There are plenty of ways to boost your app store ranking for improved discoverability. These methods known as ASO (App Store Optimisation) are an essential tool for any new app launch. Fortunately, many of the fundamentals are similar to SEO best practices. Here’s a handy guide on what you need to know to give you the best chance of user downloads.

Choosing the name

With 255 characters to play with on the AppStore, there’s no excuse for not including relevant keywords within the title. A recent study showed those apps with title keywords ranked an average of 10.3% higher than those without. Of course, the app name should still be unique to your business while kept short and sweet.

The name can be followed with a dash and some non-essential keywords. This way, you can keep the name snappy without losing the keyword potential. Finally, it’s important to avoid symbols or special characters. This will negatively impact ASO as they’re not recognised by the major platforms. Instead, they would defer and rank based on your app’s numeric ID.

Writing a description

Similar to writing on-page meta descriptions, the content within your app description won’t be impacted by App Store ranking. Of course, keywords should still be placed within but only for the purpose of your target customer base. As a general rule of thumb, consider the first three lines as the most important. These should provide a concise description of the app with a compelling benefit to encourage users to download.

Once you’ve grabbed their attention, follow with a further list of benefits. Keep it brief, as you’ll only have a few seconds to make an impact before they move on to the competition. This content should be revised as future updates are made to the app.

Picking an icon

A unique and visually striking icon is the the main way to stand apart from the thousands of other apps. The AppStore and Google Play have different standards in terms of size, geometry and colour scheme. For all iOS icons, the images must be optimised for 1024 x 1024 pixels. Although these will be resized for other applications – navigation icons and tab bar icons – it must still look great scaled down to this miniature size.

For Android icons, the size required is 512 x 512. It is also recommended that you follow their material design guidelines. These stipulate the most effective design in terms of lighting, anatomy and colour. Before picking an icon, always scroll through the top-rated apps in your field. You’ll quickly notice a common theme, with many avoiding the use of words and featuring a simplistic design.

Promote elsewhere

It is widely thought that Google and Apple use an app’s total visits and product page backlinks as ranking factors. With that in mind, the more traffic to your app, the higher up it will appear on the rankings. This is best achieved through external promotion, utilising SEO practices such as content creation, social media exposure and paid advertising.

App indexing is another up-and-coming method that should be included in any ASO strategy. The process of making app content searchable on the web, allows users to see your app indexed in a search result. They can then be deep-linked to a product page on the app store or to a page within the app (if they have already downloaded). It can therefore be beneficial from a promotional aspect as well as re-engaging with existing customers.

Never stop updating

Updates should be carried out frequently to improve user experience based on customer feedback. It’s those apps that update every 30 to 40 days that offer the best value and ensure a flawless service. This should improve ratings that can encourage more users to download.

Always update the description in the ‘What’s New’ field in the app store. This is a great way to promote all the improved features, compelling users to download and see for themselves. For existing users, add a push notification or a prompt at login notifying of the new update with a concise description on the improvements.

Follow these simple tips and you’ll give yourself the best chance of success when launching an app.