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Boosting App Visibility in 2018: What You Need to Know

by Start ASO

As you know, the app stores are super crowded. Whatever your new idea is, chances are several apps already do the same. So how do you make yours stand out?

App Store Optimization (ASO) is the process of optimising an app’s visibility in the app stores rankings, with the ultimate goal of increasing its number of downloads. But how do you do that? At AppTweak, we’ve started the work for you and put together a checklist of what you should pay attention to on the App Store vs Google Play.

Here is your 2018 ASO checklist:

On the App Store:

  • The title can be up to 30 characters, so make sure to think carefully about what you include there. The message should be direct and clear (the user must get what the app does quickly) and you should use keywords that are important to target (Apple will index the keywords used in the title and consider them very relevant).
  • The subtitle is a new section introduced with iOS 11, with a 30-character limit. It indexes the keywords used so it’s a great way to boost your visibility on new keywords (no, repeating keywords used in the title or somewhere else does not give them more weight on Apple).
  • The keyword field is not displayed to users, but allows 100 characters and is a great place to put a lot of keywords that you want to target but are not important enough to put in your title or subtitle. You should use single keywords separated by a comma (the algorithm will index the combinations of those keywords on his own) and once again, don’t repeat keywords previously used as they’re not going to have more weight.

    Tip 1: There are some keywords that you shouldn’t waste character space on as Apple will automatically rank your app on them or include them in your keyword combinations. Those “free” keywords include the words “free”, “app”, “apps”, “the”, “and” & all primary and secondary category keywords (eg “utilities” and “lifestyle”).

    Tip 2: The algorithm automatically indexes all the combinations between the keywords in the title, subtitle and keyword field, so focus on very important single keywords.

Having trouble thinking of new keywords to target? Try our Keyword Auto-Suggest Tool :)

  • The promo text is also a new iOS 11 field. The keywords used will not be indexed, but it’s still a great opportunity to convince users to download your app. If you don’t add any, the user will simply see more lines of your description. However, what’s really cool is that you can edit the promo text at anytime without having to release a new version of your app. You can be way more flexible with trends & seasonality in your promo message!
  • Screenshots, app icon, and promo video: The app icon is the first thing that a user sees so it needs to be perfect (first impressions and all that). The general consensus is to focus on high quality & simple design in line with your app’s visual identity.

    iOS 11 displays up to 3 screenshots of your app in the search results, some of which can be videos that will play on mute automatically. It’s highly advised to use high quality screenshots of your apps with short sentences to explain the features.

    If you decide to include a promo video, you should know that the promo videos in iOS 11 are on autoplay, which engages users more and increase conversion because their eyes are drawn to the movement. Videos should be short, with zero narration/sound (they’ll be muted so since you can’t rely on voice to explain, focus on something else).

  • Rating & reviews: Algorithms will be positively influenced by a high-star ranking and a high user engagement (meaning they leave a lot of reviews/rate the app a lot). You can send push notifications to users to encourage them to rate your app or leave a review but be careful not to do it too often (don’t be THAT app).

On Google Play:

  • Title: This field can be up to 50 characters. The keywords used in the title are also indexed by the Google algorithm.
  • Short description: With the title, it’s the most important reference space for keywords. Repeating keywords will add weight to them (contrary to Apple’s method). Ideally, pick your top 3 keywords and repeat a couple times across your title, subtitle, and short description. Then pick 5 other important keywords and try to mention them at least once in the description.
  • Long description: This is where you can highlight important keywords by repeating them a lot as well, although they’ll have less weight than the keywords in the short description. Try to have a maximum of important keywords at 2% density at least, and the very important ones at a higher density (3-4%). Keep in mind that your sentences should still make sense and be pleasant to read (don’t stuff keywords everywhere just to reach the ideal density).

Want to check your keyword density right now? Use our Keyword Density Counter :)

  • Screenshots, app icon, and promo video: This is pretty much the same as Apple’s method except that Google only displays 2 screenshots in the search results.
  • Rating & reviews: Good ratings and reviews improve conversion because users are more likely to download well-rated apps, and a high conversion has a positive influence in your ranking position.

Finally, bear in mind that the app ecosystem is dynamic. It’s constantly evolving. Adapt by watching what your competitors are doing, following trends and seasonality, and updating your app’s version and metadata regularly.

Want to get started right away before forgetting what you read? Try our tool with a 7-day free trial or ask one of our experts to give you a demo of all the features.

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Gwenaëlle is Business Development Manager at AppTweak. She thinks exciting times are ahead for mobile marketers and is always looking for the next amazing app to install on her phone!