An app can be flawless and indispensable, but if no one discovers it, it can all be in vain.
App store optimization (ASO) is one of the most important parts of a mobile app marketing strategy because around half of all app downloads still occur when users find something that appeals to them while browsing the app store.
The next most common reason is recommendations from other people (word of mouth), according to Tune.com.
In any case, direct downloads are not so common.
So, what exactly does app store optimization mean?
Similarly to search engine optimization (SEO) for websites, ASO is the process of optimizing apps to rank higher in an app store’s search results.
With app stores and an app optimization having such an important role in marketing and, of course, sales, there is no room for error, so we will bust the 5 biggest ASO myths and give you some tips, too.
1. You Should Change the App’s Name According to Popular Search Queries to Rank
No, there is no evidence that it brings better results; it could actually hurt the ranking.
For example, if you change the name, users who want to find it again for a new device or recommend it to friends may not find it and neither may others, as they count on it having the same name.
It is best to pick a title and never change it. Of course, if the title is done well from the start, that’s awesome too, as it is the most important piece of information (as mentioned by the head of Google Play’s search).
- Have a short title (up to 25 characters): when browsing on small screens, even medium-length titles may not be seen at once. This leaves only the first few words to be seen and those may not even bear any information or be interesting like, hopefully, the rest of the title which is hidden due to length. Therefore, it is more likely that a visitor will not check it out, or even stop to consider tapping it for details.
- Make the title creative and use less common words. Naturally, a creative title will grab attention and at least make the visitors read what the app has to offer and it will be remembered easier when the future users tell their friends about it. Moreover, if your title is not just another copy of a popular app or a generic name such as “Cleanup Wizard”, there will not be tens of thousands other apps appearing in search as your app’s competition, nor will it sound uninteresting.
2. Keywords are Nothing to Worry About
While keywords are not everything in ASO, a good choice of keywords can provide a significant increase in ranking.
After all, the stores use algorithms and algorithms use the traditional method for searching – keywords.
Even if you choose keywords badly, it will still bring a significant increase when compared to having no keywords, but do try not to place overly repetitive and irrelevant keywords, as it might cause the app to be suspended for creating an unpleasant experience for the users.
3. Rating is Everything
While this seems logical, it is not really the truth.
The title is repeatedly confirmed, by both experts from the field and Google itself, to be the most important in ranking, as well as the number of installations/uninstallations, keywords, and so on.
However, even though the rating is important both for ranking and because someone is more likely to try out an app with five stars than an app with one star, an app’s rating actually does not present the number one impact on ranking, as one would expect.
Inside Mobile Apps conducted a study in which they examined random samples of easy, medium and competitive search terms to see how apps ranked based on ratings.
Those are results for Google Play and we can see that sometimes apps with a higher rating are not necessarily ahead of lower rated apps regarding the position.
4. The Description Has No Impact
Even if the description had no impact on the app store’s algorithm, which it does (the second biggest at that, according to Search Engine Watch), it would still be a great decision to inform the visitors what the app’s features are, but we will look at the ASO benefits of using the description field.
Namely, along with the useful information which will turn a visitor into a user, you can and should place more of the well-chosen naturally incorporated keywords to boost the app’s chances of being found.
5. If the App Is Good, Being on the App Store Is Enough
Not only is it not enough to just be on the App Store, it is usually not enough to just focus on ASO.
Somehow, this myth is still around.
Perhaps there once was a short timeframe at the beginning of the App Store when there were so few apps that visitors managed to regularly scroll through all the apps and see every app that was published.
Today, this is not something to rely on, as it could not take place on a large enough scale to make an app popular.
What you need to do for an app to get noticed is to have good ratings, high install rates and low uninstall rates.
Apart from making the app itself decent and following all of the covered, you also need to connect with the users, be responsive, provide updates and fixes, ensure helpful anchor text, add an in-app Google+ +1 API, and make the Android application package (APK) smaller.
Good marketing is sometimes worth just as the product itself, and sometimes even more because if people are not interested enough to even try it, it is as if it does not even exist.
To truly do everything you can, you will not only need to believe the truth behind these myths and do your best on the app store following this and other advice, but you will also need to employ the more ‘traditional’ marketing methods such as social media marketing, content marketing, etc., because ASO is only one piece of the whole strategy.
No matter how important and effective it is, its results are nowhere near the combined effect of all the marketing types.