SEO for apps, why and how? What is ASO?

I wrote a blog post in 2013 about how to optimize the SEO for published apps. When talking about SEO for apps, the correct term is ASO. ASO stands for App Store Optimization. As the blog post was very old but still got a lot of traffic I decided to remove the content and write a summary of the original blog post that is more up to date. I will also give you some useful links if you want to read more about this subject. Just keep in mind that both Apple and Google change how you can list your apps for maximum exposure.

SEO for apps, why bother?

If you have one or more apps published on either Apples App Store or Google Play then it’s very important to care about how you list your app. You have to do some research for good keywords (just as you do in SEO), make sure you use good images that display how to use the app and the features of the app, if possible you should consider making a short video, localize all the text to your target markets, and that’s just the beginning. ASO is not easy, but if you at least do some things that I’m going to list it’s much better than nothing.

I think that MOZ has a good article on this subject, start by reading that one. Just keep in mind that it was written in 2016 and some things have changed since then.

The top 10 things to improve you ASO (SEO for apps)

According to MOZ, these are the top 10 things to do (the bold text is from MOZ, the explanation is my thoughts):

  1. Understand your customers and competition. This means you need to know some about the audience for your app and what other apps that are your competitors.
  2. Choose the right app name. It’s important to choose a name that lets the user know what your app is about. I would also advise you to add some keywords to the title. Although that is a bit controversial. But remember, if your brand isn’t large (like Facebook, Instagram and so on), it’s important to let the user know what your app does when they see the app in the list that appears after a search.
  3. Maximize keywords. It’s really important to read the latest guidelines from Apple and Google regarding how you should use keywords. These guidelines change frequently.
  4. Create a compelling description. Write a good description that clearly describes the unique features of your app and how the app would benefit the user. Focus on the last part and think like this, “How can my app benefit user X?”.
  5. Make sure you have a good icon. The icon is more important than you might think. Often it’s the first thing that a potential user will see.
  6. Include screenshots and videos. Make sure you have good screenshots. Use screenshots with text to highlight features/benefits for the user. That can be a good thing to explain what the user sees and highlight a feature/benefit for the user.
  7. Localize your app listing. Start with the English listing and then add language for language. The bigger the market the more important it is to localize the app listing to that language. Not everyone in the world speaks English. And make sure you use correct grammar and spelling. Otherwise, it can have a negative effect on your app listing.
  8. Increase traffic with outside promotion. Make sure to set up a landing page for your app. The landing page is also a good way to collect potential customers information. You should also set up a Facebook page for your app and why not a Twitter account. The more ways you use to drive traffic to your app the better it is. You can also consider running an advertising campaign on Facebook. Personally, I’ve tried both Google and Facebook and have gotten the best results with Facebook ads. The last thing I’m going to advise you to do, try to find blogs in your app’s niche. If you find popular blogs, don’t be afraid to contact that person and ask them if they would like to try your app and maybe write some words about it on their blog.
  9. Update frequently. Both Apple and Google like apps that gets updated frequently. That shows them that your app is “alive”. Also, and maybe the most important thing, each time a new version of iOS or Android gets released. Make sure you try your app on that version so you’re sure that the app works when the update gets released to the public. Each time you update an app you also can write some funny text about new features. 🙂
  10. Encourage ratings and feedback. Try to get as many ratings as possible. But don’t overdo it. No user likes a popup the first time they start an app asking for a rating. Instead, if the user has used your app for a while, politely ask if they like the app. If they do, ask them to consider giving an honest review. Otherwise, ask them for feedback.

If you need help with ASO, contact me and I’ll see if I can help you. I have built apps since 2011.

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Just another developer and a true code monkey! I enjoy working will web, mobile and system development. I've been a developer for all my life (or at least since I was six years old) and have ~15 years work experience.

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