Are you wondering how to carry out your own ASO marketing strategy? Here, you will find a clear step-by-step process to carry out your ASO and aim for results. The purpose of this article is to give you a practical guide to perform your ASO marketing strategy. Keep an eye on our blog for more ASO articles and tips.
ASO – App Store Optimization – is a fundamental marketing strategy to maximize the exposure of your app on the Apple Store and Google Play Store. Through research and analysis, and adopting your creativity and experience, you will optimize your keywords in order to improve your positioning in the search results. Without ASO, your promotional app activity is incomplete.
In our previous post on the topic, we mentioned the main aspects that determine what needs attention in order to aim high in the app store rankings. If you are new to ASO, I recommend you to read it.
Before moving on, let’s consider one simple statistic which reinforces the importance of ASO. As stated at the WWDC on September 9th 2014, there are now over 1.3 million apps on the Apple Store (and approximately the same number on the Google Play Store). It is getting harder everyday to compete in the rankings considering that, according to VentureBeat.com, roughly 60,000 apps are uploaded exclusively on the Apple App Store every month.
Today, we will focus on how to choose and optimize your keywords. There are two distinct ways to reference your app with the help of keywords: (1) app name and (2) keywords (see table below for Apple Store and Google Play Store characteristics):
|App name, maximum number of characters
|Keywords, maximum number of characters
I will guide you step-by-step on a functional and result-oriented process.
Step 1 – Prepare your Excel sheet
Open a blank Excel sheet and name your columns accordingly: Keyword, ST Traffic, ST Difficulty (iPhone), ST Difficulty (Android), Google Traffic, Google Difficulty, iPhone Apps, iPad Apps, and Android Apps. On the right hand side of your Excel sheet, input these three words: App name, Keywords and Keyword length (add the formula =LEN(x) to sum the keyword characters).
ST is the abbreviation for Sensor Tower – a App Marketing and Mobile SEO Keyword platform. Today, we will be using this specific platform to analyze your keywords, however, other platforms exist such as: AppAnnie, Localytics, AppMind and MobileDevHQ which serve as the same purpose.
Using ST, you will monitor the traffic intensity and the difficulty level for each keyword on the different mobile devices, as well as on Google Search – since users also search for apps on the internet. The last three columns express the quantity of apps referenced for each keyword.
Step 2 – Brainstorm on Keywords
Your second task today is to make a list of about 30 keywords relevant to your app. Your focus for now is quantitative.
I have some tools to propose you which I encourage you to use. I do not have a preference for one or another as they all contribute positively in my research to find a diverse range of keywords. The list is here below:
- Google.com Autocomplete – Visit google.com and start typing a word. You will notice Google proposes a series of suggested words. The suggestions are linked to the most common words searched. Select which ones are most relevant to your app and add them to your Excel sheet.
- App Store Search Bar – Open the App Store on your iOS or Android device. Same as the above, the search engine will suggest you words which indicate words and phrases that are most popular. You might want to consider analyzing these further. Write them down on your Excel sheet.
- Synonyms.net – Find alternatives to a word you have in mind. There are a lot of great suggestions here.
- Thesaurus.com – Similar website as above, nice diversity of suggested synonyms.
- Onelook Reverse Dictionary – Another great rubric of countless suggestions.
- Amazon.com – Visit amazon.com and type in the category of your app and filter by bestsellers. You will see which products sell the most, and therefore, able to select the most relevant keywords that describe your app. You will have a high chance that this word is well ranked on ST.
- Searchman.com – a similar service offered by ST called ‘Keyword Spy’, Searchman.com allows you to enter a competitor app and monitor the keywords used. Write down the ones you believe best fit your app.
Relevance – this is the most important criteria when choosing your keywords. Put yourself in the shoes of your potential user and start thinking about technical terms, abbreviations and phrases they might use. Once you have completed your list of keywords, you are ready to move on to the next step.
Step 3 – Analyze Your Keywords
It is time to select the keywords that you are going to use for your app name and for your keywords. Your focus has shifted to a qualitative analysis. Similar to the keywords used for SEO, the keywords used for ASO are evaluated in function of:
- Traffic – the number of users who search an app using that keyword;
- Difficulty – the number of apps that are referenced using that keyword.
At this point, two other criteria have to be taken in consideration, traffic and difficulty. The more a keyword generates traffic, the more reason to include that keyword in your list. However, the more apps referenced for that keyword, the harder it will be climb the rankings.
Therefore, it is important to consider both variables when choosing your keywords. To remain competitive, you should select the keywords that have a high traffic and a low difficulty. As specified earlier, the quality is nevertheless important so stick to keywords that are relevant to your app. The tool we will use today to evaluate your keywords is called Sensor Tower.
Follow these simple steps:
- Create yourself an account on Sensor Tower if you haven’t yet done so;
- Once logged in, move your mouse on the left hand side and a slide menu will appear – click on ‘Keyword rankings’;
- You will be prompt to insert an app. Since this step cannot be avoided, simply search an app you know well (perhaps in the same category of your current app) and select it – we will consider this app later on;
- Now, you are asked to input your keywords. Import the ones in your Excel sheet with the help of a comma to separate each keyword;
- Scroll down, you will see your list of keywords with all the data relevant to it;
- Simply copy & paste the data in your Excel sheet.
