Intelligence on your user reviews to find out what your users like and don’t like about your app.

But how can you get more 5-star ratings for your app?

Delay asking for a rating until there’s a likely moment of constructive feedback. For instance, ask when the user completed a reservation, finished a mission in a game, etc. When the time comes, ask nicely, and don’t beg.

What does that mean? Circa News app is a perfect example. It has an astounding 90% 5-star ratings for every major version. Here is a flowchart of how it asks users if they would like to provide feedback:

app store optimization tips Service - Cicra News feedback flowchart
Image courtesy of Circa News

The key is to encourage satisfied users to leave positive reviews and deflect negative reviews by using a “send feedback” option.

For iOS App Developers:

Since the released of iOS 10.3, you can only ask a user for an app rating three times per year.

To make the most of these scarce rating opportunities, you should first identify your app lovers, and then ask them for ratings at the right time.

You may be wondering:

“How can I identify who are my app lovers?”

You can do so by utilizing simple surveys or dialogs.

For example, you can ask this famous “Net Promoter” question on a 10-point scale:

“How likely is it that you would recommend our app to a friend or colleague?”

aso tips nps survey

Those who respond with a score of 9 to 10 are your “Promoters”, or app lovers.

aso tips nps

And they are likely to give you 4 to 5-star ratings when you later ask them for app ratings at the right time.

To do this, you can either develop your own version of rating and feedback flow or simply use the tools like Apptentive.

App Store Optimization Tips:

The Right Paths To A Review
Direct only positive reviews to App Store, and negative reviews to support.

Plus, remember to reply to the app reviews and feedback! Only the ones who care about your app will spend the time to leave a comment. Show them you care about them as well! This is a great way to let the visitors know that the developer is active too.

For Google Play, there is a “Reply to a review” option in Developer Console for you to do just that.

app seo increase app downloads reply review

For iOS App Store, you can also do this since the iOS 10.3 release in March 2017.

On iTunes Connect, go to ‘My Apps > Choose your app > Activity > Ratings and Reviews’.

There you can see the “Reply” option in each of the reviews.

app store optimization tips reply to review

App Store Optimization Tips

How to Reply to Reviews

Try to reply to all feedback immediately following a major release of your app.

If you can’t respond to every review, try prioritizing reviews with the lowest star ratings or those mentioning technical issues with the most current version of your app.

When you release an app update that fixes issues users mentioned in older reviews, consider replying to the relevant reviews to let them know that your update addressed their concerns.

Once a user indicates that your response answered their question or fixed their technical issue, consider asking them to update their rating and review.

You can also foster deeper engagement by asking users for feedback on future app updates as part of your reply.

But what should I do if I already have many bad reviews?

Luckily, from iOS 11 onward, you can decide when to reset the average ratings and start over with a clean slate.

In iOS 10 or before, you can use these tips about how to sweep bad reviews under the rug. He also tells you how to give a positive first impression about your app by making good use of the five-star reviews.

e) App Size

Try to make your app smaller than 150MB for iOS app, or 100MB for Google Play app. It is because users cannot download apps that are bigger than these sizes using cellular service.

app-store-optimization-large-size-app

So for example, if a user on a bus or a train can’t download “now”, it is unlikely the user will write down the name and try again X hours later when they’re home.

Need some proof? This post from appfigures shows that ~98% of the top 100 free and ~62% of paid iOS and Android games can be downloaded are under 100 MB.

You don’t think 150 MB is enough for your app? Take a look at Clash of Clans. Its iOS version is just 85.3 MB.

App Store Optimization Tips:

Make Your App Smaller
To reduce the app size, consider compressing some of the graphical assets or make some of the contents downloadable after install.

Compare with the Top 100 Apps
Do you want to know how your app size compares to that of the top 100 apps? Use this App Store Optimization tool. It tells you whether your app size falls in the reasonable app size range of the top 100 apps.

f) Update Frequency

Statistics indicate a high correlation between high ratings and app update frequency. In fact, releasing regular updates has many benefits. It improves user loyalty and keeps an app top of mind because your app will show up in the updates list in the app stores. Apple and Google also like  to see app updates because they show you’re committed to the app and that it’s still being maintained.

How often should you update your app?  Check out this chart first:

app version update frequency chart

For these 25 top iOS apps, the average was about 30 days between updates. I’d recommend at least an update a month, and up to once a week.

Of course, you shouldn’t do an update just for the sake of doing an update. Your updates should always improve your app in some ways, either by bug fixings or enhancements.

g) App Localization

App localization gives you a larger audience to download your mobile app. But localizing the whole app to many languages can be a daunting task.

Before doing a full localization of your whole app, consider localizing your app listing first. It means translating your app name, app store keywords, screenshots, etc.

David Janner of MAKE APP Magazine conducted a localization experiment. In his experiment, he only localized the app name, the app store keywords, and sometimes the top line in the app description. After this simple localization, his app received a massive 767% increase in downloads.

Before localization, the downloads were mainly from within the US. After localization, his downloads looked like this:

ASO App Store Optimization Keyword Localization Keyword Translation
Image courtesy of MAKE APP Magazine

According to OneSky, only 31% of the world’s total app revenue came from the U.S., while 41% came from Asia, and 23% came from Europe. In particular, China has already surpassed the U.S. by both iOS app download and revenue.

If your app only has an English version for the U.S. market, you are leaving a lot of money on the table.

App Store Optimization Tips:

App Localization
Localize your app listing first to see how well your app performs in different countries. You can then decide if you should perform full localization of the whole app for the best performing countries.

Predict Your Next Successful Markets
This app analytics tool predicts where your next successful markets are based on ARPU (Average Revenue Per User), Conversion Rates, and more. With this information, you can proactively localize your app to grasp the market opportunities.

h) Conversion Rates

Track the number of impressions of your app preview, the number of app page visitors, and app installs. Identify the step where the most people leave.

For example, are there more than 90% users who didn’t make it to the app page after seeing the app preview? Are there more than 50% users who didn’t install your app after seeing the app page?

Once you have identified the step where people leave, make appropriate changes and see if any conversion improvements occur.

App Store Optimization Tips: 

Benchmark Your Conversion Rate
Use this App Store Optimization tool to benchmark your app’s conversion rate (CR). It compares your download CR with your app category’s median and best CR, and tells you what you should do.

More about Conversion Rates
Find out how to improve your conversion rates in this post about App Store SEO.

i) Apple’s Spotlight Search and Google’s Firebase App Indexing

aso ios spotlight searchFor iOS App Developers:

Apple’s Spotlight Search allows users to search for their iOS apps installed on their device. This feature helps app developers engage existing users more frequently.

For iOS app developers, enable Core Spotlight and NSUserActivity for your app. They improve your user engagement, which in turn improves your iOS app store search ranking.

In fact, 35% of top 20,000 apps on the iOS App Store have Spotlight search enabled. What are you waiting for?

aso google firebaseFor both iOS & Android App Developers:

Google’s Firebase App Indexing allows users to search the dynamic content in your app, and it works for both Android and iOS devices.

Firebase App Indexing not only helps improve your user engagement, it is also a user acquisition opportunity. It is because it allows users to search for your app contents no matter your app is installed or not.

If you have a content-rich app, you should enable Firebase App Indexing to make to most of these opportunities. See the official documentation here.

Putting It All Together

Here is a cool infographic produced by Y Media Labs. It sums up the most important points about app store optimization.

app store optimization tips strategies increase visibility

Also, if you wonder what are the differences between iOS App Store and Google Play on app search optimization, here is a great summary:

app store optimization tips apple vs google

After you have published the changes, keep an eye on the app store keyword rankings. The app store keyword rankings change right after you published the new version. The target is to make all your app store keyword rankings reach at least top 10. If your new keywords are too hard to rank, you might have to replace them with another set of app store keywords.

Repeat the three steps every three weeks or four because that’s roughly when big trends of app store keywords change. Don’t give up if the results of first few optimizations are not turning out well. App marketing takes time and app store optimization requires many observations to master.

Good luck in your journey!

Here’s What To Do Next…

Congratulations!

You’ve read to the end of this mega post (4,000+ words).

Give yourself a BIG hand!

Now it’s time to apply what you’ve learned.

app market opportunity

The first step?

Click here to get a free summary checklist of all app store optimization tips in this post, and apply them to your app.

