ASO : Development of Mobile Applications and Stores

ASO : Development of Mobile Applications and Stores

With the ubiquitous rise in the popularity of mobile devices, it’s no surprise that the apps industry is also growing at a tremendous rate. Specifically, the number of apps in the Apple store surpassed 2 million in 2019, and Google Play surpassed 3.6 million in March 2018. In this app store optimization guide, we’ll cover what is ASO, what ASO stands for, how do I get to the app store, and how to help users find your app. We’ll provide examples of how to differentiate apps from the competition, and we will also suggest some great tools to easily and conveniently manage the results of your efforts.

Let’s start over and tell you what is app store. Google Play has evolved from several products that it has absorbed over time: Android Market, Google eBookstore, and Google Music. Google announced the launch of the Android Market at the end of August 2008. For most users, access to the application store was opened at the end of October of the same year. Due to the exponentially growing number of applications, in December 2010, they added the ability to filter search results and other significant changes. In particular, they have doubled the maximum size of the application to up to 50 megabytes. At the beginning of that month, Google announced the launch of an eBookstore and the Google Music service a year later. In March 2012, the maximum application size already exceeded 4 gigabytes, and the Android Market got its modern name: Google Play.

Apple’s app store launch is closely related to the history of the iPhone. In particular, the 2008 version of the iPhone 3G was the first with built-in support for the Apple App Store. Despite numerous attempts, Apple has never been able to patent the term “App Store”. In connection with the growing popularity of devices and applications for children, they introduced a ranking of applications by age and a special thematic section “Children” in September of 2013.

Why App Store Optimization Isn’t SEO

App store search optimization or ASO differs in many ways from search engine optimization in a classical sense. The first and main difference is in search intent. ASO meaning is that when searching for applications, user behavior, and how searches are formed are very different from a regular online search. For example, app stores rarely use general wording and questions like “the best app for” or “how to choose a streaming service”. Most searches will be in the transactional phase. Users are either looking for specific features and capabilities, or brands and categories.

For example, let’s enter the search “best news app” and look at the results. The mobile version of the Apple App Store will offer very conditional matches for the entered search:

At the same time, Google Play will process an unclearly formulated request quite efficiently, defining the category of applications of interest and offering a list of the most popular options:

A more specific search “News” will work much better in the Apple App Store:

The Google Play Store will do just as well with a more specific, short search:

This way, we can conclude that Apple’s app store is primarily focused on working with keywords. Therefore their selection will become the key to success in the search along with a good choice of the main category. The Google Play Store handles searches in any form It offers automatic suggestions as you enter text into the search bar and analyzes the application context in the broadest sense. Therefore, the choice of a suitable application description will be no less important in this case.

One of the main differences between the App Store and Google Play is the process of hosting and publishing an app. Both platforms use a pre-screening process to ensure that only quality apps are hosted by developers. However, Apple generally takes longer to verify than Google. When publishing a new release, it is recommended to expect up to three days for pre-moderation. After approval and verification, your application or update will be available within 24 hours.

Searching and working with keywords are also organized in different ways. For example, ranking on Google Play works similarly to Google search. All available items and entered text blocks are taken into account. The Apple App Store provides a dedicated field for keywords that can also be automatically generated based on the category and description of the app. In a typical Internet search, Apple returns a standard product description with some technical fields when searching for an app.

The description from Google is completely based on the entered text and looks more like a regular search result, based on keywords and the user’s search intent.

There are several major factors that can be identified that affect ranking results for each app store. Google Play and the Apple App Store use sophisticated algorithms to sort search results but there is no official information on what to consider or how the results are generated. Nonetheless, we have prepared a small comparison of the main ranking factors for each platform based on observations, practice, and the most successful cases.

Optimization Elements

Let’s start by looking at how optimizing your app for the relevant store differs from regular Internet search engine optimization. To make it a little more convenient for you, we have compiled a comparison table:

Application Name

Mobile app optimization can be divided into two main stages. The first is what you need to consider before the release of the first version and stream optimization of updates. One of the key elements is the name of the application. In order not to go deep into naming, let’s talk about those aspects that are important to consider for app optimization. First, there are restrictions on the number of characters. For the Apple App Store, the app name must be up to 30 characters long, 50 for Google.

