Text ASO tutorial for the App Store and Google Play
We conducted a survey and found out that 40% of marketers do not know how text optimization works and how it affects the visibility of your app. In this article, we will talk about it in detail.
What is ASO?
Well, let us elaborate on it one by one. You must already know what App Store Optimization is. If you don’t, please read this article. ASO can be devoted to two main components – graphics and text.
Graphic ASO is primarily used to increase conversion and deals with icons, screenshots, videos, and ad banners. Graphic ASO is one of the major factors to influence a user when they decide if they’d like to install an app. High-quality graphic ASO can increase the conversion significantly and help you get a larger number of installs. We have designed some infographics so that you can understand how ASO makes users decide to install an app.
Now let us talk about text ASO. It consists of five components:
- Selecting the semantic core.
- Prioritizing keywords by popularity, competitiveness, and complexity.
- Composing text elements like app title, short description, description, the field for keywords (for App Store)
- Analyzing the indexation after an update.
- Continuous optimization of items 1 to 4.
With text ASO, you will achieve the following goals:
- Expand the semantic core and increase app visibility.
- Boost your ranking by the keywords your target audience is looking for.
- Increase the conversion from views to installs.
Importance of the app store search
About 65% of installs in app stores come from the search. Users type keywords in the search bar, find what they want, and then install it. The more relevant keywords the app has and the higher its ranking, the more installs it gets.
High ranking is incredibly important. If your app is out of Top 10, users are less likely to see it since the probability of them scrolling further is extremely small. At best, you might get some percent of the traffic, but this is probably not worth it.
One of the most important factors for a high ranking is the number of installs driven by the keyword. But if your app has low retention or performance issues are frequent, the algorithms will pessimize its ranking as user satisfaction and best experience are the stores’ highest priority.
How do I expand the semantic core?
First, you need to get an understanding of where to put keywords and how relevant they may be considered by store algorithms. It will help the algorithms to understand what your app is about.
While making a semantic core, remember about different locales. Choose ones with potential users, make the keyword research, and update your metadata (and screenshots). This way, you’ll increase your semantic core and understand what locales are relevant for your app to make data-driven decisions about translating the app.
In the infographic above, you can see text elements that are indexed, and how relevant they are.
Accordingly, selecting keywords is the next task. The most important thing to understand is that working with keywords involves a decent amount of iterations and calibrations. This is not a one-time action but part of an app promotion strategy. The keyword management methodology looks like this:
Let us study each item separately.
Selecting the semantic core
Start with a simple question – what do users need in the app? After that, you can create a list of keywords of interest. For example, we have a fitness app, so keywords like “best biceps exercises” or “working out at home” are quite relevant.
Remember that it makes no sense to target irrelevant keywords since users are very unlikely to use them to install your app. Some apps add popular keywords like sporting events or major news and attract a lot of bad quality traffic. Therefore, conversion and retention rates noticeably drop. The app may then lose its ranking and, in the worst case, leave the search results.
Well, you have an impressive list of interesting and relevant keywords now. Your next step is to decide which of them you would like to use.
The main measure of a keyword is its frequency. Keywords may be:
- high-frequency (“hot” requests, brands, common words, head-tail);
- mid-frequency (niche phrases, mid-tail);
- low-frequency (professional vocabulary, little-known queries, long-tail).
First, you should target long-tail keys. What is the difference between regular keywords and long-tail ones? Let us show it by the following example: “Football” is a high-frequency head-tail keyword (“FIFA” games and the like come to the search results). “Champions League standings 2018” is a low-frequency long-tail keyword (in the search results, you will find statistics apps). The first keyword is general and high frequency, but very competitive and complex at the same time. The second one is more accurate and specific but less frequent and competitive, and, accordingly, it will be easier to get to the top by using it.
Usually, keywords consist of three to five words. The more accurate and specific the query, the higher the probability of conversion. In addition, with this type of search, people are willing to pay because they want to solve a specific problem.
Targeting high-frequency keywords from the very beginning is pointless since this requires good ranking by adjacent, less frequent keywords and excellent app performance like the number of installs, retention, stability, etc.
As you can see in the infographic above, over 40% of the audience uses mid- and long-tail keywords, so work on them first.
Now you have picked up a couple of dozens of keywords. It’s about time to put them in the right fields. The keywords that are most important to you will go to the title while less important ones will go to the short description/subtitle and keywords field (App Store), and the remaining ones will go to the description (Google Play).
How do I work on the title:
- Make sure you use the maximum number of characters allowed by a store. It’s 30 for the App Store and 50 for Google Play;
- Make sure you use your brand in the app title as users are looking for either specific keywords or the app name;
- Use the keywords that are most relevant to your app;
- Do not duplicate words
An example of a good title and formatting:
There are a brand name and a clear description of what the app focuses on.
An example of a bad title and formatting:
It is completely unclear what the app is about, what it does and why.
How do I work on the short description and subtitle?
Use the maximum number of characters and find a balance between the keywords being interesting to store algorithms and, at the same time, a readable and selling text. Keep in mind that, in App Store, a short description is equally important as the keywords box, so fill it properly to maximize conversion to installs.
There is a bug in the App Store with subtitle indexing. If you use all the 30 symbols the last keyword is not indexing. Make sure to use 29 out of 30 not to lose any traffic.
What do I do with the app description?
It is not indexed in App Store but it is indexed by the Google search engine. Therefore, some keywords will fit just right but this topic is more SEO-related.
On Google Play, a description is not indexed as well as a title and a short description but is nevertheless important. You don’t need to strive for all 4,000 characters since Google is fighting spam and long texts can lower your ranking. 2,500 characters will be enough. Try to integrate keywords organically into the text so that they sound good in the context. Keyword repetitions are not required and you can stop by two repetitions. It’s important for Google to understand the general semantic core of your app, and the new Tags feature can help Google do it. You may want to conduct a survey with a different number of tags (you can add up to 5 of them).
About 2% to 5% of users read the description in the App Store and on Google Play. Therefore, it almost does not affect the conversion to installs. The first 145 characters are important in the App Store as they are visible on the app page.
Keep in mind the keywords box in the App Store. Our advice here:
- use keywords with few syllabi (“football”, “earnings” and so on);
- separate keywords with commas;
- leave no spaces between keywords;
- don’t duplicate words;
- in languages that use hieroglyphs, commas and spaces are not required.
Reflection and monitoring
Use Checkaso.io to find out how well your app is ranked by search queries.
The keyword indexing can take anywhere from one day in the App Store to a month on Google Play. For some keywords, your app will be well indexed from the beginning, for some, it won’t. Accordingly, analyze where you stand, figure out the possible reasons why things are exactly like this, what worked well and what didn’t, and proceed to the next iteration.
Imagine you have a short description with a good keyword, by which the app is indexed 11th. You can move it to the title; the app will most likely be indexed with a better ranking in the near future.
Working on text ASO is a long and iterative process. There are more subtleties to it like localization, latent-semantic analysis, visual keyword recognition, and many other things. Moreover, each store has its own way of dealing with keyword queries. Each of these topics deserves an article.
Good text ASO combined with smart graphic ASO is the best way to boost organic installs, which should be your goal.
Good conversions to you!
If you have any questions let’s go to the comments. Any problems with text ASO?