An App Store Optimisation primer by Gummicube

An App Store Optimisation primer by Gummicube

Dave BellThis post was written for The Distance blog by Dave Bell who is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Gummicube. In this role, Dave is responsible for overseeing the business strategy for the company, driving growth and market development. Dave is a pioneer of the mobile entertainment industry with more than 15 years of experience publishing, marketing and distributing mobile applications and games across carrier, direct to consumer and app store channels.

Over to Dave:

There’s no denying it – Apps are big business. There are currently over 2.3 million apps live on Apple’s App Store and more than 2.1 million apps on Google Play, with more being added each day. With the number of apps quickly ballooning on both platforms, many developers are asking the same question: besides a feature from Apple or Google, what’s the best way to get visibility on mobile?

ASO could be the answer you’re looking for.

This is the process of building, measuring and adjusting an app listing for the app stores. This process aims to make it easier for users to organically find your app when they search, and it can have a huge impact on the number of users who download your app.

Even with the proliferation of Facebook, Twitter and television ads, search continues to be the largest source of app discovery and installs. An optimized listing will be able to capitalize on this fact, putting your app in front of as many relevant users as possible. Without optimizing your app, you run the risk of missing out on users searching for apps like yours, just because they can’t find it.

In order to optimize your app, you must first understand how apps are ranked. Apple and Google both use different methods for determining rankings in search, so in order to be successful you must optimize separately for each.

Apple takes several key factors into account, starting with your app’s name and keywords. By scanning over the words in your title and keyword bank, Apple can determine which words and phrases make sense for your app. Words in your keyword bank and title can be combined to create new phrases and terms. For example, if you have an app called “Rent Cars – Get the Best Deals” and your keyword bank includes “rental,cars,drive”, you would probably appear in search results for terms like “car rental deals” and “rent the best cars”.

Google Play, on the other hand, doesn’t have a keyword bank where you manually enter words to target. Instead, Google scans through your app’s name and its short and long descriptions to determine which words and phrases are most relevant. Words in your title are given the highest priority, with your short description following, and your long description at the bottom of the ladder. It makes sense then to target core terms in your app’s title and priority terms in your short description, fleshing your rankings out with the terms in your long description. To continue with the rental car example above, if you’d really like to focus on the phrase “Car Rental Deals”, you’d want to place the term in your title.

Another key difference between Google Play and Apple comes in the way that terms can be combined. While on Apple you can combine words from your title and keyword bank to form new phrases, on Google Play you have to write out the terms exactly as you want them to be recorded by Google. That means that in order to rank for “Car Rental Deals”, you will have to specifically write the phrase “Car Rental Deals” in your title, short description or long description.

While the above information might make it tempting to cram as many keywords as possible into your titles and descriptions, it’s wise to consider the other ramifications of keyword stuffing. Apple, for example, rarely approves titles that exceed 100 characters in length. Even if they do, consider your app listing from a user’s perspective. Nobody likes to read a clumsy title bogged down in trending words, and a description filled with unnatural language isn’t likely to convert anyone.

Now that you know the basics of App Store Optimization, you’re ready to start climbing your way to the top of that 4-million-strong pile with a strong title, keyword bank and description.

Get in touch below to discuss your ASO needs.