The checklist also includes 2 bonus strategies and additional details that I didn’t have room to include in this post.

app store optimization checklist
[Get the ASO Checklist]


Sources:

  1. 10 Killer App Store Marketing Tips. StoreMaven
  2. 13 steps to perfecting your app store optimization. Moburst
  3. 14 Compelling Statistics About the Importance of Localization. OneSky
  4. 25 Top iOS Apps And Their Version Update Frequencies. Sensor Tower
  5. 3 Reasons Why You Should Launch Your Mobile App & Game In China Now. Meatti
  6. 7 Ways to Find New Keyword Idea. Smart App Marketer
  7. App Marketing Tools For Developers. Apptamin
  8. App Store Optimization – 11 Strategies To Make Your App Visible. Y Media Labs
  9. Google discloses how search for Google Play works for the first time. SocialTimes
  10. Have an App? The Step-by-Step Guide to Marketing It Free. Neil Patel
  11. How many downloads per day does one need to be a Top 10 Free iPhone app? Quora
  12. How Often Should I Update My App? Businesses Should Consider The Benefits Of Frequent App Updates. Business Insider
  13. How to Market Your Small Business Mobile App. Bizness Apps
  14. How to Gain Visibility Using ASO. Ryan Clutter on SEJ
  15. How to Select Name for Your Mobile Application. AppsDevPro
  16. Increasing The Number Of Keywords In App Store Optimization By Localization. Moritz Daan on Mobile Growth Stack
  17. iPhone App Localization: 7x More Downloads By Localizing App Keywords. MAKE APP Magazine
  18. iOS 11: The Ultimate App Store Guide. Storemaven
  19. Marketer’s Guide to App Store Marketing. SingleGrain
  20. More Than 25% of Top iOS Apps Will Soon Need to Change Their Names. Sensor Tower
  21. Optimize Your Google Play Store App Details Page. Apptamin
  22. Quit my full time corporate job. Built an iOS game. It became #1 in the App Store. Reddit
  23. Ratings Prompts. Apptentive
  24. Search Ads – App Store – Apple Developer. Apple
  25. The App Store Optimization Checklist: Top 10 Tips. Apptentive
  26. The Beginner’s Guide to App Store Optimization. John Rampton on Forbes
  27. The One Secret To Effective App Store Optimization. Meatti
  28. The Ultimate Guide to App Store Optimization. BuildFire
  29. The Ultimate Guide To App Store Optimization In 2015. AppFreak
  30. What’s a Good App Store Page Conversion Rate? SplitMetrics
  31. Why Facebook Is Blue: The Science of Colors in Marketing. Buffer
  32. Winning Mobile: First, You Have To Win App Store And Google Play Search. John Koetsier on Forbes
  33. Your Guide to App Store Optimization [Infographic]. Optimizely

Marcus is a tech entrepreneur & a father of 3 daughters.
He is the founder of Meatti, which helps mobile app developers increase app downloads using artificial intelligence.

Best ASO Tools for 2018

Best ASO Tools for 2018

Which ASO Tools are the Best?

When I started doing app store optimization (ASO), I was so overwhelmed by the numerous ASO tools available in the market…

Mobile ActionSensor TowerMeattiApp Radar, Priori Data, ASOdesk, Searchman, TheTool, Keyword Tool, AppKeywords.net, Apptentive, Appbot, AppFollow, App Annie, Apptopia, APPlyzer, SplitMetrics, StoreMaven, Raise Metrics, TestNest, SearchAdsHQ, SearchAds by Mobile Action, adAhead, you name it.

And as if things were not already complicated enough …

These ASO tools provide very different features, pricing, options, …

When deciding which ones to use, I was like…

aso tools


How to Choose the Best ASO Tools

Like many other things in life, there are no best tools for everybody.

But you can find the best tool for yourself based on your requirements.

If you are looking for your best ASO tools, check out my findings below.

I will first start with a categorization of ASO tools, and follow up with a big list of app store optimization tools.

You can then choose your ASO tools based on the category and the details of individual tools.

Free Bonus:


The Six Types of ASO Tools

App store optimization covers many areas, and ASO tools come in many flavors and packages. In general, they can be grouped into the following categories:

1) App Keyword Optimization Tools

ASO tools of this type help you optimize your app keywords to increase your app search traffic.

The app keyword related features include app keyword suggestions, keyword optimization, keyword tracking, etc.

ASO Tools - Mobile Action

ASO tools like Mobile Action, Meatti, Sensor TowerApp Radar, Priori Data, ASOdesk, Searchman, TheTool, Keyword Tool, and AppKeywords.net are some good examples.

 

2) App Product Page Optimization Tools

There’s more to ASO than just keyword optimization.

Some ASO tools like AppTweak and Meatti provide ASO Report that analyzes your app product page, aka app listing.

Based on the analysis, they provide improvement suggestions of your app name, screenshots, localization, pricing, compatibility, etc.

The goal is to optimize your product page, which in turn improves your download conversion rate.

 

3) Review & Sentiment Analysis Tools

ASO tools of this type perform optimization of your user reviews and ratings.

Tools like AppbotApptentive, Mobile ActionMeatti and TheTool analyze your user ratings and review contents, and tell you what your users like and don’t like.

With this kind of sentiment analysis, you can then refine your product development roadmap to earn better ratings.

aso tools - appbot

For example, if you find out a lot of users are complaining about a specific issue, you can prioritize your effort to fix that problem, and tell the complaining users about the solution.

Many users will appreciate your positive reaction to their comments, and give you better ratings.

Related to this, AppFollow provides features that help you reply all comments in App Store and Play Store efficiently.

On the other hand, ASO tools like Apptentive help you increase the chance of getting 5-star reviews. It optimizes your app’s rating prompt process by deciding who, when, and how to present your rating prompts.

4) A/B Testing Tools

A/B testing enables you to test your mobile app just like a science project. It helps you test two or more app product pages and determine which one gives you a better download conversion rate.

ASO Tools - Splitmetrics

Tools like Splitmetrics, Store MavenTestNest, and RaiseMetrics are some good A/B testing tools for your app product page.

5) Search Ads Optimization Tools

These ASO tools help you optimize your advertising campaign on Apple Search Ads. They provide automation features and competitor data that help you run ad campaigns more effectively.

ASO tools - Searchadshq

Some tools also integrate with app attribution partners (Adjust, AppsFlyer, Kochava, TUNE, etc.) and allows you to optimize campaigns not only for installs, but also for in-app events.

ASO tools like SearchAdsHQSearchAds by Mobile Action, and adAhead are some good examples.

6) App Store Intelligence Tools

ASO tools of this type provide estimates of competitor performance and app market trends.

For instance, they offer estimates on data on competitor apps. These estimates include app downloads, revenue, advertising spend trends, market penetrations, etc.

ASO Tools - appannie

The information can be useful to app product managers and marketing managers for doing competitive analysis and marketing planning.

App Annie, Mobile Action, Sensor TowerPriori Data, Apptopia, and APPlyzer are ASO tools that offer app store intelligence.


Top ASO Tools

Listed below are the top ASO tools in 2018. The list is organized according to the types of ASO tools discussed above.

To make the list more authentic, I personally reached out to everyone of them and collect their views of how their tools can help their users.

And I’m fortunate enough to receive some great answers!

Lastly, I’ve prepared an one-page comparison spreadsheet with all the ASO tools.

It is a printable version, and you can easily sort the ASO tools by type, price, availability of free version, etc.

1) App Keyword Optimization Tools

2) Review & Sentiment Analysis Tools

3) A/B Testing Tools

4) Search Ads Optimization Tools

5) App Store Intelligence Tools

A Side-by-Side Comparison of ASO Tools


meatti logo
Boost App Downloads using Artificial Intelligence

Meatti

marcus kay

Meatti helps mobile app developers boost app downloads without the need of any ASO experience. Our tool uses artificial intelligence (AI) to perform the jobs of an ASO consultant, and provides app developers with the best keyword and optimization suggestions week after week.

Marcus Kay, CEO

 

ASO Tools - Meatti

ASO Tool - Quick Facts:

  • Free version / trial available? Yes
  • Premium plan starts at: $19/Month

Click here to get a free comparison spreadsheet of all top ASO tools >>

 

mobileaction_logo
Mobile Data Intelligence & Actionable Insights

Mobile Action

aso tools - Aykut Karaalioglu

Mobile Action is an intuitive App Store Optimization tool and a data company providing actionable insights for their users. It provides its users with the most accurate data possible but that’s what every ASO tool claims to do. In fact the difference of Mobile Action is its dedicated customer success team that provides instant support across the entire globe 24/7. Mobile Action got into business as a ASO agency so we know a great deal of stuff regarding App Store Optimization and we build our tools from the perspective of an ASO specialist.

Aykut Karaalioglu, CEO

 

ASO Tools - Mobile Action

ASO Tool - Quick Facts:

  • Free version / trial available? Yes
  • Premium plan starts at: $69/Month

Click here to get a free comparison spreadsheet of all top ASO tools >>

 


sensor tower logo
Data That Drives App Growth

Sensor Tower

Randy Nelson Sensor Tower

Sensor Tower provides mobile developers with powerful market intelligence and App Store Optimization solutions that enable them to easily surface competitive insights and achieve maximum organic growth on the App Store and Google Play.

Randy Nelson, Head of Mobile Insights

 

ASO Tools - Sensor Tower

ASO Tool - Quick Facts:

  • Free version / trial available? Yes
  • Premium plan starts at: $79/Month

Click here to get a free comparison spreadsheet of all top ASO tools >>

 


App Radar
App Store Optimization made easy

App Radar

Thomas Kriebernegg
App Radar is an search engine optimization tool that helps app developers optimizing their apps being more visible within the app stores. With a direct integration into iTunes Connect & Google Play Console, App Radar makes the process of App Store Optimization easy like never before.
Thomas Kriebernegg, CEO

 

ASO Tools - App Radar

ASO Tool - Quick Facts:

  • Free version / trial available? Yes
  • Premium plan starts at: $150/Month

Click here to get a free comparison spreadsheet of all top ASO tools >>

 


priori_data_logo
Win Your Mobile Market

Priori Data

Priori Data App Intelligence enables you to research, benchmark, and track your competition all in one place.
Create individual or team viewable watchlists and comparisons of apps in your competitive set, and track their rank, download, revenue, DAU, MAU, ARPDAU and retention performance on a daily basis.
Set up smart alerts to get notified of any major shifts, and receive daily and weekly reports so that you never lose track of the big picture.

