ASO is basically SEO for the App Store. Your app name is equivalent to the title page of your site in Google and then your key words in Apple are like your Google page descriptions. You are basically trying to optimize your app name and key word fields for what you think is the most valuable in terms of traffic.

One basic thing that you must keep in mind is that keywords are important but this is not the be all and end all. You must have a good app. There are hacks out there to get you to rank well on certain key words but if your app does not hold up, you will not sustain that ranking. Once you have this balance, work on your app name as this can carry the highest weight. Have your most valuable key words here. With iOS 11 coming up, subtitles will be important as well.

Below are notes from highlighted questions from our audience during this talk:

What keyword tools do you use for keyword researches on the App Store and Google Play? 

My two favorites are Sensor Tower and Mobile Action. I try to use both but if I had to pick one, I prefer Mobile Action as I garner the best results from there. You many to check out AppAnnie as well if you want to learn about your competitors as App Annie reveals which keywords they are ranking well on.

What are your recommendations in relaunching apps? 

Downloads are one thing but check how many users you have as well. If you do not have a lot, then launching it as a brand new app may be a better idea. In doing this, you can get an Apple feature, do your ASOs from the top and pitch it to the press (it is easier to do this as a new app). The cons would include losing your reviews and your app tenure in the App Store.

How long should a description be? 

In Google Play, I tend to place in select keywords whereas in iOS, I go for density. I would place about 50 keywords in the App Store and shrink this down to 10-15 in Google Play. I also tend to repeat whatever keywords I am targeting in the app name, in the short description and the first sentences of the long description.

Can you share some ranking strategies? 

There are variables in ranking: your app name, the keywords you are using, retention, reviews, and the length of time that you have been in the AppStore. In terms of algorithm, the heaviest weight is in the app name itself so the way to do this is have the keywords that you are targeting in the app name. If you are going to hack the system, repeat it in the subtitle and buy reviews.

How do you do market research? 

Unless you have a big budget, the best way to do market research is to download the app, look through the reviews (some may be fake), and look through AppAnnie to see which keywords they are targeting.

Will frequently updating my screenshots help in my ranking? 

It will. Do A/B Testing on Google Play with your screenshots to figure out which resonate more to your audience. Once you figure out what it is, let it go for a while and focus on other areas like your app name, descriptions, etc. but work on it one at a time because tweaking things all at once will not tell you which change drove the downloads and the growth.

Are there websites for ASO? 

There’s a bunch of them: AppAnnie, Mobile Action and Sensor Tower. I also have lots of content about this topic which you can check out through this link.

What is  your favorite ASO trick? 

The Paid-to-free strategy.You basically make your apps free for a couple of days and for those which are already free, you make one of your in-app purchases free. For free apps, we have run this campaign for remove ads, virtual characters and weapons, or anything which you can give away. For paid apps, bots will pick it up, marketing-wise but for free apps, it is very essential that you get press for it for your efforts not to go to waste. To do this, you can pitch AppAdvice and BGR. As of this time though, keep in mind that this is just applicable for iOS. I have observed that AppAdvice is a greater app download driver so again, make sure to reach out to them they cover this 7 days a week.

 

Steve Young

Founder at AppMasters
I started building apps in 2011 and my first app hit #8 under educational games. I started making a few hundred dollars a month, but had no idea what I was doing. Then in 2013 I decided to start a podcast so I could pick the brains of app creators that I admired including the co-founder of Shazam, Tapbots, Crossy Road, etc and that changed everything.

Now I run an app marketing agency where we’ve helped 8 clients get featured by Apple, 5X downloads with ASO, and get coverage on Techcrunch, Mashable, Venture Beat and other major publications. I also write about apps on The Next Web, Entrepreneur.com, and on my blog AppMasters.co.

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