3 Smart ASO Techniques That You Should Try in 2018

By Gabor Papp | November 30th, 2017

When you read ASO articles, many will tell you the same techniques and tactics:

  • Optimize the App Name and Subtitle
  • Upload compelling screenhots, videos
  • Add a promotional text
  • Increase user ratings and reviews

And so on. The truth is, all of these can work for you. But if everyone is focusing on the same tactics, these will start to lose their effectiveness over time. So it makes sense to dig a little deeper, and apply more advanced ASO tactics to have a competitive advantage.

Why ASO?

ASO is the process of optimizing mobile apps to maximize the visibility in the app stores (Google Play and App Sotre) and improve the conversion rate to install.

In that sense ASO has 2 major focuses:

  • Drive more visibility to the app
  • Increase conversion

To achieve bigger visibility and higher conversion, mobile developers can do various things. These usually include:

  • Market Research
  • Keyword Optimization
  • Store Listing Optimization (on-metadata and off-metadata)
  • Driving Traffic to the App
  • Tracking and Monitoring
  • User Ratings and Reviews

If done right, these elements can lead to more visibility and more downloads over time. But you can further enhance your ASO game with a couple of smart processes. As we gear up to start another new year, here are 3 smart ASO techniques that you should try in 2018.

Backlinks Still Matter for ASO

When it comes to ASO, it has been long debated whether links to your app in the App Store have an effect on your app store ranking performance. The answer: yes, backlinks can still help improve your rankings.

Daniel Peris wrote a great post on the effect of backlinks anchor text on Google Play ASO. In his experiment he redirected a website with 301 and used anchor texts for links he wanted to rank for. What happened? The app started to rank for keywords that were not even included in the app’s name, description or keywords.

His tests proved that SEO links and their anchor texts have an impact on Google Play ASO.

What can you do to get links? You can check where competitors are getting links from and see if you can get mentions there too.

For this you can use any backlink checker tool like Ahrefs, Majestic SEO, SEMRush or MOZ OpenSite Explorer. You can even write a few guest posts yourself, but always make sure to get a link to your app store listing page. The best thing to do is to:

  1. get a link to your website and
  2. get a link to your app as well.

This will ensure that your website, developers site get a little SEO boost, and you a backlink to your app will give it a small ASO boost.

Combine ASO and SEO

In this tactic, the idea is to combine the app store rankings in Google and reverse engineer the keywords this way. And use this information as the input for ASO. So in practice, you combine an SEO keyword research tactic and plug that back into the ASO process.

For this you can use any keyword research tool that has a large enough dataset, like SEMRush, Ahrefs or Moz Explorer. You need to pull the App Store or Play Store data using the URL field.

Then just start filtering for your topical or target keywords.

Or you can do even better segmentation and use multiple filters (keywords, search volume, PPC price and so on).

This can reveal a lot of keywords that competitors are ranking well for on the web. Not necessarily in the app store, but on the general web. This keyword information can be very valuable when you think about running paid ads and look for good keywords, or when you want to decide which keywords to target during ASO.

SEMRush has a great tool called Keyword Gap. With this tool you can compare the ranking keywords of different sites. It looks for overlaps and separations. This can give you relevant keywords that a competitor is ranking for in web search. And you can use this information for ASO or for search based advertising.

You can read more about this technique here: How to combine SEO and ASO

Use a Name/Subtitle Combo for Higher Rankings

A couple of weeks ago Jiri Chochlik posted an interesting article on how you can leverage the new subtitle field on iOS 11 for better rankings.

He argues that the app name and subtitle combination has a bigger effect on ranking than the words put into the keyword field. The basic concept behind the article is that you shouldn’t just put the keywords in the keyword field, but instead, move them up in the app name and subtitle fields. And create combinations from those. Just like in the example below:

Your aim is to create a lot of keyword combinations that make sense for your app. And choosing a different name with different keywords can have a huge impact on rankings.

If you decide to use Title #1, your app will potentially be ranking for more keywords than with Title #2.

So it makes sense to utilize the Title + Subtitle for placing keywords. And if you mention a keyword in the app name or description, there’s no need to repeat them in the keywords field.

This is super useful for two reasons:

  1. You can put extra emphasis on important keywords by moving them to the title + subtitle
  2. This can free up character space in the keywords field and you can include extra keywords there

How effective is this technique? After implementing the subtitle the Shapr3D app jumped from position #147 to #76. And later when more elements were updated, the app jumped to #5-8 for the competitive keyword “CAD” (computer aided design).

The process shouldn’t end here though. You can continue A/B testing what works and what doesn’t. But if you use and combine these 3 tactics in 2018, you can gain a competitive advantage over other apps in the App Store or the Play Store.

What are your best ASO tips? Share with us in the Comments section

Gabor Papp
Gabor is a former SEO consultant, now Growth Marketer at Shapr3d and Head of Marketing at The Pitch.

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