App Store Optimization for iOS Apps (With Latest iOS Updates)

Just like the website SEO, you can also do App Store Optimization (ASO) of your iOS app in the AppStore to rank higher in the AppStore for the targeted keywords. Ranking high in the AppStore can help you gain more organic visibility and thus more organic downloads of your app without investing dollars. Here is a step by step guide on doing App Store Optimization of your app in the iOS AppStore.

App Title for ASO

Your app’s name plays a very critical role in how users discover it on the app store. Choose a simple yet catchy name that is easy to spell and hints at what your app does. An app name can be up to 30 characters long.

ASO App Name

Tips on writing the App Title

  • Use keywords and keep it simple, but make it catchy to stand out
  • Avoid confusion with other apps and brands
  • Make it relevant to your brand and identity

App Subtitle

This field appears under your app name and is limited to 30 characters only. The app’s subtitle is intended to summarize your app in a concise phrase. I would suggest you all consider using a subtitle, rather than your app name, to explain & summarize the value of your app in greater detail.

It is ideal to include some important keywords in the subtitle to communicate the value of your app. The important thing is that the contents of your subtitle will be indexed in the AppStore search, so be sure to make good use of the app subtitle to cover the important keywords.

Note: App subtitles were introduced in iOS 11.

Tips on writing the Subtitle

  • Subtitle directly contributes to App Store Ranking
  • Communicate your value proposition. This, unlike the actual description, will be visible in the search results. So make it count!
  • Avoid generic descriptions such as the “world’s best app.” Instead, highlight your app’s features or use cases that resonate with your audience
  • Make good use of the app subtitle to cover important keywords

ASO App Description

Begin with a concise statement of what the app does, and follow that with an attention-grabbing paragraph that includes a shortlist of the app’s main features. Apple gives a character limit of up to 4000 characters so this is your biggest opportunity to push all the keywords that you want to rank for. Just don’t keyword stuff. Keep in mind that your potential users who read this description are still humans, so the description needs to make sense, not just a bunch of keywords stuck next to each other.

Your main objective in the app description should be to entice people to download it, so start by highlighting how your app solves your target users’ problem. Then play around with the wording to incorporate the keywords that people would search for to find your app.

ASO Description

Tips on writing the App Description

  • The first sentence of your description should be the most important – this is where the users get the first impression of your app
  • Every word counts, so focus on your app’s unique features
  • Don’t add unnecessary or too many keywords to your description in an attempt to improve your search results
  • Avoid including specific prices in your app description
  • You can only update your app’s description when you submit a new version of your app

Promotional Text in ASO

Another new addition to the IOS 11 is the promotional text field. Your app’s promotional text appears at the top of the description and is up to 170 characters long. 

Unlike the description, you can edit this at any time without having to submit a new version of your app. This field is not indexed, so it doesn’t affect search results. However, it can be used to communicate your marketing message, limited-time events, new features, announcements, offers, or discounts in order to entice people to download your app.

Keywords in ASO

Keywords are limited to 100 characters, so it’s important to be concise when describing your app. While spaces should not be used before or after the commas that separate keywords and keyword phrases, you can use spaces to separate words within keyword phrases. For example. Property,Real Estate,House

Keywords help determine where your app displays in search results, so choose them carefully to ensure your app is easily discoverable. Choose keywords based on words you think your audience will use to find an app like yours. Be specific when describing your app’s features and functionality to help the search algorithm surface your app in relevant searches.

Maximize the number of words that fit in this character limit by avoiding the following:

  • Plurals of words that you’ve already included in the singular form
  • Names of categories or the word “app”
  • Duplicate words
  • Special characters — such as # or @ — unless they are part of your brand identity. Special characters don’t carry extra weight when users search for your app

Do not use the following in your keywords:

  • Unauthorized use of trademarked terms, celebrity names, and other protected words and phrases
  • Terms that are not relevant to the app
  • Competing for app names or brand names
  • Irrelevant, inappropriate, offensive, or objectionable terms

In-App Purchases in ASO

In-app purchase names are limited to 30 characters and descriptions are limited to 45 characters, so be descriptive, accurate, and concise when highlighting their benefits. In the new iOS 11 App Store, Apple has decided to make in-app purchases a focus and help developers promote them.