Now, you will analyze how your keywords are referenced on Google using Google Keyword Planner. Visit the website and sign in to your Google Account. Then, simply import your keywords all at once with the help of a comma – to separate each keyword – and input the relevant data in your Excel sheet.
Once you have input all the data in your Excel sheet for all the keywords, you are ready to carry your qualitative analysis one step further.
Start by highlighting in green all the keywords you believe are worth keeping. To help you evaluate this, select all keywords which have a traffic level above 5.5 and a difficulty level which doesn’t exceed the traffic indicator.
When this is done, you need to refine your list further by taking in consideration the last three columns: iPhone Apps, iPad Apps, and Android Apps. As specified earlier, these columns express the quantity of apps on the app store listed for each keyword. Here, the objective is to aim for keywords that have a low competition, hence, a low quantity of apps listed for the keyword. An acceptable number defining low competition is 1,000 and below. However, do not limit yourself to this. Exceptions exist when comparing the figures with the other columns. Imagine you have a keyword which has a traffic indicator of 8.5 (out of 10). Since this indicates a high traffic, you can base yourself on a higher competition level of 3,000 apps for example.
Your job now is to clean your list of keywords which you highlighted in green. You can use the numbers mentioned above as a guideline to selecting your keywords.
When this is done, let’s perform a last task before moving on. Your task here is to choose a few competitor apps which we will track in the next step.
To do this, go to ST and click on “Keyword rankings” on the left hand side of the web page. Then, look on the right hand side – you will notice a column of apps. These apps are the top ranking apps that are listed for the keyword you selected below. Hence, scroll down and click on another keyword to see which apps rank highest for the new keyword selected. If you want to add more keywords, simply scroll all the way down and click on the green button “Add New Keyword”.
Enjoy this process to discover which apps are ranked the highest for each of your chosen keywords. Copy and paste 5 apps on your note pad. You are now ready to move on to the next step.
Step 4 – Spy on your Competitor Keywords
An extended strategy to optimize your keywords is discovering the keywords of your competitors.
You are able to search the competitor app using Searchman.com as well as the ‘Keyword Spy’ tool on ST. Here, you will discover the keywords used for the selected app which is a great way to find new keywords. Search the name of your competitor app and immediately see which keywords the app is using. If you discover some new interesting keywords, add them to your Excel sheet and fill in the data.
When you believe you have a complete list of keywords, it is time to select the best ones. Read on to discover how you do this.
Step 5 – Selecting the Best Keywords
It is now the moment to decide which keywords will build your app name, and which ones will be your keywords.
Scroll up again to check what the character limit is so you avoid selecting too many words and having your app rejected during submission.
Regarding the app name, I suggest you use the main keywords that best describe your app. After your icon, your potential user will look at your app name so it is vital for it to be relevant. You do not want to mislead your potential user in an app that does not meet his/her expectations. You are simply losing potential users and therefore downloads. You need to be descriptive in your app name. Avoid using undescriptive words, for example: “a”, “the” and “is”.
Tip: if you have selected some keywords that score high in difficulty, place one or two in your app name. Why? Because the keywords in the app name are given more importance and weigh more in the keyword search algorithm. This will increase your chances to compete and succeed in the ‘ASO battle’. Use another color to highlight the keywords that you will include in your app name.
Regarding the keywords you highlighted in green, make sure you take advantage of the maximum characters allowed to fill up the character limit. Select the words that you believe are most relevant and start composing your selection by adding them next to the cell called “Keywords” on the right hand side of your Excel sheet. Separate every word by a comma without any space in between. Refer to the cell below – where we introduced the formula – to count the number of characters you are using.
Congratulations! You finally have a quality App Name and Keywords. You are ready to submit your metadata on the app store.
Step 6 – Post Submission: Track your App on Sensor Tower
When your app is published on the Store, find your app on ST and start monitoring your keywords. The information which is interesting to analyze are the last two columns in the “Keyword rankings” section. Scroll down. You will see where your app is ranking compared to the total number of apps listed for each keyword. This indicates whether or not your app has a chance of being seen. Your aim is to have your app within the top 10 apps listed for each keyword. Obviously, this is not an easy task so even if you are in the Top 50, you should be satisfied. If not, your app has very little chances to be seen and therefore downloaded.
It is important you keep an eye on this information in order to keep optimizing your ASO – I suggest you update your keywords every 30-days. This gives the time for your app to stabilize for the keyword used so you can properly measure if the keyword is worth keeping or not.
It is important you spend time on your ASO. Finding keywords that score well in traffic and difficulty ratings is not an easy game. You will be surprised on how some words are sometimes barely used and have a high traffic! When you find one of these, you definitely want to consider including it in your app name or keywords. Use an Excel sheet to organize your keywords and input the data to draw your conclusions on which keywords you are going to use. Differentiate your app name and your keywords with two different colors. You need to track your keyword performance, using Sensor Tower or another platform, and update your keywords every 30-days – approximately – by resubmitting a new binary to the Store. This is vital to keep your ASO updated and keep aiming for maximum optimization.
Thank you for reading, I hope you found this useful. If you have any questions write them in the comments below and I will be glad to answer your questions!
In my next article, I will be revealing some more great information on ASO and how to make sure you stay in the game. Stay tuned!
Chupamobile offers an ASO service starting from $199. Contact us for more information: email@example.com or ask your project manager directly if you are reskinning an app with the Chupamobile Reskin service.