Kissmetrics reports that 63% of iOS and 58% of Android users search to find new apps, so it is still the vastly preferred method. The App Store Search is used by most people to discover new apps or find apps that they have already heard about. By performing AppStore optimization (ASO) on your mobile app, you are making sure that it will show up for relevant search queries. As a result, you will get more organic impressions and app downloads.
1. Research Keywords
Keywords are the most essential part of app store optimization, and finding the right keywords is your most important task. Right keywords can be a real goldmine for your app as it will bring you free installs, while the wrong keywords could keep your app completely buried along millions of other apps that no one is using.
There are several AppStore intelligence tools that you can use to research relevant keywords and find out what people are searching for to find similar apps to yours. Try keywordtool, reflection, and appannie as a start.
2. Leverage autocomplete
AppStore autocomplete is a feature that Apple created to help users find content on the App Store faster. It is similar to what Google Search does. When you start typing your query, you will see a list of suggested terms underneath the search box. You can tap on any of those suggestions to quickly perform the search.
People use autocomplete - a lot! Experiment with it yourself and see what suggestions you are getting, and add keywords which appear in those suggestions.
3. Spy on your competition
Spying sounds nasty, but it's entirely legal and there are plenty of tools that will help you with that. Start by knowing who your direct competitors are. That is to say, which apps come up when you search for your app, or the keywords you want to rank for. Fnd lets you search the AppStore in any country, which is very useful if your app targets more than a single geography. Sensortower is doing a descent job in finding out which keywords your direct competitors are ranking for. Note that Sensortower is a premium service and has an extremely limited freemium plan. You can track only 5 keywords at the time of this writing.
4. Prioritize keywords
iTunesConnect currently limits your keyword list to 100 characters. So you have to prioritize your keywords and be very selective about which keywords are going to make the cut. When prioritizing your most important keywords, consider relevance, chances and popularity:
- Relevance - how relevant is this keyword for my app?
- Your chances - what are the chances that your app will rank in the top 10 for this keyword?
- popularity - how often is this keyword searched on the AppStore?
MobileAction has a good keyword intelligence tool that can help you prioritize keywords for your app.
5. Change your app title
Your app's title is the most important piece in your app ranking score. Adding the most important one or two keywords to your app title can increase your ranking dramatically. We've recently experienced this after adding two keywords to an app's title. The ranking of the app jumped 50 places up, immediately. No other changes were made. True story.
6. Get rid of poor performers
Remember that App Store Optimization is something that has to be done continuously, it’s not a one-shot deal. Track your keywords performance and replace any keywords that do not get you to the top 10 results. Those keywords are under performing and do not get you any downloads.
7. Do not
- Do not use spaces in your keywords.
- Do not use both singular and plural forms of a word
- Do not add your app name as a keyword
- Do not use long words as keywords
- Do not use conjunctions or perpositions as keywords
- Do not leave any unused keyword space - use all 100 characters.
- Do not use keywords you cannot rank for
- Do not use keywords that people do not search for