App Store Optimization (ASO) is the long-term marketing strategy and process of continually improving app characteristics to boost visibility for your mobile app. The ASO process ranks your app via keyword searches in both stores and positions it to the top of search listings. Once an app reaches high keyword rankings, it is more likely to drive more downloads and subsequent revenue.
Depending on your app type, ASO can be used to maximize visibility, drive more traffic, increase organic installs, and improve conversion rates. Unless you’re an established brand, most users tend to discover apps through store searches, so it is crucial to have high visibility. All ASO isn’t limited to keywords- make an excellent first impression with compelling screenshots, beautiful icons, and positive user reviews.
Store conditions are continually changing, but ASO generally focuses on:
- Textual metadata (app title, subtitle, description, keywords, etc.)
- Competitors’ metadata
- Visible elements of the app page (icon, screenshot, and other visuals on the storefront page)
- User Acquisition via Apple Search Ads and other third parties
- Conversion Rate
Use our comprehensive ASO tool to build keyword shortlists, find new keywords, maintain your current rankings, track competitors, localize, and more. You can also delve much deeper into ASO with our Complete ASO Course.
Use our My Sales Metrics module to measure the progress and long term performance of your ASO updates. An important point to note is that both stores use different algorithms and will require different ASO strategies. You'll find that what works in the App Store may not necessarily work in the Play Store, ASO is an ongoing process that requires constant monitoring and improvement.
This guide will walk through best practices for ASO using Sensor Tower, including:
- Monitoring keyword rankings to improve organic growth
- Finding and Tracking New Keywords
- Optimizing your organic keyword strategy and keyword output
To begin finding new keywords, we first need to look at existing keywords and their rankings. Navigate to our Keywords Rankings module in the ASO section of App Intelligence to see all the estimated keywords the entered app ranks for.
The Keywords rankings page is split into two views; at the top, we have a graph displaying the ranking of each selected keyword from the table at the bottom of the page. Scroll down to click on any keyword to see the ranking changes on the graph. The keyword rankings table displays a breakdown of each keyword by:
Traffic score is measured by a logarithmic scale of 1-10 for the terms users are searching for in the app stores. Higher traffic indicates that more people are searching for this keyword. Lower scores of below 3 mean that not many people are searching for this keyword. We recommend an optimum number of 3.0 and above.
The Difficulty score is also on a scale of 1-10 based on how tough it is for your app to be ranked at the top of search listings using the selected keyword. A lower difficulty score means it is easier to be ranked in the top search results when this keyword is searched. A score of 10 indicates the highest amount of difficulty.
iPhone/iPad/Phone apps show the number of apps consistently ranking for the selected keyword.
- iPhone/iPad/Phone Rank is the current position your app ranks for via keyword searches in the store. If your rank is “-” then your app is not ranked for that specific keyword.
- Density is the measurement of how frequently a keyword is visible in an app’s metadata in the storefront. (calculated by taking the number of occurrences of the keyword in the app’s metadata on storefront page ÷ total number of terms in storefront page)
- Keyword Downloads are a percentage estimate of how many downloads come from each keyword. Estimates are from 2 days ago and measured over 1 day.
- Use the + icon to create keyword shortlists for each textual metadata, localization efforts, competitive insights, themes, and campaigns. These tabs will only appear when the entered app is selected for Keyword Rankings.
- Delete and remove keywords to stop tracking for them. Use our Edit Keywords mode to batch-remove any unnecessary phrases.
- Add New Keyword to discover the traffic score, difficulty level, and relevancy for any keywords. The main goal is to use relevant keywords with low difficulty and high traffic scores. Download keyword reports to view and keep track of successful combinations.
- Identify relevant keywords by checking if your direct competitors are also ranking for the same keyword. Scroll up to see the keyword rankings graph and see the top apps currently ranking for each keyword.
To replace existing keywords or discover new keywords, we can use the following modules:
- Keyword Suggestions: Use this module to find new keywords for any app or use this tool as a keyword output for competitor apps. Existing keywords (seed keywords) are utilized to find newer suggestions.
- Keyword Research helps check and review how relevant your potential keywords are for effectively ranking in the top 10 search listings and store results.
Keyword Spy helps evaluate your competitors' keywords and selection strategies by pulling in their keywords alongside any other app's keyword for side-by-side comparison. The numbers beside the keyword highlight the app's ranking. Keywords in the middle column are those shared by the two apps. Track these keywords directly in your tabs by clicking on each + icon or '+ Track these keywords'.
Once you're satisfied with your keyword selection, you'll need to optimize each keyword string using our Keyword Optimization module. Enter your keywords, separate with commas leaving no white spaces, and click Optimize.
Modify your string and efficiently use the character count allowed by the App Store. Our Keyword Character Count displays remaining characters. Avoid keyword stuffing here and use our color-coded tips and optimization suggestions to decide which keywords to use and remove.
- Green code indicates the keyword is right/good to use.
- Yellow code indicates the keyword is not needed. This includes singulars and plurals.
- Red code indicates the keywords to remove as it already appears in title, subtitle, or Publisher name.
ASO is an ongoing process that requires trialing and constant monitoring to find the perfect combinations that will drive organic traffic to your app. Continue tracking rankings weekly to analyze the performance of your app before and after any ASO changes. Connect your credentials and analyze these improvements in one place using My Sales Metrics. Filter by date range, device, category, and countries.
To summarize, ASO is simple once you know how to find, track, and monitor keywords. Always focus on relevancy, high traffic, and low difficulty keywords. After you have tracked and monitored your keywords for some time, remove keywords that are not working for you, and replace them with new keywords.
Develop a sample workflow to improve optimization results using the modules covered in this guide. Continue paying attention to your competitors and spot their various strategies and trends at different events or seasons.