 

ASO Tools - PrioriData

ASO Tool - Quick Facts:

  • Free version / trial available? No
  • Premium plan starts at: $99/Month

Click here to get a free comparison spreadsheet of all top ASO tools >>

 


ASO desk
Boost your organic downloads with Data-Driven Marketing Technologies

ASOdesk

Sergey Sharov asodesk
Our dream is to make our customers more and more successful.
App Store Optimization is a never-ending optimization process that can bring millions of free installs. Our clients have many opportunities to make their business more effective. Just in a couple of clicks our product is available for you and ready to help you to find new real users.
Sergey Sharov, CEO

aso desk screenshot

ASO Tool - Quick Facts:

  • Free version / trial available? Yes
  • Premium plan starts at: $41.6/Month

Click here to get a free comparison spreadsheet of all top ASO tools >>

 


SearchMan logo
App Data Solutions to accelerate Ecosystem success

Searchman

SearchMan is the leading App Analytics Data & Technology company with over 100 000 companies actively using our solutions to help them succeed in the App economy. SearchMan’s parent company, AppGrooves was founded in San Francisco Bay Area by former executives of Rakuten, AdMob, Yahoo and many other startups. Our investors include 500 Startups, Digital Garage, and several internet luminaries whose experience includes Disney, Google, Yahoo, Gree, Ricoh, Hatena, and Rakuten.

searchman screenshot

ASO Tool - Quick Facts:

  • Free version / trial available? Yes
  • Premium plan starts at: $25/Month

Click here to get a free comparison spreadsheet of all top ASO tools >>


thetool logo
Performance-Based Mobile App Marketing & ASO tool

TheTool

aso tools - daniel peris
TheTool helps developers and marketers to track and optimize their App Store Optimization strategy in 91 countries or globally, carry out keyword research, benchmark ASO KPIs with competitors, understand the impact of marketing actions on installs, conversion rate and revenue; and, ultimately, grow the organic installs of their apps and games. Basically we help people make more money with apps.
Daniel Peris, CEO

 

the tool screenshot

ASO Tool - Quick Facts:

  • Free version / trial available? Yes
  • Premium plan starts at: €29 /Month

Click here to get a free comparison spreadsheet of all top ASO tools >>

 

Keyword tool logo
Find Great Keywords Using Autocomplete

Keyword Tool

aso tools -khai

KeywordTool.io helps marketers and app creators discover what app store users are looking for by generating keyword suggestions using the app store’s autocomplete.

A simple search can yield hundreds of hidden keywords for you to optimize your app towards.

Khai Yong Ng, Head of Growth

 

Keyword Tool screenshot

ASO Tool - Quick Facts:

  • Free version / trial available? Yes
  • Premium plan starts at: $48 /Month

Click here to get a free comparison spreadsheet of all top ASO tools >>

 

AppKeywords.net
Sneak into Google Play's auto-suggest feature

AppKeywords.net

Sebastian Knopp appkeyword.net

When I launched AppKeywords.net back in 2015 it was really hard to get proper data on keywords. Sure you had a lot tools giving you some kind of estimates but you could not be really sure if the data is accurate. Especially when you were researching non-english keywords.

Sebastian Knopp, Growth and Product Strategy

AppKeywords net screenshot

ASO Tool - Quick Facts:

  • Free version / trial available? Yes
  • Premium plan starts at: Free

Click here to get a free comparison spreadsheet of all top ASO tools >>

Apptentive Logo
Build a brand your customers love

Apptentive

Apptentive Rob Ganguly

Using proactive mobile communication tools, Apptentive empowers companies to better understand more of their customers—at scale—in order to drive app downloads, create seamless customer experiences, and validate product roadmaps. The product gives brands the opportunity to listen to, engage with, and retain their customers through intelligently timed surveys, messages, and prompts. They power millions of customer interactions every month for companies including Buffalo Wild Wings, eBay, Philips, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Zillow.

Robi Ganguly, CEO

 

Apptentive Screenshot

ASO Tool - Quick Facts:

  • Free version / trial available? Yes
  • Premium plan starts at: Custom Plan

Click here to get a free comparison spreadsheet of all top ASO tools >>

 

appbot logo
App review & ratings analysis for mobile teams

Appbot

Claire McGregor Appbot
Appbot helps developers understand how customers feel about their apps, by monitoring and analyzing their app reviews and ratings across all major platforms. Appbot applies proprietary sentiment analysis and clustering techniques to help developers understand current issues, and identify quick wins.
Claire Mcgregor, Co-founder

 

appbot screenshot

ASO Tool - Quick Facts:

  • Free version / trial available? Yes
  • Premium plan starts at: $39 /Month

Click here to get a free comparison spreadsheet of all top ASO tools >>

 

Appfollow logo
Reviews & Updates Monitor for App Store & Google Play

AppFollow

Anatoly Sharifulin AppFollow

AppFollow is created to support everyone (this year we will expand this support even further) involved in the process of development and growth of mobile apps and games. We support everyone whether it is a developer, CEO, customer support or product manager, ASO expert or publisher.

Anatoly Sharifulin, CEO & Co-founder

 

ASO Tools - AppFollow

ASO Tool - Quick Facts:

  • Free version / trial available? Yes
  • Premium plan starts at: Custom Plan

Click here to get a free comparison spreadsheet of all top ASO tools >>

 

 

appannie logo
Achieve success through apps

App Annie

The industry’s first app data platform integrates your app data with our comprehensive market data, cutting-edge data science, deep data foundation and engaging data experience. Through our platform, you can get immediate access to all our latest technology innovations and data sets, share the right data with the right people at the right time, pinpoint prime opportunities — and most crucially — create winning strategies.

 

ASO Tools - App Annie

ASO Tool - Quick Facts:

  • Free version / trial available? Yes
  • Premium plan starts at: $15,000+/Year (source: TechCrunch)

Click here to get a free comparison spreadsheet of all top ASO tools >>

 

 


Apptopia Logo
Grow Your App Business

Apptopia

Adam Blacker Apptopia

Apptopia provides competitive intelligence for the mobile app economy. Through intuitive tools, we’re able to display actionable data. This means user acquisition managers, product teams, SDK sales teams, growth marketers and more can make smarter decisions faster. Data we provide includes downloads, revenue, usage, retention, rank, SDK data, audience intelligence, advertising intelligence and more.

Adam Blacker, Communications Lead and Brand Ambassador

ASO Tools - Apptopia

ASO Tool - Quick Facts:

  • Free version / trial available? Yes
  • Premium plan starts at: $55 /Month

Click here to get a free comparison spreadsheet of all top ASO tools >>

 

applyzer logo
App Market Analysis & App Store Optimization

APPlyzer

Applyzer is a leading app industry analysis service providing market insights since 2009. Our service offers reliable data to a wide range of customers in the app business – From actionable data for publishers to relevant information for tech investors.

ASO Tools - APPlyzer

ASO Tool - Quick Facts:

  • Free version / trial available? Yes
  • Premium plan starts at: €10 /Month

Click here to get a free comparison spreadsheet of all top ASO tools >>

 


Optimize Your App Conversion Rates on the App Store and Google Play with A/B Testing

SplitMetrics

aso tools splitmetrics alexandra lamachenka
With SplitMetrics, such app publishers as Rovio, Halfbrick, Wargaming, ZeptoLab, Pocket Gems optimize app store conversions by A/B testing app page elements: from icons and screenshots to subtitles, app previews, etc.
To help publishers get the most out of their app marketing efforts, SplitMetrics shares industry benchmarks and a great volume of educational materials, such as an AppGrowthLab course.
Alexandra Lamachenka, Head of Marketing

 

ASO Tool - Quick Facts:

  • Free version / trial available? Yes
  • Premium plan starts at: $4,999 /Year

Click here to get a free comparison spreadsheet of all top ASO tools >>

 

Storemaven logo
Increase app store conversion rates & pay less for every install

StoreMaven

StoreMaven helps more than 60% of top-grossing app publishers optimize their app store product pages to increase install rates and reduce the cost of user acquisition. Companies like Google, Uber, Facebook and Zynga rely on StoreMaven‘s testing and analytics platform to define their ASO and global mobile marketing strategies.

Gad Maor, CEO

 

ASO Tool - Quick Facts:

  • Free version / trial available? No
  • Premium plan starts at: Custom Plan

Click here to get a free comparison spreadsheet of all top ASO tools >>

 

Raise Metrics logo
Raise your App Store & Google Play install rates with A/B testing

RaiseMetrics

Insight Is Everything. RaiseMetrics provides a visual understanding of how your audience interacts with your app page, and what you can do to maximize conversions.

ASO Tools - Raisemetrics

ASO Tool - Quick Facts:

  • Free version / trial available? Yes
  • Premium plan starts at: $99 /Month

Click here to get a free comparison spreadsheet of all top ASO tools >>

 

TestNest Logo
Best Self-serve App Store and Google Play AB Testing Platform

TestNest

Best self-serve app store and google play ab testing platform.
Unoptimized App Store pages may increase CPIs by up to 40%. A/B test your app listing pages and get more quality users for less. Learn from user behavior analysis make optimized data-driven decisions.

ASO Tools - TestNest

ASO Tool - Quick Facts:

  • Free version / trial available? Yes
  • Premium plan starts at: $149 /Month

Click here to get a free comparison spreadsheet of all top ASO tools >>

 


Searchad HQ logo
Optimize Apple App Store Ads for Revenue, not just downloads

SearchAdsHQ

aso tools splitmetrics alexandra lamachenka
SearchAdsHQ helps app publishers run ROI-driven Apple Search Ads campaigns.
To make it possible, the platform connects Apple Search Ads with app attribution partners (Adjust, AppsFlyer, Kochava, TUNE, etc.) and allows to optimize campaigns not only for installs, but for in-app events: in-app purchases, subscriptions, conversions.
Alexandra Lamachenka, Head of Marketing

 

ASO Tools - Search Ads HQ

ASO Tool - Quick Facts:

  • Free version / trial available? Yes
  • Premium plan starts at: Custom Plan

Click here to get a free comparison spreadsheet of all top ASO tools >>

 

SearchAds logo
Mobile Action provides awesome tools to make the most of your Search Ads and keep up with the competition.