Now you can customize in-app purchases by adding display names, descriptions, and promotional images for each. You’ll need to optimize all of these details with keywords and compelling text and images. You can promote up to 20 of them on your product page that users can browse and buy even before downloading the app.

In-app purchases can also now appear in search results, the Games and Apps tabs, or even be featured on the Today page, so they offer even more opportunities for your app to be discovered and downloaded.

Graphic Assets Optimization in ASO

Along with the textual elements of your app page, you should also optimize the visual assets for better conversions. The icon, screenshots, and feature graphics of your app are one of the important app store ranking factors that you should optimize. A visually appealing app icon can help you attract more users. However, don’t overload it with too many colors or details. Keep it simple yet unique and creative.

App Icon

Your app icon is one of the first elements of your app that users see, so it’s essential to make a strong first impression that communicates your app’s quality and purpose. Work with a graphic designer to create an icon that is simple and recognizable. Try testing different options to determine which icon is the most recognizable and meaningful to your target audience.

Tips on App Icon

  • You want an icon that is clear, recognizable, and memorable
  • Think about what would be catchy to your target user
  • Select colors that represent your brand and identity
  • Don’t use photos or overuse effects
  • Refrain from using a lot of text
  • Use alt tag on the image or rename the tag before uploading them on the platform

Preview Videos

App previews in the Apple App Store are short videos that allow you to showcase what your app has to offer and are a great tool to encourage users to download your app. These are optional and they don’t affect your discoverability through search, but they’re highly recommended because a well-done video can drastically increase your conversion rate and downloads.

Avoid basic tutorials about how to use the app. Instead, make the video catchy, highlighting your edge over the competition, and advertising your most compelling features that might not be obvious with just screenshots. For graphics-heavy apps, app preview videos are a must. For iOS, the app previews can only be 15- to 30-seconds long, so you need to quickly deliver your message.

App Screenshots

Don’t just take random screenshots of your app. Screenshots are another tool to showcase what your app has to offer, so put some thought and effort into them.

ASO App Store Screenshots

You can feature up to 10 screenshots on your App Store and Mac App Store product pages. Depending on the orientation of your screenshots, the first one to three images will appear in search results when no app preview is available, so make sure these highlights the essence of your app. You should also rename the app screenshots using targeted keywords before uploading them on the platform.

Categories

Most people discover apps simply through browsing through the store, so you need to pick the perfect category for your app. Categories on the App Store help users discover new apps to meet their needs. There is a primary and secondary category that you can use to your app. The primary category is particularly important for discoverability, as it helps users find your app when browsing or filtering search results, and it determines in which tab your app appears on the App Store. Be sure to select the primary category that is most relevant.

Be sure to select the primary category that is most relevant. Choosing categories that are not relevant to your app may cause your app to be rejected when submitted for review.

App Reviews and Ratings

Ratings and reviews influence how your app ranks in search and can encourage users to engage with your app from search results, so focus on providing a great app experience that motivates users to leave positive reviews. Delay asking for a rating until there’s a likely moment of constructive feedback. For instance, ask when the user completed a reservation, finished a mission in a game, etc. When the time comes, ask nicely, and don’t beg.

Also starting in iOS 10.3, you can reply to reviews and you can only ask a user for an app rating three times per year, so make sure to go through them regularly, reply to negative ones, and solve their problems as soon as possible. You also have the choice to keep your accumulated ratings with each new release or reset them at any point.

ASO Summary

To reap the rewards of ASO, you need to invest time and effort. If you do, you’ll have a consistent channel driving traffic to your app. Being found is one of the most difficult challenges for mobile apps, but it is a problem you can actively solve.

Keep in mind that ASO takes time, Today, the most common approach to ASO is no approach at all. It is a process of trial and error. You will have to try out different strategies and measure and analyze all of the outputs. With continuous refinement and optimization, you will end up increasing the number of your app’s downloads, pushing it higher up the charts, and ultimately increasing your revenue.

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