Most people who spend time online today are at least loosely aware of search engine optimization (SEO). App store optimization, though — ASO — is a somewhat newer and less familiar concept. For those looking to build apps and attract users, ASO has become an incredibly important component of strategy. As such, it’s something everyone in this field should have a working knowledge of.
In this piece we’ll explore what exactly ASO is, how it differs from SEO, and how you can implement it on behalf of your own mobile app projects.
What is ASO?
As mentioned, ASO stands for “app store optimization.” And really, it’s a fairly simple concept (even if achieving good ASO can be complicated). A Programming Lite contributor defined ASO as “the technique to increase the visibility and ranking of mobile apps” in Google and Apple app stores.
Data indicates that more than 60% of apps are discovered through searches, and possibly as many as 75% in the Google Play store specifically. This makes search one of the main keys to getting your app noticed, and is why ASO has become such a fundamental, necessary practice. Good ASO means more visibility in searches, which in turn means greater user engagement.
How is it Different From SEO?
SEO and ASO are concepts that share a similar purpose, and even work similarly, but which are different in a simple, defining way. SEO is meant to make web pages more effective at attracting users and performing well in searches. ASO, as discussed above, is designed to help apps to rank higher within app stores. In some cases, the two involve virtually identical strategies, and to some extent they’re seeking to accomplish the same thing. But they operate in different arenas.
That said, an article at Mobidea Academy asserted that the two can work together as well. This is basically because an app can benefit from both ASO and SEO. While ASO should be the primary consideration (given the percentages of apps discovered by in-store searches, remarked upon above), every app owner should be engaging in SEO also. An app should have its own web presence, and the more visible and engaging that presence is, the more likely it is that the app itself will be noticed. Even if app stores drive the majority of discovery, plenty still occurs online.
How to Execute Sound ASO Strategy
Executing sound ASO strategy is a complex process, and one that requires regular updates. The following, however, are some of the things that can get you off to a good start:
Target Audience Consideration - When we examined ‘5 Key Considerations While Developing a Mobile Gaming Strategy’ the primary focus was on figuring out a target audience. This meant finding out demographics, how much time those users spend on apps, what they might prefer in games, and so on. And the same strategies are important in developing ASO. Researching and defining a target audience will help you to determine how you can best get that audience to engage.
Keyword Analysis - Keywords are often brought up as components of ASO and SEO alike, but keyword analysis is sometimes overlooked. A take on digital marketing strategies by Ayima touches on this topic, however, by emphasizing the importance of data, insights, and analytics on basic SEO (and in this case ASO) strategies. Basically, the more you can do to research keyword effectiveness and analyze your own results, the better you’ll be at coming up with effective keywords. Placing these in the app description and even title can go a long way toward optimizing ASO.
Review Generation - You don’t always have control over reviews. But positive reviews, as well as a high volume of reviews, do help to drive better search results in app stores. For this reason, you should do what you can to incentivize users to leave reviews. Build a few calls to action into the app experience, and if you have a web and/or social media presence, use it to remind users now and then that reviews help. Beyond this, it just comes down to making sure your app offers a good experience, so that the reviews are positive!
Download Generation - More downloads will also lead to better search results, so it’s also in your best interest to generate as many as you can — though that’s what you’re trying to do with your ASO in the first place. With regard to generating downloads to boost ASO though, it’s worth remembering that SEO can also play a role. Your efforts online may help you to generate more downloads even before your ASO efforts really pay off.
There’s a lot of work involved in making this progress work and keeping it updated over time. If you keep this information in mind though, and apply it to your app project, you’ll likely start to see greater search visibility — and more downloads.
Exclusively written for applandinc.com by Darlene Pauly