SearchAds by Mobile Action

aso tools - Aykut Karaalioglu

Searchads.com was created specifically for Apple Search Ads and as Apple Search Ads is a rather new service it tries to cover the shortcomings of Apple Search Ads by providing competitor data, more reactive notifications and automation features that allows users to get the most out of the time and resources they have spent in Apple Search Ads.

Aykut Karaalioglu, CEO

 

ASO Tools - Search Ads by Mobile Action

ASO Tool - Quick Facts:

  • Free version / trial available? No
  • Premium plan starts at: Custom Plan

Click here to get a free comparison spreadsheet of all top ASO tools >>

 


Searchads HQ Logo
Optimize Apple App Store Ads for Revenue, not just downloads

adAhead

aso tools - yury listapad

adAhead is an Apple Search Ads Optimization Platform that is fully self-managed by mobile app marketers. It provides GEO reports, COHORT analysis, keyword reports and charts, powerful rule manager tool, keyword rank monitoring, custom ad scheduler, bulk edit, duplication option for campaigns/ad groups, and multi account dashboard. adAhead also provides fully featured live demo for new visitors.

Yury Listapad, CEO

 

ASO Tools - adAhead

ASO Tool - Quick Facts:

  • Free version / trial available? Yes
  • Premium plan starts at: 2.5% of ad spend

Click here to get a free comparison spreadsheet of all top ASO tools >>

 

A Side-by-Side Comparison of ASO Tools

The list of ASO tools here is really long.

To make it easier to do comparison, I've prepared an one-page comparison spreadsheet with all the ASO tools for you.

It is a printable version, and you can easily sort the ASO tools by type, price, availability of free version, etc.

aso tool comparison spreadsheet

Click here to get a free comparison spreadsheet of all top ASO tools >>

The spreadsheet also includes 2 bonus tools and additional details that I didn’t have room to include in this post.


app store optimization checklist
[ Get the ASO Tool Spreadsheet Now > ]

Marcus is a tech entrepreneur & a father of 3 daughters.
He is the founder of Meatti, which helps mobile app developers increase app downloads using artificial intelligence.

40 App Store SEO Tips to Boost App Downloads (2018 Guide & Checklist for iOS 11 & Android Apps)

40 App Store SEO Tips to Boost App Downloads (2018 Guide & Checklist for iOS 11 & Android Apps)

Do you want to boost your mobile app downloads for free? Read these 40 App Store SEO tips!

Note: the tips below include the latest updates for iOS 11.

You’ve put in a lot of hard work to make a great mobile app, and published it in the app stores.

Hooray!

Now what?

It’s time to get people to download and use your app.

After all, if you don’t care about it, who will?

app store seo increase app downloads no one cares

To help you get started, I’ve put together a list of 40 App Store SEO tips to boost app downloads.

But wait, what is App Store SEO?

App Store Search Engine Optimization (App Store SEO)
App Store SEO is the process of optimizing mobile apps for the purpose of achieving a higher rank in the app store search results and top charts rankings. Due to its similarities to search engine optimization (SEO) for websites, App Store SEO is also referred to as App Store Optimization (ASO), App Search Optimization, and Mobile App SEO.

You may still be wondering:

“It sounds interesting, but does App Store SEO really work?”

From our case study,  App Store SEO helped boost app downloads by 1478% in less than a month!

app store optimization 10x growth

Free Bonus:

The best part?

You don’t need to spend a penny to do most of these tips!

Okay, let’s dive right in!

  1. App Name & Keywords
  2. App Name Format
  3. App Name Length
  4. App Subtitle
  5. App Description & Keywords
  6. App Description – The First Few Sentences
  7. App Description – The Expanded Description
  8. App Description Length
  9. App Promotional Text
  10. App Icon
  11. App Store Keywords – Getting Keyword Ideas
  12. App Store Keywords – Selecting Your Keywords
  13. App Store Keyword Optimization
  14. In-App Purchases
  15. App Screenshots
  16. App Preview Video
  17. App Store Ratings – The Impact
  18. App Store Ratings – Getting Five-Star Ratings
  19. App Store Ratings – Reply To Reviews
  20. App Store Ratings – One-Star Reviews
  21. App Localization Strategy
  22. App Localization – Best Countries For Your App
  23. App Localization – Top Countries By Revenue
  24. App Indexing – Spotlight Search
  25. App Indexing – Firebase Indexing
  26. App Conversion Rates – The Impact
  27. App Conversion Rates – Page View CR
  28. App Conversion Rates – Download CR
  29. App Size
  30. App Pricing – Free with In-App Purchases
  31. App Pricing – Free with Ads
  32. App Pricing – Paid Apps
  33. App Compatibility – iMessage
  34. App Compatibility – Apple Watch
  35. App Compatibility – Family Sharing
  36. App Compatibility – Game Center
  37. App Updates
  38. iOS App Store vs. Google Play
  39. Putting It All Together
  40. Here’s What To Do Next

Note: If you find the tips below useful, remember to get the summary checklist here.

 

App Name & Keywords

According to research by MobileDevHQ (now renamed Tune), using keywords in your title can result in up to a 10.3% boost in rankings.

app store seo keywords titleImage courtesy of MobileDevHQ via John Rampton on Forbes

Both Google and Apple’s search algorithms scan the app name for keywords when a user performs a keyword search in the app markets.

And both platforms give quite high priorities to apps with app names that contain the search input.

So it is a good idea to include a few keywords in your app name as an App Store SEO practice.

App Store SEO Tips:

To come up with the keywords, use these tools (they are free):

app store keyword optimization

But don’t stuff every keyword into your title or your app will look spammy. You need to find a good balance between keywords and branding. But how? Read on!

[Back]

App Name Format

Keep the actual brand name short and sweet. You can then append this short brand name with a few keywords, typically preceded by a dash or a semicolon.

App Store SEO Tips:

App Name Format
Use the format “Brand Name – Keywords” or “Brand Name: Keywords” to include relevant keywords in your name.

Use this tool to analyze your app name and get the recommendations of best name format and length.

Here are some real examples:

app store seo increase app downloads google map
Google Maps – GPS Navigation

app store seo increase app downloads amazon icon
Amazon – Shopping made easy

app store seo increase app downloads ebay icon
eBay: Buy & Sell – Find Deals

app store seo increase app downloads pandora icon
Pandora – Free Music & Radio

app store seo increase app downloads weather channel icon
The Weather Channel: Forecast

It’s also important to use only URL-friendly characters in your title, particularly in the App Store. It is because Apple uses the app name to create your app URL. Also, avoid any special characters in your app name, like the trademark or copyright symbol. They will cause iTunes to refer to your app’s numeric ID to scan for relevant keywords instead of your app name.

[Back]

App Name Length

iOS App Store: Apple limits the app name to a maximum of 30 characters in iOS 11. So you have to make good use of every character in your app name.

App Store SEO Tips:

Brand Name: Use 23 characters or less for optimal presentation on every device.

Total Length: To make the most of the 30 character limit, use more than 20 characters to include a few relevant app store keywords after your brand name.

Google Play Store: App name in Google Play Store is limited to 50 characters. Again, use a short and sweet brand name. If you also have an iOS version, use a consistent brand name, and use the remaining space to include a few app store keywords to boost your search exposure.

[Back]

App Subtitle (introduced in iOS 11)

iOS App Store: This field is introduced in iOS 11 and available in the iOS App Store only.

app store optimization subtitle

App subtitle appears under your app name, and is limited to 30 characters only.

It is ideal to include some keywords in this field to communicate the value of your app. More importantly, the keywords in your subtitle will be indexed in app store search. So be sure to make good use of this precious field to cover some important keywords.

[Back]

App Description & Keywords

iOS App Store: iOS App Store does not search for keywords in the app description, but that does not mean iOS developers can be lazy with it. Read the sections below for more tips about App Description.

Google Play Store: you need to be careful with the app description. It is because Google pulls keywords from your description to be your app’s keywords. Incorporate your app store keywords in the description in natural and sensible sentences. Note that keywords in the above-the-fold section (the first few lines) carries more weight than the rest of the description copy in Google’s ranking algorithm, so remember to put your main keywords in this section. And this leads us to the next tip below…

[Back]

App Description – The First Few Sentences

According to StoreMaven, only an average of 5% users will click the “read more” button below the short description on Google Play.

This number is further down to only 2% on Apple’s App Store.

So every character in the short description counts!

On mobile, you only have 252 characters for this short description.

 

app store seo increase app downloads app description

You don’t want to waste any space here. Make it concise and attention-grabbing. Avoid blank lines and interrupted sentences.

Tell users what makes your app unique and why they will love it. Focus on your app’s values, instead of features. And don’t forget to include a call-to-action text to get the users excited!

[Back]

App Description – The Expanded Description

Highlight the features of your app here. Use spacing and bulleted lists to make it easy to read. If possible, also list out all the social proofs, awards, and honorable mentions your app has received. Don’t forget to include your app’s social media links too.

