CREATE KEYWORD-RICH APP STORE METADATA13 of October 2016
App Store Optimization (ASO) is a big topic for anyone working on a mobile app. For those new to the subject, it basically means futzing around with the title, description, keywords, and images that you upload to the App Store.
There is plenty of advice out there that gives you up-to-date practices for the latest algorithm changes in iTunes and Google Play. Rather than write a massive blog post about the ins and outs of all the strategies, today we’ll be giving you a quick and dirty guide for getting started today with choosing keywords and building great metadata for your app.
This SOP will give you a jumping off point and is designed to get you going in the right direction. Once you’ve completed this task however, the job isn’t done. In fact, with ASO the job is never done. Working on ASO is a constant tweaking process. Check out the More Resources section in the sidebar once you’ve finished this task to find out where to go next.
THE ASO PERSONALITY TEST
Those who like tinkering with the details thrive in the task of finding the perfect mix of keywords, imagery, and content for ASO. These are the types of people who probably took apart the toaster as a kid, once they had discovered Daddy’s toolbox. If you’re not one of those people, it’s best to outsource ASO if you have the budget for it. You need a detail oriented person who loves statistics to get the most out of your ASO. If your budget is tight, you can at least get started with this SOP in order to get a baseline and decide how much effort to put in later.
IS ASO REALLY NECESSARY?
Getting your app seen in the App Store is the best way to generate organic app downloads from your audience. There is no exact formula for completing this task, but there are some pretty stable principles that you can learn in order to get started.
The two most important things for ASO is the title of your app and the keywords associated with it. When you choose to name your app, you should try to be as descriptive as possible. Make it obvious what the app helps people do. This is important when people are searching for your app in the App Store, because they have likely never heard of you or your company before.
Apple and Google both have their own set of requirements when creating the metadata for your app. For example, with regards to the title, Google only allows you 30 characters while Apple allows you quite a bit more. It used to be recommended for Apple that you utilize all of the characters available to you in the app title field in your meta-data however it seems to be the trend lately that Apple penalizes you for keyword-stuffing or adding unnecessary data in this field. The point is, create a title that is relevant and descriptive without keyword-stuffing.
ASO is very similar to web SEO in that if you overuse specific keywords, you’ll be penalized. So when creating your keywords, try using some synonyms as these may be keywords that your competitors have not thought of.
The next thing you should consider is your competition. If you rank for a keyword that has very high traffic but you rank in the 200s, this would be a waste of keyword space because no one will scroll down 200 apps to find you. Instead, go for more specific keywords or phrases for which you are most likely to rank in the top 10 slots within the App Store.
There are several free tools available for monitoring and choosing keywords which have high traffic but low competition in the App Store. Here’s a list of some of the good ones to get you started:
When using these tools, the most important thing to consider is relevance. The next thing you should consider is competition.
Google Play doesn’t have a separate keywords field in the metadata for your app on the App Store. For an Android app, you’ll need to strategically place your keywords inside of your app’s description. Google will also penalize you for over-using specific keywords so again, follow good SEO principles like you would on a blog post. Use descriptive words which excite your user about your app while using relevant keywords- but don’t overdo it.
Google’s app description is also quite a bit longer than the description you’re allowed in iTunes, so feel free to be more informative and use this space to its entirety. Keep in mind however, that the user will most likely only read the first paragraph and decide based off of that whether not to download the app. Make sure the first paragraph clearly describes the benefits to the user and functions available your app.
For Google Play, organic search makes up 80% of app downloads. Similarly to iTunes, Google Play has an algorithm for ranking apps. Most of this is a mystery, however there are some things that we do know. Among these is certainly ratings. If you have 200 reviews this will definitely have a positive effect on your ranking. A consistently high number of downloads will also improve your ranking in Google Play.
Users may also stumble across your app when doing a keyword search in Google when they’re working on a computer. Take advantage of this by making sure that your metadata is suitable for both experiences. Whether the user is on a small screened phone or at their work computer, make sure the metadata looks great and is easy to read.
Google also allows you some extra fields to enter information into that iTunes does not have. For example, there is a promotional text area which gives you the opportunity to write a one-sentence description that summarizes your app. This description is all that most mobile users will read of your app’s metadata because they will have to click down to view the full app description.
STRATEGIES FOR TRACKING YOUR ASO
Once your metadata is finalized, decide how you’re going to measure its performance. If you make any changes to the metadata, make sure you do it little by little so that you’re able to accurately measure the impact that it has on your app downloads and visibility in the App Store. Also consider that the strategy for each App Store will be different. Don’t be afraid to change the Google Play app description so that it’s totally different from the iTunes app description if it will improve your downloads or rankings. As long as it’s telling the story of your app, that’s all that matters.
The SOP download provided above gives you detailed instructions for how to create optimized metadata that will fully utilize all of the opportunities available in the App Stores, both for Google Play and for iTunes. It lays special emphasis on walking you through the steps to do good keyword research. This is a task you can and should outsource from time to time in order to discover new keyword gems that can make a big difference in your App Store visibility.