Among all the million apps in the App Store, you know yours is the best. But aside from making a great logo and writing a killer app description, how do you get noticed? Hang on to your pants, because today we’re coming at your with 5 (yes five!) ASO hacks that’ll change your life (life changing not guaranteed).
1. Use autocomplete to get keyword ideas
This hack is one that I knew about for SEO but didn’t actually think to adopt to the App Store until Tune wrote about it.
The hack works like this. First you think of some keywords that you know are going to return good results for your app. So let’s say you have a tip calculator, ‘tip’ is probably going to be one of your keywords. Without a doubt.
Next, you type ‘tip’ into the App Store search and see what autocompletes come up. This is straight from the horse’s mouth, because Apple bases their autocomplete things that users have actually searched for!
Try this with a couple of different keywords, your genre, or just play around to until you find something close to your product come up (so maybe ‘calculator’, in our example).
Autocomplete actually gives you common misspellings and typos as well, so you can cover all your bases with us Fat Finger Freddies.
Finally, autocomplete can help you by giving you keywords to try and work into your title. Since all the keywords that come up in autocomplete will be difficult to rank for, Tune recommends your title as a good place for them, since putting them elsewhere will have a lot less impact.
2. Two screenshots, one image
Back with iOS 8 first came out in September, everyone sort of lost their minds because now users could scroll vertically through apps. Now, users could scroll through apps far faster than before, which made it more important than ever to stand out visually.
Enter the single image.
Instead of having two separate screenshots, put one image spaced across two of your screenshot positions! Sure, it’s going to have some white space between it, but that’s not so big a challenge for a talented graphic designer.
3. Use Google AdWords to get keyword inspiration
Keywords are really the driving force behind ASO, and picking the right ones are going to make or break your optimization strategy. With that in mind, it’s important to look everywhere for inspiration. In addition to autocomplete, keyword tools like AppTweak, and just your own brain, AdWords is a good place to head.
AdWords comes with a keyword planner tool that you can use to dream up new keywords as well as deep dive into your own niche for some top quality keyword searches. For example, if were looking for keywords for our tip calculator app, we could search tip calculator and get lots of new ideas:
Now granted, most of these we already know, but if we click on ‘calculator app’ we get even more from that ad group.
As you explore these AdWords ideas, and specifically the competition attached to each one, you begin to get an idea of what sort traffic each one is going to get.
Other sources of keywords
- Reddit and subreddits (find out what people are looking for in their apps)
- Twitter hashtags
4. Target key phrases (not just keywords)
SEO has been doing this for yonks. They even have names for this stuff: head, body and long tail keywords (1 word, 2-3 words, entire phrases, respectively).
To get an idea of how important this is, just check out this graph from Moz from their SEO guide:
70% of Google searches are for long tail keywords! And that actually makes perfect sense – you never just look for one word, like ‘bread’. You look up ‘who has the best sourdough in the city?’ (It’s The Mill, by the way).
The same thing happens in the App Store.
For example, Clash of Clans might put ‘of’ as one of their keywords. High value? No. But they want to be front and centre when people search for them, so that’s why they would use two of their precious keyword characters to include it.
5. ABT: Always Be Tweaking
You always need to be tweaking your App Store presence. All the time. Part of this is going to be in app updates. Sometimes it’s going to be an icon update, so that your app is branded with ‘new’ or in a holiday theme. Sometimes it’s going to be responding to user comments with an update.
But a lot of time, your tweaks are going to be significantly smaller and more mundane. You should be tweaking your keywords all the time:
- Try different combinations of what your competitors rank for
- Try different combinations of singular vs plural (plural is not always bad)
- Try different misspellings of your actual keywords
They’re always a balancing act, so they need constant attention to keep them in line.
Getting noticed in the app store takes a lot of patience and a lot of skill, but you can certainly bend the cards in your favour. ASO can help you compensate for a less robust marketing budget, or the fact that you’re an unknown in a world of giant app dev companies. ASO is there to put your product in front of people who want to buy it.
You’d be get optimizing.
Bonus hack pro tip!
What? A sixth you say? In a listicle of five? I know, crazy stuff. Honestly though for some awesome tips and tricks on how to get your app noticed and ASO in general, look to its older, venerable cousin SEO. There are literally millions (1.26, to be exact) of articles on how to hack search engine results and a lot of them are going to be applicable or adaptable to the App Store. So get googling!