App Store Optimization (ASO) is basically SEO for apps. But are they really the same? And why do different ASO gurus tell of contradicting best practices? We compiled what several self-proclaimed ASO experts say are ten common app store optimization mistakes and how these mistakes can turn your app development venture into one big headache.
Common App Store Optimization Mistakes
- Thinking that ASO is only DIY tweaking
It is easy to believe that app store optimization can be easily executed without even throwing out a cent. But if you want to be even close to the top in this very competitive industry, you need to invest in good ASO tools that can help you in keyword optimization and analytics. It is true that you can save money by doing this yourself, but it won’t be nearly as efficient and fast as tools specially calibrated to give you the most accurate results in just seconds.
- Skipping app market research
ASO can only do so little if you are competing in a stale market. Even if you rank first using your main keyword, if that keyword doesn’t convert to an audience then you won’t really gain anything. Research your target audience, your competition and the competitiveness of that market even before app development begins.
- Keyword relevance is prime
Broadhead, long tail or short tail keywords won’t matter if they aren’t relevant to your app or to your target market. Compile a list of the most relevant keywords in your niche. These are mostly keyword phrases based on an app’s uses and features. Also, aim for keywords that have high search volume but low app competition.
- Keyword overkill in app title and description
The app title is very important. It is the perfect place to place your most relevant keyword since the title has more weight in the search algorithm. It is advisable to have an exact match keyword but if you want to target several key phrases especially in the description, do not repeat words and cram the entire description with a list of keywords; this may make you look desperate.
- Constant keyword change
Seasonal trends in keywords may tempt you to change and add keywords to your description and title. This is okay if you have had really good reviews and downloads. Also, it will hurt your app’s ranking if you constantly update your app just for the sake of ASO adjustments. App titles are indexed. Therefore, a change in the primary keyword on the app title has a great impact on the app. This includes the app’s ranking and discoverability. The app is basically re-indexed.
- A good app is not enough – you need a viral app
Never underestimate the power of social media. Facebook and Twitter turned a lot of crap into treasure troves. As long as someone thought that it would be cool to share the material to their network of friends and followers, the viral loop can get it going. You can include referrals, social sharing and user-generated content within your app. You can optimize your ad campaigns later on depending on what type of user encourages the virality of your product.
- Limiting your app’s visibility only to the app store
Explore different discovery platforms. There are sites that specialize in app discovery: PreApps and AppPicker are just two of said sites. You just share your app’s features and benefits. But if you don’t want to compete with other apps, you can set up an app website or landing page. You can promote your other apps here, too. Other app promotion strategies include creating videos, social media and microblogging accounts or participating in forums.
- Too enthusiastic marketing and review requests
Push notifications can get very annoying after a while even more so than enthusiastic marketing emails. Spamming the users is perhaps an assurance that they will uninstall your app ASAP. Also, reviews and ratings are important in the ranking algorithm. This, though, does not mean that you should bombard your users with pop-up messages. A lot of these in-app messages constantly ask for reviews even before the user could proceed to a task. This strategy may only work in the first few days (or even weeks) but it will soon become too annoying for the users.
- ASO is not a one-time thing
For your app to continue gaining traction, test, monitor and adjust ASO on a per-need basis. Days after the launch, you may realize the ASO strategy you employed wasn’t working. Your keywords may lose relevancy together with the trend. ASO tools will help you gauge your app’s performance. These tools can also give you ideas on what to improve in your marketing and monetization strategies.
- Being unrealistic about the app’s ROI
It is wrong to assume that ASO would catapult your app into the top ranks. ASO mainly increases your app’s discoverability through organic search (which account for about 60% of all instances of discovery). Downloads don’t necessarily translate to revenue which is very true with “freemium” apps. ASO is a marketing strategy employed to make your app competitive not a surefire way to the top.
For more app store optimization tips and examples, read one of my posts, App Store Optimization: How the Top Apps Do It