How to Get Noticed in App Store Search?

The App Store offers more than 1.4 million apps, divided into 24 categories for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. With customers having an overwhelming number of apps to choose from and less time on their hands, even the most flawless of apps featuring on the store get sidelined.

This issue can be addressed to an extent with app bundles and app previews (real time footage of the app), which are a part of iOS 8 updates. In addition to these updates, you can also implement a few more strategies of App Store Optimization (ASO). These strategies may be old-school, but they can be game changers when you want your app to get noticed in App Store search.

Let us find out what these strategies are.

Research and analyze important keywords

Keyword Search Optimization is the most important part of App Store Optimization (ASO). Research and find out the top keywords that your target audience uses when they search for an app on the App Store. This is not going to be easy since there are millions of users who visit the store regularly and this means they use a huge number of keywords. For keyword research and analysis, you can use many useful tools such as –
AppMind , AppCodes, Appnique and Searchman. These tools are developed by experts and offer you a detailed keyword research, analysis amongst other useful features relevant to ASO.

Implement the keywords in your app’s title, description, screenshots, texts in graphics and even in the app previews. Go through the best practices to use the keywords for your app:

1. Use keywords as precisely as you can because Apple limits the keywords field up to 100 characters.
2. Separate the keywords by commas and without using spaces in between.
3. Use plural forms of the most important keywords and also include the commonly misspelt keywords.
4. Split phrases into words with comma in between.

Using these points, I am sure you will be able to increase the discoverability of your app.

Create an aesthetically appealing icon

Given the fact that the attention span of the end-users is less, using a striking icon will at the very least persuade them to go through the app description, see the app preview and browse the screenshots. After this, if they find that your app has features and functionalities that appeal to them, they will go ahead and download the app.

Work on your app’s icon and make it as appealing as you can, using a great color palette, striking graphics and the best design methodologies. The best practices for creating a striking icon can be summed up as:

• Skip using words or letters in your icon if possible.
• Create custom typeface if at all you want to use letters.
• Create a balance between colors and contrast so that it looks aesthetically appealing.
• Choose colors that are in sync with your app’s theme.
• Don’t go over the top with a lot of elements; minimalism is the key.

You can also draw inspirations from app icons in different categories for this step.

Take advantages of different themes

Holiday editions, festive editions or seasonal editions of different apps are crowd-pullers. Topical app updates break the monotony as they have something new to offer to the users. Take advantage of the same and update your app by adding new features to it.

Alternatively, you can launch a new edition of your app around a festive holiday or season. Think of Halloween, Christmas, St.Patrick’s Day, Thanksgiving Day, Mother’s Day, Easter, Winter, Summer etc. and you will get a wide range of options to explore.

I am not saying this is the only way to generate maximum views, but this will surely boost views at least during that particular period.

When users search for an app specific to an ongoing holiday, festival or season, they are more likely to find your app in the results. For instance, if they search for “Halloween Recipes App” on the store, your Food and Drinks app with similar title (or similar keywords in the title) will rank high in the search results. You just have to make sure that it contains Halloween related recipes for the users.

If you are willing to put in more resources, work on the design and development of your app and release an update. Suppose you have a game app on the App Store. During the festivals and holidays, you can add new features in it. It can be anything– a new character, new environment, new theme music etc. depending on the time and budget constraints. Take the screenshot of these new additions and at the same time, alter the description and title in the app. The new update will generate a lot of interest from the users. If they are impressed, they will not only download and use it on their devices, but also share the details with their friends, family and acquaintances.

When you make theme-based changes to your app, don’t forget to modify the icon as well. Go all green with St. Patrick’s, add Mistletoe or Snowflake for Christmas or go all Maple to indicate Autumn. This takes us to the next point.

Use special badges in the app icon

How do you draw attention to your app when you have already uploaded it on the App Store and made some significant changes to it? Simple! Just add a ‘New’ badge/banner to the app’s icon. Even if users happen to miss out on theme-based releases, the badge can persuade them to go through the new updates in your app.

Similarly, if you want to launch a trial version of an app and create hype among your target users, then opt for the ‘Free’ badge/banner. Many users specifically search the App Store for free or trial versions of apps to try on their devices before going for the full or paid version. This means that the step will work wonders for enhancing the visibility of your app.

Ask for reviews and ratings

This is the difficult part. While you were in control of all the above mentioned tactics, in this particular case you are no longer in charge. You can submit your app to app review sites and wait for experts and/or customers to review your app. These reviews could be good or bad.

The app review websites will give an overview about your app’s features and functions with a link to your app. Through this link, your target users can trace it to the App Store. Easier said than done; not all such sites will agree to review your app instantly and even those who do agree might take up a lot of time. Approach more than one site so that even if only a handful of them do review your app, it will still generate significant traffic of users. This is a great step for new apps as most users will come to know about them only through these sites.

Many of these websites will have social sharing buttons such as – Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Tumblr. If users like your app, they will click on the button and share the review with their network. This is how the word about your app will spread via third-party review sites and generate more views for it on the App Store.

This comes with a risk factor. You have no way of knowing whether you are going to get good reviews every time from these sites. But yes, when things are in order and you do get a good review, you can be assured of getting more footfalls to your app’s page on App Store.

Translate your app in local languages

App Localization is the process of making an app locally viable. You can localize your app for a particular country, region or even locality with some specific steps. This includes researching about the market where your app has the maximum potential and followed by building a team of expert developers, designers, translators and quality analysts who will make your app ready for the local market(s).

Translation is the main aspect of app localization and you need to make sure that it is done perfectly. An expert translator will use his or her knowledge, select the best tools available on the market, refer a translation glossary and style guide and give you a flawlessly localized app.

Make sure that everything is localized including the app’s title, description, graphics and even the app previews and screenshots so that the target audience can easily locate your app while searching. The app’s code also needs to be localized to make it a perfect fit for target users.

To Conclude

These are some of the ways through which you can enhance your app’s visibility. Keep a tab on this space to know how you can get more users to download and use your app. Feel free to leave a comment on this topic and share your valuable insights with us.

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Hiral Atha is the Founder and CEO of MoveoApps. She started coding even before she entered high school and today, she helps clients develop impactful mobile apps for their business. With over a decade of experience in mobile, she leads a team of young and experienced developers. When not leading an ambitious app development project, you’ll find her playing board games with her 6 years old son and piquing his curiosity in computer programming.