ASO: Add a New Acronym to your Repertoire

The goal of search engine optimisation is to allow searchers to unearth the data they need in the piles and piles of data they do not. This is exactly the purpose of ASO, or app store optimisation. Millions of us are mobile, and apps help us access information on the go. About three-quarters of those with smartphones download apps, and no matter what platform you are using, the stores or markets are crowded with them. If you offer mobile apps that are crucial to your business or user experience, then you need to think about ASO.

ASO is still in its infancy; while this means that there aren’t comprehensive lists of best practices, it also means that your SEO skills can be applied to the app stores and you have a jumpstart on the completion. In addition to the App Store and Android Market, other major “stores” include Blackberry App World, Nokia Store, Windows Phone Marketplace, Samsung Apps Store, and GetJar. Each has its own guidelines, which means you have to develop custom apps; you can’t for instance, build an app for iPhone and then put it in the Android Market. Once you’ve done this and are on the virtual shelves, what should you do to improve visibility?

·         Don’t forget your keywords. The backbone of SEO is also crucial in ASO. Make sure that your app name includes a keyword to give people a clue as to what it’s about, and to allow search engines to index it. Also include keywords in your publisher name and description.

·         In your description, include clear, concise text, but also add screenshots and instructions so potential buyers have a sneak peak at what you are offering.

·         Create an app icon that is informative and distinctive.

Now, that’s the basic, easily-completed task list. The biggest factor in ranking, though, is not so directly within your control. Popularity counts; the number of installs counts. You can, however, seed your app to spark this buzz.

·         Use social media profiles to hype your app.

·         Link to it from your website, blog, social media profiles, forums, etc. Don’t spam it, but do put the word out.

·         Make it easy for users to share reviews and ratings, which influence potential buyers significantly.

No matter how good your app is, you have to do some work to ensure it is as visible as it deserves to be. ASO is an incredibly powerful tool for developers and businesses that want to stand out.

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