Also, Google Play Store allows rich formatting and emoji in your app description. Make good use of these to make your description organized and stand out from the crowd.

Communicate in the tone of your brand. Use terminology your target audience will appreciate and understand.

[Back]

App Description Length

We analyzed the description length of the top 100 apps. Here are some findings:

  • 90% of top 100 apps use more than 589 characters
  • 90% of top 100 apps use less than 3385 characters.

Though app description length doesn’t have a very big impact compared to other factors, it is still a good idea to keep your length within this range.

App Store SEO Tips:

Benchmark with the Top 100 Apps
Do you want to know the latest statistics of description length? Just use this App Store SEO tool. The tool benchmarks your app with the top 100 apps and tells you how to improve.

[Back]

App Promotional Text (introduced in iOS 11)

iOS App Store: This field is introduced in iOS 11 and available in the iOS App Store only.

Your app’s promotional text appears at the top of the description and is limited to 170 characters.

Though the promotional text is NOT indexed in the app store search, the good news is you can change this text anytime without releasing a new version.

App Store SEO Tips:

A/B Test on Promotional Text
You can use this promotional text to do A/B test of different messages quickly without doing a version update. Once you’ve found the message that gives you the best conversion rate, you can then turn the contents of the message into your app store keywords.

[Back]

App Icon

A better icon can boost your downloads up to 560%!

To design a good icon, keep your design simple and eye-catchy. Do not cram the small space with many items or words. You want people to remember the icon after the first impression. Also, make sure your icon will still look good when it is scaled down to the smallest size required by App Store / Google Play.  It should also look good against light and dark background.

To get more design inspirations, browse the top-rated apps in your category and Apple/Google’s top picks. Also, make sure your icon is different from your competitor’s to avoid brand confusion. Contrasting colors, different shapes or adding a frame can also help.

App Store SEO Tips:

Branded vs Functional Icon
If your app has an established brand, use the logo to make your brand and your future products recognizable. If your app is a functional app, use one object to describe your app.

app store seo increase app downloads facebook iconBranded App Icon – facebook

app store seo increase app downloads whatsapp iconFunctional App Icon – Whatsapp Messager

[Back]

App Store Keywords – Getting Keyword Ideas

To begin with, try and come up with at least 50 keywords. Here are some great ASO tools that help you with the app store keyword ideas. These tools will then give you many keyword ideas to consider. And they are all free!

app store keyword optimization

Remember that your keywords must be relevant to your app. Don’t be tempted to use a keyword just because it is popular, but not relevant to your app. You want your app to be found by users who will really download and enjoy your app.

App Store SEO Tips

Time-sensitive Keywords
Let’s illustrate the idea by an example: using “Rio” and its related keywords during the Olympics 2016 would greatly help the exposure of your sports apps. Your app would also have a better chance to get into the app store’s feature lists too.

Review Keywords
Did you know the words in your app user reviews are indexed by the app store search engine?

That is why review analysis is a very good way for getting app store keyword ideas. Your app reviews speak your users’ mind. And the words are highly related to how they would search for your app. Just by looking at your review keywords, you will be surprised to find out the keyword ideas that you have never thought of before.

There are some review analysis tools in the market. And this one uses Artificial Intelligence on your user reviews to find out what your users like and don’t like about your app.

[Back]

App Store Keywords – Selecting Your Keywords

With your initial set of app store keywords, you have to pick a strategy on how to optimize the right keywords. There are some keyword research tools that help you with this app store keyword optimization process. These tools provide the popularities (or search traffic) as well as difficulties (or chances) of your app store keywords. In general, carefully select around 25 app store keywords for the next release of your app.

App Store SEO Tips:

App Store Keyword Optimization Strategy
For a new app, choose the app store keywords with low difficulty and reasonable popularity. They help your app gain the initial momentum. After gaining the initial momentum, start using app store keywords with higher popularity and reasonable difficulty. They help your app stack up more downloads. Work your way up gradually as your app gets more popular.

If you don’t know what difficulty and popularity you should use for your keywords, use this tool that makes the decision for you using AI.

Long-tail App Store Keywords
Use longer keyword phrases (aka long-tail keywords) to outrank the competition. For example, it is hard to outrank Zynga Poker by the competitive keyword “Poker” (high difficulty). But you have a better chance to outrank it by the keyword phrase “Poker Casino”. It is because “Poker Casino” is less competitive (lower difficulty).

5X Your App Store Keywords
You can multiply the character space to store your app store keywords using this trick. That means you can use up to 500 characters to store your keywords for getting a lot more app store search traffic!

Retiring Poor App Store Keywords
If you have already released your app with your target keywords, check your current app ranking of these keywords. Keep those keywords that your app ranks within top 10, and replace the rest with new keywords in your next release.

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App Store Keyword Optimization

Now that you have chosen the keywords, you are ready to use them for your app.

app store seo increase app downloads keywords

For iOS developers: Fill in the keyword metadata with your selected app store keywords. This metadata decides how your app gets discovered. Follow the rules below and make every character counts!

  • Use all 100 characters
  • Separate every keyword by a comma
  • Avoid space, articles and prepositions
  • Use singular OR plural, the easier one to rank for
  • Don’t repeat keyword
  • Use numbers instead of spelled out words
  • No need to include the words in your company name, app name and app category names.

App Store SEO Tips: 

App Store Keyword Optimizer
You can use the App Store SEO Grader to optimize your app keyword metadata. The tool applies the above rules to your app keywords and tells you how to improve.

How To 5X Your iOS App Store Keywords
Do you want more keyword space for your iOS app? You can get up to 500 characters for your iOS app store keywords using this optimization tip. That is FIVE TIMES more!

For Android developers: Google Play doesn’t have the keyword metadata. Instead, Google pulls keywords from your description to be your app store keywords. Incorporate your keywords in the description in natural and sensible sentences. Note that keywords in the above-the-fold section (the first few lines) carries more weight than the rest of the description copy in Google’s ranking algorithm, so remember to put your main app store keywords in this section.

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In-App Purchases

Both Apple and Google index the names of in-app purchases (IAP) in the app store search.

And in iOS 11, each IAP has its own display name, promotional image, and description. In-app purchases can also appear in search results and be featured on the Today, Games, and Apps tabs. You can display a maximum of 20 IAPs on your product page.

To maximize your search exposure, be creative and include some app store keywords in the names of your IAP items.

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 App Screenshots

According to StoreMaven, 60% of users won’t swipe past your first two screenshot images. A better version of your first two screenshots can boost your conversions by 25%!

To make great screenshots, make sure each screenshot is telling a single message about your app. Show your strongest messages in the first two screenshots. The best apps use all five screenshot slots to impress their users, and you should do the same.

Adding short caption texts on your screenshots can help, but make sure they are on a clean background. And try to create a positive impression in the viewers’ mind at all times.

Avoid login, registrations, purchase forms, ads and even “Welcome” screen in your screenshots. Make the best use of the screenshots to tell your users why they should love your app.

App Store SEO Tips:

Vertical Screenshots
Keep the screenshots vertical. The users can see more screenshots on the narrow screens when the screenshots are vertical.

app store seo increase app downloads clash of clans 1 app store seo increase app downloads clash of clans 2
Vertical screenshots of Clash of Clans

app store seo increase app downloads uber1 app store seo increase app downloads uber2
Vertical screenshots of Uber

 

App Screenshot Checker
To optimize your app screenshots, use this tool checks your screenshots’ dimensions, count, orientations, and their compatibility with various iOS devices, and tells you how to improve.

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App Preview Video

Making a video may be difficult but it can boost install rates by more than 23% according to StoreMaven. Don’t forget to use a good poster frame (iOS) / feature graphic (Google Play).  This graphic has a big impact to whether your visitors would watch your video.

App Store SEO Tips:

App Marketing Video

Here are some of the essential elements of an effective app marketing video. They are recommended by Apptamin, a company well-known for its app videos and trailers:

  • Use the first 5 seconds to grab the viewer’s attention
  • Focus on the best features, instead of all features
  • Your video should make sense even with the sound turned off
  • Include a call-to-action

Remember, 80% of users don’t watch past first 12 seconds of the video. Do make sure you keep it short and to the point. Avoid any fade-in and “welcome” type of message at the beginning of your video.

iOS 11 notes:

In the search result page of iOS 11, up to three App Preview videos and/or screenshots can appear, rather than just two as in iOS 10. Videos will always be displayed before screenshots and the first video will now play automatically, but the sound will be muted by default.

app store optimization ios 11 search results

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App Store Ratings – The Impact 

Ratings and reviews have a great impact on your app downloads. You need an average rating of 4-stars or above. Or else only less than 50% users are willing to download your app.

Check out this infographic for more details:

app rating infographic

App Store SEO Tips

User Review Sentiment
Use this tool to get a user sentiment analysis of your app. It applies artificial intelligence on your user reviews to find out what your users like and don’t like about your app.

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App Store Ratings – Getting Five-Star Ratings

How can you get more five-star ratings for your app?

Delay asking for a rating until there’s a likely moment of constructive feedback. For instance, ask when the user completed a reservation, finished a mission in a game, etc. When the time comes, ask nicely, and don’t beg.

What does that mean? Circa News app is a perfect example. It got 90% five-star ratings for every major version. Here is a flowchart of how it asks users if they would like to provide feedback:

app store seo Service - Cicra News feedback flowchart
Image courtesy of Circa News

The key is to encourage satisfied users to leave positive reviews and deflect negative reviews by using a “send feedback” option.

