7 simple steps to rank higher in store search results
In 2020, 70% of users found and installed apps from Search. Search is the first step in the user acquisition funnel. You can’t ignore this channel. You need to use all the opportunities to rank higher. Let’s list the main ones.
1. Choose the right category
There are a lot of factors affecting your conversion rate, one of them is choosing the right category. Too obvious? Meanwhile, hundreds of apps fail already at this step. If the app is relevant to the chosen category, algorithms can better rank it. Do not forget about channel Browse/Explore and impressions in the ‘Similar applications’ block too.
Popular brands can change categories to get more installs from less competitive niches. For example, a game can be placed into ‘Entertainment’, a dating app, or a social network — into ‘Lifestyle’. So, Telegram in Google Play (RU locale) is in the ‘Communications’ category, Zoom in ‘Business’, and Tinder in ‘Lifestyle’. But what is permissible for Jupiter may not be permissible for a bull.
According to our research, some categories are more competitive than others in terms of ASO. Among the most ‘complex’ ones are Business, Education, Lifestyle. For example, an average ASOindex of the category ‘Education’ on the App Store is 7,8.
When optimizing your description on Google Play, check it for content classification using the Natural Language API tool. You will see which categories Google has assigned your content and its ‘confidence’ score. Keep in mind, that the categories are thematic and they are not the same as the store categories. They help to evaluate how the algorithms perceive your app and which users it will be recommended to.
2. Use only precise keywords in ASO
Use only those key queries that relate to your optimization strategy. Evaluate appropriate keywords based on the development stage of your app. Let’s say you are a beginner. You just got into the store and you want to beat them all as soon as possible. It seems to you that the most popular keywords definitely will help. But it’s not entirely true. If your app is not authoritative and completely unknown, it’s better to start optimizing with long low-frequency queries. They have low complexity because they’re less competitive. Using them, it will be easier for the app to reach the top. Gradually, you can start using mid-frequency and high-frequency keywords.
3. Avoid spam and metadata errors
You can duplicate keywords (sometimes you have to), but it’s crucial to pay attention to the repetition density. Keywords and duplicates should not exceed 2% of the entire text. If you have more, it will be considered as spam and won’t help you get higher.
By the way, the App Store distinguishes symbols, diacritics, and gaps in keywords: «media converter» and «media converter:» will have different search results. Generally, the store itself indexes by keywords with special symbols.
4. Test the graphics of the app page
Monitor the changes of your competitors’ graphics. Notice how often they upgrade graphic ASO and if they adapt it for the holidays (seasonal ASO). It will help to have a good eye for graphics and create your own design hypothesis (how you can stand out). It’s very important to test graphics. There are three main options:
- Metadata upgrades (comparing before and after)
Upgrade graphics and analyze conversion for the same periods before and after. Usually, a week is enough. Evaluate the channels of the organic traffic — Search and Impressions.
- Special tools (for example, SplitMetrics or Storemaven)
It is the most expert way (and it is the least cost-effective). The advantages are a large number of tools and expert services in conducting tests and validating the results. It is efficient A/B testing.
- With the help of Search Ads (only for the App Store)
It is a paid option for graphic analysis. You add new screenshots to current ones, launch two ad campaigns in Search Ads for the same keywords. In the first case, keep everything the same, in the second, put a new version in front, for which you need to create a Creative Set in the Search Ads account and select an ad preview with new graphics for the second campaign. After a while, you can evaluate its performance.
We can recommend some useful tools for ASO. The first one, the ASO kit, allows you to quickly add mockups and calls to action on screenshots. Also, you can draw inspiration from Scrnshts and Screenshotcreator.
5. Increase your app rating
An app with a 3* rating loses half of its potential installs, and if your product has a 1* and 2* rating, it loses almost all potential installs. How to fix it? Several life hacks to help:
1) Stay polite, when you answer negative reviews. If the criticism is constructive and you have fixed the problem, you can ask the user to correct the rating.
2) Analyze the negative reviews of your competitors. This way, you can avoid similar mistakes. Plus, you can evaluate how good their user support is.
3) Increase the number of positive reviews: remind users to rate your app, when they use it. Choose the right time for it: for example, after completing a level in the game, after purchasing in the app, or after a certain number of app openings.
4) Always respond to the reviews, even positive ones. Do it on time. Especially, when it comes to working on negative reviews.
5) Avoid using ‘grey’ schemes. For example, buying reviews. Usually, it’s very easy to track down. They can be blocked.
6. Promote in-app purchases
IOS 11 provides the ability to promote in-app purchases and subscriptions along with the product itself: they get a separate section on the product page and appear in search results in the store. You can now show up to 20 in-app purchases with a 30-character name and 45-character description.
In the App Store, you can promote up to 20 in-app purchases, using a 30-character name (it gets indexed) and a 45-character description (it doesn’t get indexed). The problem is, developers often don’t know what keywords their in-app purchases are indexed by. Meanwhile, it is important to monitor.
- How your in-app purchases are promoting by position;
- How well the name has worked for search optimization;
- How do your competitors work on in-app purchases?
Imagine that both your app and in-app purchases are shown to the user using the relevant keyword. You can try to occupy the entire search results. The probability of conversion to install is much higher in this case. We recommend experimenting with in-app ASO iterations as well as other text elements.
7. Do not disregard the ASO audit
ASO audit allows you to understand how efficiently the app is optimized. Often, it is a professional look from the outside that is needed to see your weaknesses.
Experts analyze all page elements in the store: texts, indexing, ranking of the app by keywords, graphics, rating and etc.
The full professional ASO audit is included in Publisher and Agency tariff plan.
If you want to get more life hacks for promotion in the store — save the book ‘Free & Easy ways to improve text ASO and boost installs’. It contains everything you need to know about textual ASO and how indexing works. As a bonus — it contains professional life hacks from David Margaryan, our Head of the ASO.
Do you want more practice? Try our tools for free — we have 7-day trials.