We love SEO. Should we love App Store Optimization equally (ASO)?

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Search engine optimization (SEO) is a proven marketing concept that most digital marketers have embraced. ASO, on the other hand, is a new and lesser known discipline, yet important to digital marketeers. This article answers common questions we get from clients on ASO. 

App Store Optimization - Winning, Ranking number 1.

What is ASO?

ASO is the process of optimizing your app presence in the App Stores by improving organic search ranking. Your ranking can be improved in selected app categories and for specific keyword searches in Apple’s App Store, Google Play and other apps stores. The ultimate goal is to increase downloads.

App Store Optimization is important because it enhances non-paid user downloads – a segment which generally has more loyal users, compared to paid downloads. ASO is essential because it is the primary way consumers find apps – through app store searches or browsing.

Is ASO relevant to my company?

Yes, of course, if your company has one or more apps. ASO is just as important for apps as SEO is important for websites. ASO will ensure that your app has a stronger presence and visibility in the App Stores.

What are the similarities between ASO and SEO?

There are many similarities between ASO and SEO. The core of both disciplines are the keywords. Keywords represent the language of your consumers, not using that language, chances are that your app will never be found organically or via search.

The competition is fierce in Apps Stores so you often have to select niche keywords. You rarely want to compete with thousands of other apps on specific keywords. You select your keywords by a thorough analysis of keyword search volumes, keyword competition, and your app’s value proposition. Read our article about selecting keywords.

What are the core elements of ASO?

Title and keywords are often seen as the core of ASO. The description and screenshots from your app are fundamental as well, and can be thought of as a landing page, where visitors are converted into downloads and new users.

App Store ratings and reviews influence consumers as well as your app’s rank in the App Stores. Google and Apple also keep track of how much your app is used – along with downloads and traffic – so the quality of your app is important to ensure a good ranking. That being said, we see apps with great ASO and low average ratings that rank high – which proves how important ASO can be.

Ready to optimize your mobile presence?

Do SEO and ASO influence each other?

The short answer is yes. Apps can appear as search results in Google. Google Searches can therefore drive installs of your apps, especially on mobile searches.

How often do I have to do ASO?

After your first ASO, you should see an instant effect in App Store ranking and downloads. Within a week or two the initial effect usually drops. To maintain and improve your app’s ranking, we recommend that you do ASO continuously on a bi-weekly, monthly or quarterly basis dependending on your time and budget.

ASO is an iterative process, a “test-and-learn” discipline that requires a structured approach. Rankings fluctuate on a day-to-day basis, therefore we recommend that you keep track of your rankings at least on a weekly basis.

Can I do ASO in-house?

ASO is a specialist job. If you have the skills and tools available – it is possible to do it in-house, especially if you have many apps or if apps are the core of your business.

That being said, it will take time and effort to build these capabilities internally. If you choose to keep the ASO work in-house you need dedicated ASO staffing and proper training to get good results. This is why ASO and SEO are typically outsourced. You need to have someone who is directly responsible for the apps, as you have for the website. Read our article about outsourcing of ASO.

Should I only do ASO to promote my apps?

No, ASO is only part of promoting an app. The best way to promote Apps is through a combination of web, social, and app marketing.

The most common way consumers find new apps is through App Store searching and browsing. The second most common way is through word of mouth. Having your users share and talk about your app can be achieved through an effective engagement strategy, where loyal “super” users (typically known as brand evangelists) are targeted to accelerate social sharing and word-of-mouth marketing.

You can also run ad campaigns, do Google Adwords app install campaigns, or even promote the app on TV. But you have to have the right balance of these tactics. And that depends on your budget. They have quite different price levels. See our “Visibility circle” below for more inspiration on App promotion.

ASO: App Store Optimization Circle 8-Steps to succesful Mobile and App ranking

Do I need an ASO strategy?

No, you don’t need an ASO strategy. ASO should be an integrated part of your long-term mobile or digital strategy. You need to continuously plan ASO activities and think holistically about how you can promote and improve your apps.

I have no budget for ASO – what should I do?

Digital marketing is about allocating resources for optimal effect, along with perfecting the synergy in the marketing mix. ASO budgeting is an integral part of the general digital marketing budget. Typically bigger corporations dedicate specific resources just for ASO, medium and smaller companies simply adjust current resources within their digital marketing budget. Here is a quick list of possible budgets that could fund your first ASO initiative.

  • Mobile marketing budget
  • Advertising or campaign budget
  • SEO budget
  • App promotion budget
  • Budget for “test-and-quick-wins”
  • Offline marketing budget

How do I get started with ASO?

The first step is to review the current keywords and rankings for your apps. Does your app description and screenshots motivate the user to download your apps, and to what degree is your app visible to users in App Stores? Is there room for improvement? If so, how? There are basically 2 options:

    1. Start your ASO journey with a small test. Change some of your keywords, improve your app description and title. Launch the app but make sure to track the changes. This article can also help you get started.
    2. Consult with us. We specialize in ASO, and can guide you through the process, advise you on keyword selection, description, visuals, and tracking the impact of your efforts.
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