For iOS Developers:

Since the released of iOS 10.3, you can only ask a user for an app rating three times per year.

To make the most of these scarce rating opportunities, you should first identify your app lovers, and then ask them for ratings at the right time.

You may be wondering:

“How can I identify who are my app lovers?”

You can do so by some simple surveys or dialogs.

For example, you can ask this famous “Net Promoter” question on a 10-point scale:

“How likely is it that you would recommend our app to a friend or colleague?”

aso tips nps survey

Those who respond with a score of 9 to 10 are your “Promoters”, or app lovers.

aso tips nps

And they are likely to give you 4 to 5-star ratings when you later ask them for app ratings at the right time.

To do this, you can either develop your own version of rating and feedback flow or simply use the tools like Apptentive.

App Store SEO Tips

The Right Paths To A Review
Direct only positive reviews to App Store, and negative reviews to support.

But what if I already have many bad reviews?

Luckily in iOS 11, you can decide when to reset the average ratings and start over with a clean slate.

In iOS 10 or before, you can use these tips about how to sweep bad reviews under the rug. He also tells you how to give a positive first impression about your app by making good use of the five-star reviews.

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App Store Ratings – Reply To Reviews

Remember to reply the app reviews and feedback! Only the ones who care about your app will spend the time to leave a comment. Show them you care about them as well! This is a great way to let the visitors know that the developer is active too.

For Google Play, there is a “Reply to a review” option in Developer Console for you to do just that.

app store seo increase app downloads reply review

For Apple App Store, you can also do this since iOS 10.3 release in March 2017.

On iTunes Connect, go to ‘My Apps > Choose your app > Activity > Ratings and Reviews’.

There you can see the “Reply” option in each of the reviews.

app store optimization reply to review

App Store SEO Tips

How to Reply to Reviews

Try to reply to all feedback immediately following a major release of your app.

If you can’t respond to every review, try prioritizing reviews with the lowest star ratings or those mentioning technical issues with the most current version of your app.

When you release an app update that fixes issues users mentioned in older reviews, consider replying to the relevant reviews to let them know that your update addressed their concerns.

Once a user indicates that your response answered their question or fixed their technical issue, consider asking them to update their rating and review.

You can also foster deeper engagement by asking users for feedback on future app updates as part of your reply.

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App Store Ratings – One-Star Reviews

One-star reviews are your friends. Read them all. Try to understand why the users complained your app, and think about what you need to do to turn them into five-star reviews. This thought process helps you improve your app from the user perspective. Also, fix all serious bugs, crashes and performance issues.

app store seo increase app downloads 1 star ratings

In the end getting more and better app reviews comes down to creating a great app users love. Listen, improve your apps and repeat until you are topping the app store ratings.

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App Localization Strategy

App localization gives you a larger audience to download your mobile app. But localizing the whole app to many languages can be a daunting task.

Before doing a full localization of your whole app, consider localizing your app listing first. It means translating your app name, keywords, screenshots, etc.

David Janner of MAKE APP Magazine conducted a localization experiment. In his experiment, he only localized the app name, the keywords, and sometimes the top line in the app description. After this simple localization, his app received a massive 767% boost in downloads. Before localization, the downloads were mainly from within the US. After localization, his downloads looked like this:

ASO App Store Optimization Keyword Localization Keyword Translation
Image courtesy of MAKE APP Magazine

According to OneSky, only 31% of the world’s total app revenue came from the U.S., while 41% came from Asia, and 23% came from Europe. In particular, China has already surpassed the U.S. by both iOS app download and revenue. If your app only has an English version for the U.S. market, you are leaving a lot of money on the table.

App Store SEO Tips:

App Localization Strategy
Localize your app listing first to see how well your app performs in different countries. You can then decide if you should perform full localization of the whole app for the best performing countries.

Icon and Screenshot Localization
Different countries have distinct preference of icon colors, screenshot layouts and annotations. Check out these posts about icon colors and screenshot localization for more insights.

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App Localization – Best Countries For Your App

Now you know the strategy, but which countries should you start first?

If your app is already available in more than one country, you can use app analytics to find out the top countries by your app downloads. Check the official languages of the top five countries, and localize your app listing if you haven’t done so.

Depending on your priority, you can also do the same using top countries by revenue, ARPU, conversion rate, active devices or retention.

App Store SEO Tips:

Predict Your Next Successful Markets
This tool predicts where your next successful markets are based on ARPU (Average Revenue Per User), Conversion Rates, and more. With this information, you can proactively localize your app to grasp the market opportunities.

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App Localization – Top Countries By Revenue

Another approach is to localize your app listing for the top countries by downloads and/or revenue in the world.  According to App Annie, here are the top countries in Q3 2016.

app store seo top countries

Again, check the official languages of the top countries, and localize your app listing if you haven’t done so.

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App Indexing – Spotlight Search

aso ios spotlight searchFor iOS App Developers:

Apple’s Spotlight Search allows users to search for their iOS apps installed on their device. This feature helps app developers engage existing users more frequently.

For iOS app developers, enable Core Spotlight and NSUserActivity for your app. They improve your user engagement, which in turn improves your iOS app store search ranking.

In fact, 35% of top 20,000 apps on the iOS App Store have Spotlight search enabled. What are you waiting for?

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App Indexing – Firebase Indexing

aso google firebase

For both iOS & Android App Developers:

Google’s Firebase App Indexing allows users to search the dynamic content in your app, and it works for both Android and iOS devices.

Firebase App Indexing not only helps improve your user engagement, it is also a user acquisition opportunity. It is because it allows users to search for your app contents no matter your app is installed or not.

If you have a content-rich app, you should enable Firebase App Indexing to make to most of these opportunities. See the official documentation here.

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App Conversion Rates – The Impact

First, what is conversion rates (CR)?

Let’s use the analytics from Apple App Store to illustrate the concept.

In Apple iTunes Connect’s App Analytics, you can find the followings:

  • Impressions (the number of times your app showed up in the App Store)
  • Product Page Views (the number of visits on your app’s page in the App Store)
  • and App Units (the number of downloads)

With these data, you can easily calculate two CRs:

  • Page View CR = Product Page Views / Impressions x 100%
  • Download CR = App Units / Product Page Views x 100%

To put things into perspective,

  • The page view CR is the percentage of people who see your app from search results, rank lists, or featured app lists, and then tap the icon to check out your app.
  • The download CR is the percentage of people who visit your app page and then download your app.

These two CRs can be presented along with impressions, product page views, and app units in a diagram called Conversion Funnel in-app marketing.

app store optimization conversion funnel

Why is conversion rate such a big deal?

There are mainly three reasons.

1. CR is a strong quantitative indicator of App Store SEO effectiveness

Keyword ranking and number of downloads are not the best metrics to measure the performance of App Store SEO. There are many external factors that can influence those two metrics. For example, a big competing publisher may publish a hugely popular app and shift the apps in the keyword ranking by a margin (e.g. The impact of Pokemon Go and related apps on the keyword “Pokemon” and “Go”). Or you run App Store SEO and an advertisement campaign at the same time and the number of the downloads become not purely organic.

On the other hand, CRs are independent of market competition nor the source of traffic. They give you the true picture of App Store SEO effectiveness.

2. CR reflects the likelihood of getting ranked

CR is a natural ranking signal in app store search. If lots of people search certain keywords, click on the same search result, and download the same app, Google Play and the App Store should receive a strong message:

“Users want to see this app!”

and place the app in a dominant spot (i.e. rank or featured list).

3. CR saves you money!

It’s just simple math: if you double your CR, you cut your advertising cost by half for the same amount of downloads. For the same reason, if you haven’t optimized your CR, don’t spend big bucks on advertising campaigns! You would be wasting your money.

Just a side story: some ranking manipulation farms even go far and take advantage of this. They offer keyword-rank-manipulation service. They boost the ranking of an app by “searching” the app by specific keywords, tapping the app in the search results and download the app — the exact flow of conversion funnel.

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App Conversion Rates – Page View CR

Now you know the importance of conversion rate, let’s see how we can improve them.

Let’s do a recap:

Page View CR = Product Page Views / Impressions x 100%

If Page View CR is less than 3%, you should try to improve it.

3%? Really? Yes, 3% sounds very low, but you won’t believe many apps have less than 1% we have seen!

To improve Page View CR, focus on optimizing these metadata:

  • App name
  • App subtitle (iOS only)
  • App icon
  • First 3 lines of app description
  • First 3 screenshots (or app preview video)
  • App ratings

It is because the app search result only shows these pieces of information. That means they are your baits to bring users to your app page. So make good use of them!

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App Conversion Rates – Download CR

Now, let’s look at Download CR:

Download CR = App Units / Product Page Views x 100%

Folks from SplitMetrics have done a wonderful job on this topic. They gathered the download conversion rates from hundreds of experiments with over 10,000,000 users. Here are the best conversion rates in each app category in their study:

app store optimization conversion rateBased on this graph, you should set your download CR target to at least 60% for most categories. For Health & Fitness and Education categories, you may set your target a bit lower to around 40% and 50% respectively.

If your download CR is lower than the target benchmark, you should follow all tips in this article to improve this metric.

App Store SEO Tips:

Benchmark Your Conversion Rate
Use this tool to benchmark your app’s conversion rate (CR). It compares your download CR with your app category’s median and best CR, and tells you what you should do.

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App Size

Try to make your app smaller than 150MB for iOS app, or 100MB for Google Play app. It is because users cannot download apps that are bigger than these sizes using cellular service.

app-store-optimization-large-size-app

So for example, if a user on a bus or a train can’t download “now”, it is unlikely the user will write down the name and try again X hours later when they’re home.