Be sure to conduct an analysis of competitors and market best practices and analyze several cases such as successful online banking applications.

Three simple criteria will be primarily the name, category, and logo of the application.

As you can see, all companies use one or another variation of the expression “Mobile Banking”, which means belonging to a mobile application of an existing or well-known bank. Also, only in one case was the word “Bank” used when it was an integral part of the brand. In any other case, avoid repetitions in the name. All apps are categorized as “finance”. Please note that our request sounded like “Online Banking” and not “Mobile Banking.” Also pay attention to how you translate the application name when localizing, especially if localization and translation only affects part of the name in order to maintain brand awareness.

Apps Keywords

Another important point to think about beforehand is keywords. Although this element is only available for input on the iOS app store, this does not diminish its importance. To rank results, Apple’s search algorithm takes into account information entered in several fields: app name, ad text, app description, and keywords. A good keyword source is your organic traffic.

Several recommendations:

  • A different set of keywords is available for each localization
  • One set of keywords is limited to 100 characters
  • Do not use spaces – separate keywords with commas
  • Use the most representative single words, use phrases only when necessary
  • Do not use plurals or derivatives of words already entered
  • Do not use category names or the word “application”
  • Avoid repetitions and special characters

Description – 252 characters that matter

Although the application description may contain more than 252 characters, it will be automatically cut off and the text “learn more” will be added after this number. Despite common guidelines, practices such as keyword abuse in app descriptions can have extremely negative consequences for app rankings. Try to describe as accurately as possible the services offered and the tasks that you solve. Experience in search engine optimization of text content will certainly come in handy here. You can always find the most current version of Google’s Quality and Compliance Policies for Apps at this link. In the meantime, this 5-minute video from Google will help you learn more about app store optimization tips, such as best practices and easy ways to search engine optimization on the Google App Store.

The app store for Apple also has its features. For example, you can change the description only when a new version of the application is released. However, when users navigate to the application page, the content of the “promotional text” field is displayed above the description entered and is limited to 170 characters. This field can be updated at any time, regardless of updates to the application itself. In addition, the information block consists of several sections, which forms all the data about the application.

Developer Apple

Note that the What’s New box appears instead of the app description in the iOS App Updates menu and can be a great way to keep up with user feedback. For example, it can be used to report important news or bugs fixed in a new version.

App Store Optimization Tools

TheTool

The Tool

This is a Spanish project founded in 2017. TheTool is an analytical tool for tracking the performance of search engine optimization and app marketing. It is ideal for small companies, startups, and developers.

Platforms:

  • Web application
  • iOS
  • Android

Main goals:

  • Competitor analysis
  • Keyword analysis
  • Keyword Tracking
  • Rank Tracking

Price:

  • Free version: yes
  • Trial period: yes
  • Basic plan cost: $33.97 per month

App Radar

App Radar

The project was founded in 2015, and the main office is located in Austria. The main competitive advantage is the use of machine learning and artificial intelligence to find the most effective optimization paths.

Platforms:

  • Web application

Main goals:

  • Competitor analysis
  • Customizable control panels
  • Keyword analysis
  • Analysis of search queries from mobile devices
  • Keyword Tracking
  • Localization support
  • Rank Tracking

Price:

  • Free version: yes
  • Trial period: yes
  • Basic plan cost: $29 per month

Appsflyer

Apps Flyer

Founded in the USA in 2014, this project is designed to solve one of the most difficult problems in marketing and promoting any product in the digital environment: traffic ownership. This is especially important if you plan to combine various elements of ASO marketing and promotion in several digital channels at the same time, and would like to receive data on the individual effectiveness of each.

Platforms:

  • Web application
  • iOS
  • Android

Main goals:

  • Modeling traffic ownership
  • Tracking conversions
  • Modeling the user journey
  • Audience segmentation
  • Multi-Channel attribution
  • ROI

Price:

  • Free version: yes
  • Trial period: yes
  • Basic plan cost: from 6 cents per conversion

Author

George Caravanschii George Caravanschii

George is a freelance digital analyst with a business background and over 10 years of experience in different fields: from SMM to SEO and development. He is the founder of Quirk and a member of the Inspiir team, where he is working closely with stakeholders from many popular brands, helping businesses grow and nurturing meaningful projects. George writes regularly on topics including the technical side of SEO, ranking factors, and domain authority.

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