Apple has been incredibly successful with their App Store, racking up hundreds of millions of downloads and a loyal audience. They’ve drawn inspiration from other platforms like Google Play and gained a lot of knowledge from their mistakes. In this article, we’ll discuss the steps required to optimize your mobile game or app for the App Store.
Create a DevOps team
Apple is incredibly agile and constantly evolving, which is why they inspire such loyalty in their users. To keep up with the demand, they’ve created a special team within Apple called the App Store Optimization (ASO) team. This is a group of people focusing on making your app stand out above the rest.
In a nutshell, you’ll need to have someone dedicated to the App Store within your organization. You can’t simply outsource this to a third party as the playstore is a part of Apple’s private APIs and they’ll never allow an external party to access this data. Having a team member dedicated to the App Store means you’ll have someone skilled in optimizing apps for the store. You’ll have access to this person at all times to get feedback on your app and make needed changes.
Focus on User Experience
When developing an app, you’ll need to consider the end user’s experience. However, when it comes to the App Store, you’ll also need to focus on a few other elements.
Firstly, the layout and design of your app. With so many different devices and screen sizes, you’ll need to consider how your app looks on all of them. In Google Play, for example, the UI guidelines are quite clear in terms of app design and how to approach layout. The guidelines specify the following:
- Focus on a maximum of two text sizes (either regular or bold)
- Optimize the text for each of the two sizes (regular and bold)
- All elements within the app, no matter the size, should use a consistent design style
- Consider using vector (SVG, AI, and PDF) graphics instead of raster (JPEG, PNG, GIF, and TIFF)
- Use flat design and avoid using shadows
When developing for the App Store, you’ll need to approach things a bit differently. Your first thought might be to follow these guidelines, but you’ll need to take into consideration a few more aspects. The biggest one is how people interact with your app. Even on a phone, users will most likely interact with your app via the touchscreen, so ensuring that the interaction is as easy and flawless as possible is of primary importance. Also, not every user will have a good experience when using your app the first time, so making sure that they can figure out how to use it successfully is also an important aspect of your DevOps team’s work.
In addition to the usual UX testing that you’ll do to ensure that your app feels right and works well, you’ll also need to consider doing user testing on the App Store. This can be done either manually or using automated tools.
Manually testing your app is quite straightforward. All you need is a small group of users to test out your app and give you some feedback. To save you the effort and potential for bias, you can use automated tools to test your app for you. These tools record a user’s actions as they run your app and analyze the data to give you a score and a set of recommendations. Although automated testing isn’t a perfect simulation of real-world user behavior, it’s a quick and easy way to get feedback without all the overhead of manually testing.
Make Sure Your App Has The Perfect I.D.
Even if you’ve followed all the guidelines and designed, tested, and submitted your app to the App Store, it’s still not good enough. To stand a chance at getting into the App Store, you’ll need to pay close attention to the App Store reviews that you get after your app is live. Not every app will succeed and you’ll need to find out why with as much information as possible. Here are some of the red flags that the App Store reviews for your app will tell you about it.
- Poorly designed
- Has an annoying banner at the top of the screen
- Lots of ads
- Tastes awful
- Inconsistent spelling and grammar
- User interface issues
- Content is meaningless drivel
- Awkward transitions
- Confusing or complex instructions
- A poor attempt at a joke
- Doesn’t work as expected
- Poor optimization for the largest display size
- Multiple errors
Once you’ve got all these issues fixed, why not try again with another app and repeat the process until you’ve established a stream of successful apps that you can manage and grow over time? You’ll look back on this phase as a golden era and will have the pleasure of adding another important chapter to your career as a software engineer.
Is ASO part of SEO?
ASO (App Store Optimization) is similar to SEO (Search Engine Optimization) in many ways, but it is not a part of SEO.
SEO focuses on optimizing websites and online content to increase their visibility and ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs) for specific keywords or queries. It involves various techniques, such as keyword research, on-page optimization, link building, and content creation.
ASO, on the other hand, focuses on optimizing mobile apps to increase their visibility and ranking on app store search results pages (SERPs) for specific keywords or queries. It involves various techniques, such as keyword research, metadata optimization, user reviews and ratings management, and app localization.
While there are some similarities between ASO and SEO, such as the use of keywords and metadata optimization, they are different in terms of platforms, algorithms, and user behavior. ASO is specific to mobile apps, while SEO is specific to websites and online content.
Why is ASO needed?
ASO (App Store Optimization) is needed for several reasons:
1. Increased visibility: With millions of apps available on app stores, it can be challenging for users to find and discover new apps. ASO helps increase the app's visibility by optimizing its metadata and content to appear higher in search results and recommended lists.
2. Better user acquisition: ASO helps attract high-quality and relevant users to the app by optimizing its messaging, design, and features to align with the target audience's needs and preferences. This can lead to increased downloads, user engagement, and retention.
3. Cost-effective marketing: ASO is a cost-effective way to market the app as it focuses on organic, non-paid traffic. By optimizing the app's metadata and content, it can attract more users without having to spend money on advertising.
4. Competitive advantage: ASO helps the app stand out from its competitors by highlighting its unique features, benefits, and value proposition. This can help differentiate the app in a crowded market and attract more users.
Overall, ASO is needed to improve the app's discoverability, appeal, and performance on app stores, leading to increased downloads, user engagement, and revenue.