The number of apps and mobile games in Google Play and App Store reached over 2 million long time ago in each store. In such a crowd, not only is it hard to stand out but also simply to be found by potential customers. ASO (App Store Optimization) – dedicated app optimization comes with help.
App Store Optimization – mobile apps positioning
App Store Optimization (ASO) is similar in its objectives to SEO – the better Google Play and App Store meta data optimization, the higher position in search results. More impressions is an open gate for next installations, and, the better conversion results, the easier way for our app to succeed.
App Store Optimization – includes many different activities, from which besides a proper title match, the most important is the optimization of keywords. Casual browsing of the App Stores contents accounts for 60% of app installations. Proper word matching helps not only our users. In the case of Google Play certain expressions are collected by the App Store itself, and the keywords for an app ad are selected by the algorithm. In the App Store (iOS) the process is simpler, as we are able to manually enter most relevant keywords in a separate cell (100 characters for keywords in App Store)
Another important aspect of App Store Optimization (ASO) is a conversion rate optimization. All developers are not only looking forward for their apps to being seen in App Stores, but foremost, for it to being installed on other devices. The basis of conversion is a properly selected icon, screenshots and a video demonstrating an app functionality. Selections between various variants are mostly made based on A/B tests.
If our icon or graphics stands out against competition, are unified and regularly updated, an icing on the cake should be the app description. Well-prepared, clear and comprehensible – a proper description is not only a forklift for keywords, but also helps the user decide whether to install an app.
What counts in App Store Optimization (ASO) next are the reviews given by users. Not only its content but an average score scale impacts the displaying of our app, not in search results only, but also various rank lists. Although we don’t have a direct influence on what others write about us, it’s worth listening to our customers and response to their comments and suggestions. Pro-customer approach will also be geographical access for our app if it is to go worldwide. Preparing other language versions may encounter a number of challenges – exact translation of keywords may not appeal to a local market, which enforces another tests and research.
Dark side of App Store Optimization – how does Black HAT ASO work?
Google Play and Apple App Store have listed a range of principles that their users should stick to when advertising mobile apps. However, their number is still increasing and many developers for the sake of success are ready to break the rules. We deal with Black Hat ASO (App Store Optimization) when the marketers intentionally use techniques for increased app display in the store.
Mostly used techniques Black HAT ASO (App Store Optimization)
Keyword stuffing – is a most common technique, based on advertising an app via saturation of keyword titles, subtitles and descriptions. Most searched keywords but having nothing to do with an app are also used. It’s a simplest method of manipulating the results and algorithm.
Marketers also decide to disguise under other brands. Copying popular app names and using similar or even the same icons has been happening for some time now. A number of firms expect unaware users to mistake different product for their application. The risk may pay off as about 50% of users tend to search for exact titles in App Stores.
Another way to get better position in the A is to create own reviews and ratings by developer. Making relatively little effort, can influence on higher positions in rank lists in App Stores as well as improve the interest in app by potential users. However, if developer has not time and resources to create cheated reviews, he can buy such ones. Moreover, such reviews can contain accurate keywords, which can positively influence the app indexing (Android).
Developers, apart from reviews, may go for paid app installs ( i.e.: incentivized traffic). The higher number of installations, the higher position of app in rank lists. The install needn’t to be done by a real user – it can be done by bots. A more complicated method is traffic purchase for a keyword (search incentivized installs). You can easily find advertising platforms, where you’ll be able to by app or game installs using a given keyword. Such approach improves CTR index and increase the position of a keyword in organic search results. Some mobile app developers will fabricate negative comments and reviews for competitive apps.
Mobile app developers manipulate the results by using a publisher name. They can use emoji and entering 5 star characters can mislead the users of a top app review. I know cases in which for manipulating a developer’s name, some developers’ accounts were permanently deleted in Google Play.
Another way is a name, which shows a high number of downloads – a publisher, ‘ +500000 installs’ will be taken as a very popular mobile app.
Bot trending Searches is the most complicated of all the cases of Black HAT ASO (App Store Optimization).
This technique involves creating trends via ‘artificial’ search of a given expression and later positioning the app accordingly. An easier way to increasing the position is often optimization of keywords according to trends at the time.
An interesting way of manipulation is also influence rank lists of the bestselling apps. A purchased app in a certain period of time can be returned by users, who then receive the funds back. This allows to be highly positioned, buying for a too high price and then returning, and later getting back to the initial price.
There’s also a range of techniques defined as Gray HAT ASO (App Store Optimization). An example of such a not so ethical, but popular method is encouraging a customer to a positive app review through special rewards, mainly in games, however, you can see contests with rewards for ‘ best app review in the store’.
Black HAT ASO (App Store Optimization) – why not?
App Store Optimization (ASO) is the fundamental way of increasing mobile app and game impressions in Google Play and AppStore. Properly done activities may cause that our app will be seen by a higher number of users, and once our product appeals to them, they will become our customers.
Main platforms are still evolving – current positioning methods are changing, new ones appear. Developers, heading for success, must follow the trends and keep working all the time, not only on their app, but also on an app marketing
In trying to take over the competition, it’s not recommended to use dubious methods, which can lead to deleting an app or Google Play or App Store account in the end. Black Hat ASO (App Store Optimization) is not only an unfair practice, but also a risky one. The manipulation of search results in Google Play or App Store may end up in deleting an app from the store as well as permanent ban (account removal) of a dishonest developer. Achieving quick results may be tempting, however, Black Hat ASO (App Store Optimization) to the same extent may lead to benefits and risks at the same time.
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