Need some proof? This post from appfigures shows that ~98% of the top 100 free and ~62% of paid iOS and Android games are under 100MB.

Do you think 100MB is not enough for your app? Take a look at Clash of Clans. Its iOS version is just 85.3 MB.

App Store SEO Tips:

Make Your App Smaller
To reduce the app size, consider compressing some of the graphical assets or make some of the contents downloadable after install.

Compare with the Top 100 Apps
Do you want to know how your app size compares to that of the top 100 apps? Use this tool to see whether your app size falls in the reasonable app size range of the top 100 apps.

App Pricing – Free with In-App Purchases

Making your app free can remove the friction for users to download your app. After all, what price is better than free?

If you want to make money from your free app, consider In-App Purchase (IAP) pricing model if that makes sense to your app design. IAP account for 79% of app store revenue.

app store seo increase app downloads iap

App Store SEO Tips:

New to In-App Purchase (IAP)?
Check out this Do’s and Don’ts IAP Checklist. It can jump start your IAP design.

Need In-App Purchase (IAP) Ideas?
Here is a wonderful list of 40 IAP ideas for you to consider.

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App Pricing – Free with Ads

If you choose to make in-app advertising revenue, try to use native ads. They are created to fit the exact context of the app they appear on. This way, they serve as extra content for the app itself rather than a piece of promotional materials. Check out this post to see more reasons why native ads are better than traditional banner ads.

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App Pricing – Paid Apps

Use a reasonable price by comparing your app price with your competing apps. Also, take reference of the price range of the top apps in your app categories.

A good starting price point to test the market is $0.99 or $1.99. Anything above $2.99 won’t make you a lot of money. The exception is Minecraft Pocket Edition, which is priced at $6.99.

App Compatibility – iMessage

For iOS apps, supporting iMessage App helps your app grow viral through the user’s phone contacts. You can also gain extra exposure in the App Store for iMessage.

app store seo increase app downloads imessage

Need ideas of how to use iMessage for your app? Check out how these 10 apps make use of iMessage integration for more ideas.

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App Compatibility – Apple Watch

For iOS apps, supporting Apple Watch improves your app’s customer experience and user loyalty.

But don’t just copy your original app features directly to your Apple Watch app. Make good use of the Apple Watch characteristics to improve your user experience. Need inspirations? Check out these 50 best Apple Watch apps.

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App Compatibility – Family Sharing

For iOS apps, Apple offers the Family Sharing opt-in for app developers. Family Sharing allows up to six family members to share app purchases on the same credit card across devices and parents to supervise their children purchases. Supporting Family Sharing means you can reach more family members and improves user loyalty.

Apple also clarifies that in-app purchases are not transferable through Family Sharing. It means Family Sharing gives higher revenue potential for apps with in-app purchases.

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App Compatibility – Game Center

Though Game Center app is removed since iOS 10, the Game Center service is still available. If you have an iOS game, you can make use of these Game Center features:

  • Leaderboard
  • Achievements
  • Challenges
  • Saving Games
  • Matchmaking for multiplayer games

These features improve your game’s virality and user retention in many ways.

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App Updates

Statistics show that there is a high correlation between high ratings and app update frequency. In fact, releasing regular updates has many benefits. It improves user loyalty and keeps an app top of mind because your app will show up in the updates list in the app stores. Apple and Google also like to see app updates because they show you’re committed to the app and that it’s still being maintained.

How often should you update your app?  Check out this chart first:

app version update frequency chart

For these 25 top iOS apps, the average was about 30 days between updates. I’d recommend at least an update a month, and up to once a week.

Don’t forget to use push notifications to alert users to new app updates. They have a big impact on your update downloads. Ideally, you should only send notifications to the users who haven’t downloaded your latest version. In case you can’t distinguish who have and who haven’t, you should word your message carefully to avoid the confusion.

For examples,

Hey! Have you checked for updates in the App Store recently?
Updates! Are all your apps up to date? Check the Updates button in the App Store.

Of course, you shouldn’t do an update just for the sake of doing an update. Your updates should always improve your app in some ways, either by bug fixings or enhancements.

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iOS App Store vs. Google Play

If you wonder what are the differences between iOS App Store and Google Play on App Store SEO, here is a great summary:

app store seo apple vs google

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Putting It All Together

Here is a cool infographic produced by Y Media Labs. It sums up the most important points about App Store SEO.

app store seo strategies increase visibility

App Store SEO Tips:

Do you want to learn more about app marketing strategies?
Check out The Essential List of 35 App Promotion & Marketing Strategies. It covers many app marketing topics such as PR, brand building, and marketing through social media, community, and other online channels.

After you have published the changes, keep an eye on the keyword rankings. The rankings change right after you published the new version. Target to make your app rank within top 10 of all keywords. If your new keywords are too hard to rank, you might have to replace them with your old keywords.

Review your App Store SEO every three weeks or four because that is when big trends of app ranking change. Don’t give up if the results of first few optimizations are not turning out well. App marketing takes time and App Store SEO needs many observations to master.

Good luck in your journey!

Here’s What To Do Next…

Congratulations!

You’ve read to the end of this mega post (6,000+ words).

Give yourself a BIG hand!

Now it’s time to apply what you’ve learned.

app store seo checklist

The first step?

Click here to get a free summary checklist of all app store optimization tips in this post, and apply them to your app.

The checklist also includes 2 bonus strategies and additional details that I didn’t have room to include in this post.

app store optimization checklist
[Get the ASO Checklist]

 


Sources:

  1. 10 Killer App Store Marketing Tips. StoreMaven
  2. 13 steps to perfecting your app store optimization. Moburst
  3. 14 Compelling Statistics About the Importance of Localization. OneSky
  4. 25 Top iOS Apps And Their Version Update Frequencies. Sensor Tower
  5. 3 Reasons Why You Should Launch Your Mobile App & Game In China Now. Meatti
  6. 40 Secrets to Making Money with In-App Purchases. Ray Wenderlich
  7. 7 Ways to Find New Keyword Idea. Smart App Marketer
  8. A Cross-Cultural Analysis of the iOS App Store Icon Colors. TranslateLab
  9. App Marketing Tools For Developers. Apptamin
  10. App Store Optimization – 11 Strategies To Make Your App Visible. Y Media Labs
  11. App Store Optimization – A Crucial Piece of the Mobile App Marketing Puzzle. Kissmetrics
  12. Are Smaller Mobile Games More Successful? appfigures
  13. Google discloses how search for Google Play works for the first time. SocialTimes
  14. Have an App? The Step-by-Step Guide to Marketing It Free. Neil Patel
  15. How many downloads per day does one need to be a Top 10 Free iPhone app? Quora
  16. How Often Should I Update My App? Businesses Should Consider The Benefits Of Frequent App Updates. Business Insider
  17. How to Market Your Small Business Mobile App. Bizness Apps
  18. How to Gain Visibility Using ASO. Ryan Clutter on SEJ
  19. How to Select Name for Your Mobile Application. AppsDevPro
  20. I Found a Way to Interact with App Store Reviewers. Paul Mayne, Day One
  21. Increasing The Number Of Keywords In App Store Optimization By Localization. Moritz Daan on Mobile Growth Stack
  22. iPhone App Localization: 7x More Downloads By Localizing App Keywords. MAKE APP Magazine
  23. More Than 25% of Top iOS Apps Will Soon Need to Change Their Names. Sensor Tower
  24. Native Ads vs Banner Ads. Sharethrough
  25. Q3 2016 Index: China Hits an iOS App Store Milestone. App Annie
  26. Optimize Your Google Play Store App Details Page. Apptamin
  27. Quit my full time corporate job. Built an iOS game. It became #1 in the App Store. Reddit
  28. Ratings Prompts. Apptentive
  29. Screenshot Localization: Lessons Learned From Analyzing 1,127 Screenshots in 5 Different Markets. TranslateLab
  30. Search Ads – App Store – Apple Developer. Apple
  31. The App Store Optimization Checklist: Top 10 Tips. Apptentive
  32. The Beginner’s Guide to App Store Optimization. John Rampton on Forbes
  33. The best Apple Watch apps: 50 essential apps and games. Wareable
  34. The Essential List of 35 App Promotion & Marketing Strategies. AppInstitute
  35. The In-app Purchase Checklist. Appbot
  36. The One Secret To Effective App Store Optimization. Meatti
  37. The Ultimate Guide to App Store Optimization. BuildFire
  38. The Ultimate Guide To App Store Optimization For Localized Apps. PhraseApp
  39. The Ultimate Guide To App Store Optimization In 2015. AppFreak
  40. Try out Apple’s new third-party iMessage integration in iOS 10 with these apps. appleinsider
  41. What’s a Good App Store Page Conversion Rate? SplitMetrics
  42. Winning Mobile: First, You Have To Win App Store And Google Play Search. John Koetsier on Forbes
  43. Your Guide to App Store Optimization [Infographic]. Optimizely

Marcus is a tech entrepreneur & a father of 3 daughters.
He is the founder of Meatti, which helps mobile app developers increase app downloads using artificial intelligence.

How To 5X Your iOS App Store Keywords

How To 5X Your iOS App Store Keywords

Did you know you could 5X your iOS App Store keywords to get more traffic?

That means you can use up to 500 characters to store your keywords for getting a lot more app store search traffic!

YES, 5 X 100 = 500 CHARACTERS!

app store keywords

Just follow this app store keyword optimization guide to find out how.

