App Store Optimization in 3 easy steps

Posted by Friedrick on January 22, 2013 in Great Articles, Mobile Apps

Every day I speak with app marketers working hard trying to succeed at app marketing and app store optimization. Lots of patterns have emerged from these conversations, but the biggest one is general confusion about what makes up app store optimization.

It’s a murky topic with lots of variations and subsections, but I’ve found that breaking it down into the following 3 steps makes the process much simpler for app marketers to succeed.

Step 1: Find the right keywords

The first step is to find the best, most relevant keywords for your app. The goal here is to get ranked at all for keywords that matter to your app. At this point, it doesn’t yet matter how highly your app ranks, just that it does rank.
The best keywords to choose have lots of search volume, little competition, and are highly relevant to your app. In most instances, of course, high search volume has a direct correlation with competition. That is, the most searched for terms will have the most competition. As an app marketer, you will want to gauge your risk tolerance and decide, “do I go for the head terms — with the most volume and competition — or do I go for the tail where I have a better chance of ranking?” There’s no single right answer to this question; it’s something you’ll have to decide for yourself and your app.

Step 2: Rank highly for those keywords

Now that you have decided upon the keywords you want to rank for (your “keyword coverage”), you need to focus on ranking highly for those keywords.
In traditional web search SEO, this process requires both on-page (title tag, keyword density, etc) and off-page (link building, social, etc) work. The same is true with App Store Optimization: you have work to do both within your app’s meta-data as well as outside of your app’s meta-data.
For instance, within your app’s meta-data, including the appropriate keywords in your title gives more weight than in the keyword field. To give an analogy, your app’s title is like a <title> tag, while your publisher name is like an <h1> tag, and your keyword field is like normal text.
Outside of your app’s meta-data, you want to try to increase your app’s reputation (much like how building links increases a web site’s reputation). All else being equal, an app with a 5-star rating will rank higher than an app with a 1-star rating. Likewise, 1,000 5-star ratings is a stronger signal than 1 5-star rating. How many total downloads do you have? What about new downloads per day? These are all signals to the app stores about your app’s reputation and thus how highly in search results your app should rank.

Step 3: Convert visitors into users

You’ve built a broad keyword coverage, you’ve tweaked your app to rank highly for those keywords, and now you reach the final step of App Store Optimization: converting visitors into users. Unlike the web where the moment a search result is clicked the user is taken directly to your page, in the app store ecosystem a search result just brings you to your app’s detail page within the app store. You still have to convert the visitor into downloading your app and becoming a user.
Converting a visitor into a user is all about optimizing the information on your app’s detail page: description copy, icon, screenshots, video (where applicable), rating, and reviews. It is essential to convey the value of your app to a user simply and effectively. Screenshots can do a great job of this, as can your description. Ensuring that you maintain a high rating and great reviews will give visitors the confidence that your app is worthwhile and validated from external sources. Learn more about optimizing your description for conversions.

Summary

Breaking app store optimization into these 3 simple steps will help you make sense of the process in a more discrete, manageable way.
Have you had success thinking about app store optimization? Do these steps map to what you’ve done?

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