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The mobile app content ecosystem, part 5: app store optimization

woman taking a picture of people riding elephants with an iPhone

This is it—the final post in our series about the mobile app content ecosystem!

So far, we’ve covered:

  1. How apps are different from websites and have their own content ecosystem
  2. App indexing and how it helps users discover your app through search
  3. Push notifications and how they help your app keep users engaged
  4. Product content—both its substance and its structure—and how it helps apps survive and thrive

In this post, we’ll look at the final “S” of our APPS acronym: store optimization.

What is app store optimization?

It surprises some folks to learn that the app stores (Google Play and Apple’s App Store) have their own search ecosystems, analogous to, but somewhat separate from, Google and Bing.

Sometimes called “ASO” for short, app store optimization is to apps what SEO (search engine optimization) is for websites: it’s the process of providing the best app store listing you can for the purposes of getting your app discovered by users in app store search.

Why is app store optimization important?

Let’s look at these survey results reported by TechCrunch: MobileAppPart5 1 47% of iPhone users reported finding the last app they downloaded using App Store search. (Source: TechCrunch.) MobileAppPart5 2 53% of Android users reported finding the last app they downloaded using Google Play search. (Source: TechCrunch.)

By far, the leading way that users find apps across both the iOS and Android platforms is store search.

Optimizing your app store listing

Okay, now we know that app store optimization is important, how do we do it?

First of all, know that app store listings comprise lots of pieces. Here’s a list of the elements of your app store listing that you should plan to create and optimize:

  • App Name
  • App Icon
  • Category
  • Description
  • Screenshots
  • Preview Video
  • Localization
  • Release Notes
  • Ratings & Reviews MobileAppPart5-3

A typical app store listing has lots of moving parts to consider.

When it comes to the text components of your store listing—the app name, description, and release notes—the place to start is keyword research.

Keyword research for mobile apps

There are plenty of tools available to help you with keyword research. The one I’ve used most is called App Annie. Though it’s a paid tool, App Annie does include a free tier that allows you to search for keywords related to your app.

If your app hasn’t launched yet, use App Annie to search for close competitors. You’ll see a dashboard listing popular keywords that users search for to find the app. You can then build those keywords into your description, app name, and more.

One note specific to iOS: Apple’s App Store provides a 100-characters keyword field where you can insert your keywords directly. The 100 character allotment includes spaces, so leave those out and separate words with a comma instead. Also, there’s no need to include compound words that have a space between them, like “time zone.” Just include each component word separately, and you’re good.

The keywords you enter into the App Store might look like this: time,zone,converter,UTC,pilot,Zulu,timezone,GMT,clock

Our 10-step checklist for optimizing your store listing

Now you can incorporate those keywords into your app name, description, and release notes to help your app surface for relevant store searches.

If you’re launching or updating an app, we created a special downloadable checklist that helps you cover all your bases when optimizing your app listing. Download it now!

App Store Optimization Checklist (PDF)

Need help optimizing your app?

That’s it for our series on the mobile app content ecosystem. I hope you’ve learned some helpful tips for incorporate your mobile app into your organization’s content strategy.

Have a mobile app project we can help with? We’d love to chat about it—contact us.


Editor’s note: This blog post is the fifth in a series about the mobile app content ecosystem:

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