App Store Optimisation (ASO) 2014 – New Learnings

2014 is now full steam ahead and just like every year before it, it has brought a bunch of new changes to the mobile industry. Whilst big-time manufacturers are not attempting anything too out of the box this year-round, we are seeing a larger focus on budget handsets, and manufacturers are attempting to increase their global reach to regions that haven’t adopted smartphone technology as much as North America or Europe have.

For app developers, this larger global reach should open up a lot of opportunity for reaching new downloads and bringing in more revenue. If you haven’t already, now would be a good time to rework your App Store optimisation strategies to ensure a better chance at bringing in more downloads through organic search. Below we’ve listed some new information about ASO that you should take into consideration.

More Businesses Are Getting Smart, You Need to Be Smarter

Nearly every mobile app developer out there that is trying to get any smidgen of reward from their app will now be making use of keywords in their app title and store page description. As far as you’re concerned, this is a bad thing. More developers will be using keywords, and because of this, there is going to be much higher competition for average words and key phrases.

To truly make use of your keywords, you’ll need to find the right words. You are going to want to try and find a sweet spot between words that are searched often, and words that aren’t being fought over by thousands of other developers.

It can be hard to find the perfect keywords, but putting the time and effort into finding them, or hiring somebody else to do this for you will greatly increase your chance of being found in organic search, which is still one of the best ways to boost downloads for your mobile app.
The most important part of the keyword optimisation process is the constant testing, for some projects it took us up to 10 updates to find the best performing keywords. As a rule of thumb, we recommend if you don’t manage to rank for a keyword in the top 10 of the search results of the app stores, skip it.

Making Use of the Right Tools

Businesses that make use of app data and analytical tools will have an immediate advantage over those that go without them, and in 2014, it’s not only important to use analytical data, but it’s also important to find the exact set of tools for your own needs if you want your app to stand a hope of being successful.

app store optimisation tools
Tool: Sensortower

Some tools are even being offered for free, and whilst you will only be able to find the best information from paid-for platforms, you can still get a taste of what different analytical services have to offer before splashing out any cash.

A good example of this is MobileDevHQ, a company that has recently provided a large set of their App Store optimisation tools completely free of charge. Also, the new App Annie and Sensortower are good tools.

Once you’ve found the right set of ASO tools for your business, you should have a much smoother experience improving your app store page over time.

Google Play vs. iTunes

Google Play search results’ do come in much larger batches, which means to rank highly is less important than on iTunes. Google Play rankings also factor in lifetime data for the app, rather than just the last 30 days, like iTunes. Hence the impact for any optimisation can take longer to kick in than on iTunes.

The use of keywords and algorithms are the biggest differences between the stores. Google Play indexes a lot of content on the app detail page so optimising the app description makes a lot of sense, as opposed to the Apple store. Keyword stuffing is not recommended in both stores since being found and converting the users to do the download are two different things. Google uses a clearly more mature algorithm than Apple so there are some things that can be taken advantage of. One would be the in-app purchases that have a search weight in iTunes.

App Ratings Mean More Than Screenshots and Logos

The most important things to remember about ASO is that, unlike the early days of SEO, you can’t scam it. You need a great product first and foremost.

Two other important things to factor into App Store optimisation have always been your screenshots and your app logo, and whilst it’s still important to have a decent logo and set of screenshots in 2014, there are more important things to focus on.

If you do a quick search in the App Store, you’ll notice that nearly every app has a very colourful and unique logo attached, and in fact, there are so many colourful logos now that having your own unique logo doesn’t make you stand out at all.

Screenshots are still great for giving potential downloaders a good overview of your application, but if you really want to convince users that your app is worth downloading, you’ll want to bolster up your app store ratings.

Good user reviews and high ratings will work out a lot more in your favour than any logo could, so try to put focus into encouraging your current app users to leave a review on your App Store page.

As for everything else ASO-related, make sure to give everything a little dust off – go over your app store description again, consider making tweaks to your app title, and create screenshots for any new features that may have been added. Good App Store optimisation is a continuous ordeal, you should always be monitoring your app’s success, and be open to changes if downloads are starting to slow down.

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