How Do App Store Keywords Work in the App Store?

First thing first: let’s find out how app store keywords work in the App Store…

Apple App Store actually indexes multiple app localizations in each App Store market.

Why?

It is because App Store users use different languages in each market.

For example, the U.S. App Store indexes BOTH English (U.S.) and Spanish (Mexico) localizations. Because of that, users of the U.S. App Store can search for an app using the keywords in both localizations.

So if you publish your mobile app to the U.S. App Store, you can use the 100 keyword character space in BOTH English (U.S.) and Spanish (Mexico) localizations.

A total of 200 character space. A double up!

In the Spanish localization, you can enter Spanish keywords. Or if you prefer, you can also enter English keywords there too.

Got the idea?

App Store Keyword Optimization Tips:

  • Multiply Your Keywords in All App Store Markets
    Click here to get a free list of all countries in the world that you can apply the trick above. The list also shows you what additional localizations you could use in each App Store market to store extra keywords.
  • Multiply Your App Name
    You can apply the same localization tactic to the app name field to include more keywords. As mentioned in our App Store SEO Tips and App Store Optimization Tips, keywords in the app name carry more weight than in the keyword field when it comes to app store search ranking. By using this trick, you will have a big advantage over your competition.

And the good news is:

This App Store keyword optimization technique works not just in the U.S. market. It works in all App Store markets in the world.

This way, you can easily double the space available for your App Store keywords in English or any other language you prefer.

All you need to know are the localization languages that are indexed by your target App Store market.

But you may ask:

“How do I know which localizations are indexed by my target App Store markets?”

This leads to the next section…

Which App Localizations Should I Use?

App Store indexes at least two app localizations in each App Store market.

And some markets have even more!

For instance, Switzerland App Store indexes five localizations: German, French, Italian, English (Australia) and English (U.K.).

That means you can 5x your app store keywords in Switzerland App Store.

But how about the other App Store markets?

To save you time, we have compiled the app localizations indexed by every App Store markets in the world. Click here to get the free list of all countries that you can apply this trick.

app store keywords optimization world map

Get the Free List of All Countries to Multiply Your Keywords ]

Remember: once Apple has approved your new app store keywords and localizations, go check your new app store keyword rankings.

As a rule of thumb, make sure all your target app store keyword rankings are less than ten.

Here’s What to Do Next…

Now you have a lot more space to store your app store keywords.

But what keywords should you use in this extra space?

Don’t worry: just use this tool to get your keyword suggestions automatically using AI.

The best part?

It’s free!

Marcus is a tech entrepreneur & a father of 3 daughters.
He is the founder of Meatti, which helps mobile app developers increase app downloads using artificial intelligence.

Top 8 Changes in iOS 11 that affect Your App Store Rankings

Top 8 Changes in iOS 11 that affect Your App Store Rankings

Apple iOS 11 has arrived in all compatible devices on September 19, 2017.

As an app developer, …

  • What should you do to get ready for iOS 11?
  • How is iOS 11 going to affect your app store rankings?
  • How about your app store optimization (ASO) strategy?

app store optimization tell me
Okay. Here is an overview of the major changes to iOS 11 that will influence your ASO strategy, in the order of importance:

App Store Optimization Tips:
You can use Artificial Intelligence to improve your app rankings in iOS 11 using this tool for free.

  1. App Search Results
  2. App Name & Subtitle
  3. Promotional Text & Description
  4. In-App Purchases
  5. App Ratings
  6. App Review Prompts
  7. App Previews
  8. Putting It All Together

1. App Search Results

app store optimization ios 11 search results

[Image credit: StoreMaven]

In the search result page of iOS 11, up to three app preview videos and/or screenshots can appear, rather than just two as in iOS 10.

Videos will always be displayed before screenshots and the first video will now play automatically, but the sound will be muted by default.

App Store Optimization Tips:

As three previews/screenshots are squeezed together now, their dimensions have become smaller. To make them stand out, make sure you use a short caption text on a clean background in your preview video poster frame/screenshots.

Also, use your strongest messages in the first three screenshots/preview videos to impress the users. You only get one chance to make a first impression.

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2. App Name & Subtitle

app store optimization subtitle
[Image credit: Apple]
With iOS 11, Apple will be shortening the app name from 50 characters to just 30.

To make up for it, Apple will add a new app subtitle field that appears below the app name. App subtitle will give app publishers another 30 characters to highlight features or typical uses of the app.

App Store Optimization Tips:

  • Similar to app name, app subtitle is indexed in the App Store search, making it ideal to include keywords that you want to rank for.
  • Try to include a call-to-action in the subtitle. This can improve a tap-to-install conversion rate by 15-20% according to SplitMetrics.
  • For existing apps that are using 50 characters in their app name, only the first 30 characters will be indexed by the App Store search once you have also used the app subtitle field.
  • Use this tool to analyze your app name and get the recommendations of best name format and length.

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3. Promotional Text & Description

app store optimization ios 11 promotional text
[Image Credit: The ASO Project]
A new promotional text field will be added.  It appears at the top of the description and is limited to 170 characters. Consider using promotional text to share the latest news about your app.

You can update it at any time without having to submit a new version of your app. However, this promotional text is not indexed in the App Store search. It cannot help your app ranks higher in the App Store search.

For the app description, you can update it only when submitting a new version of your app. Think carefully about what you want to convey to your customers and the features you highlight in your app description.

App Store Optimization Tips:

  • A short and catchy promo text can show an average 35% conversion lift. Use it to promote special offers, events and important updates, and use it as a description summary during the rest of time.
  • Rumor has it that Apple is going to index app description in the App Store search. However, it is not confirmed yet.

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4. In-App Purchases

app store optimization iap
[Image credit: Apple]
Now you can customize in-app purchases (IAP) by adding display names, descriptions, and icon for each. You can promote up to 20 of them on your product page.

IAP can also now appear in search results, the Games and Apps tabs, or even be featured on the Today page.

App Store Optimization Tips:

The big news about IAP is that previously in iOS 10 and before, IAP would only rank if the user typed in an exact match search. In iOS 11, IAP now ranks for partial match search too.

So app publishers will be able to increase the store visibility by orders of magnitude through optimizing up to 20 IAPs, each comes with a name, description, and icon.

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5. App Ratings

app store optimization ratings reviews
[Image credit: Apple]
In iOS 10 and before, the average rating of the current version is displayed in App Store. But whenever an update is published, the average rating of the app is reset. That discourages many app publishers from releasing an update.

App Store Optimization Tips:

The iOS 11, only the overall average rating will be displayed. You will also be able to determine when you reset the average rating of your app. This allows you to erase mistakes that you have made in the past, so your ratings properly reflect the current quality of your app.

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6. App Review Prompts

In iOS 11, Apple will disallow custom review prompts in all apps. Now Apple provides their own API that you can add to your app to allow the consumer to submit their review within the app.

However, you are limited to prompt each consumer for review only three times per year. Because of this restriction, it’s important that app publishers be extra thoughtful and analytical about how they should use the Apple API.

App Store Optimization Tips:

You may first use a custom survey to find out the users who really like your app, then you can target the Apple review prompts only to these users. This way, you will have a better chance to get better reviews.

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7. App Previews

app store optimization preview
[Image credit: Apple]
You can feature up to three app preview videos. Each video can last up to 30-seconds long.

App Store Optimization Tips:

The app preview videos will autoplay with muted audio when a user views your product page, which means that your first few seconds of the preview need to be the most captivating to convince users to download your app.

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8. Putting It All Together

Here is a summary infographic prepared by SplitMetrics:

 

What’s Next?

App Store Optimization Tips:

Did you know you could use artificial intelligence to improve your app rankings in iOS 11 using this tool?

app store seo increase app downloads what

The AI tool will find the best keyword suggestions for your app. It will also tell you how to improve your app product page to get more downloads. Check it out here.

Marcus is a tech entrepreneur & a father of 3 daughters.
He is the founder of Meatti, which helps mobile app developers increase app downloads using artificial intelligence.

How to Set Up Your iTunes Connect Account for Keyword Suggestion

How to Set Up Your iTunes Connect Account for Keyword Suggestion

Meatti can provide you a complete and more accurate keyword suggestion using the statistical data of Apple Search Ads.

This guide shows you how to set up your iTunes Connect account to work with Apple Search Ads. You can then use this account to get the best set of recommended keywords from Meatti.

Here are the 3 simple steps:

Step 1 – Sign in Search Ads

Go to Search Ads.

Sign in with your iTunes Connect account using the “Advanced” option.

**REMINDER: Use the iTunes Connect account that you have linked up with Meatti.


Step 2 – Complete Registration

After signing in, you will see a “Create an account” form.

Now fill in the information and submit the form.

You will then see a “Create Campaign” screen or campaign group page.

That’s it!

Once you’ve seen this page, your iTunes Connect account is ready for Meatti’s keyword suggestions.

  • Note: You DON’T need to create an actual ad campaign, and Meatti will be able to provide you with more accurate keyword suggestions using the statistical data of Search Ads.


Step 3 – Resume Suggestions

Now, get back to the Keyword Suggestions tool of Meatti.

Click the “Re-Suggest Now” button for your app if the button shows up.

keyword suggestions - button

Refresh that web page in 10 minutes.

And you will be able to see a complete and more accurate keyword suggestions.

If you encounter any problems, feel free to contact us here!

Marcus is a tech entrepreneur & a father of 3 daughters.
He is the founder of Meatti, which helps mobile app developers increase app downloads using artificial intelligence.