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App Store Optimization, also known as ASO, is the process of optimizing mobile applications to rank higher in app stores’ search results. Having a higher ranking makes the application or game more visible to potential users, which leads to more downloads. The ASO process includes different elements such as titles, keywords, descriptions, screenshots, user reviews, and more. The main goal is to make the app or games more appealing to search algorithms and increase downloads.
Why is ASO Important for Game Growth?
There are millions of mobile games available on the app stores, each fighting for a piece of the gaming pie.
If we count, the App Store has 1.76 million apps and 460,000 games. And the Google Play Store has 2.266 million apps and 390,000 games (according to businessofapps.com). That’s exactly why ASO becomes crucial for mobile games.
Optimization can help beat the competition by increasing visibility for potential users. More visibility means more search results and more downloads, which means more revenue for developers.
What are the Differences Between ASO and SEO?
SEO refers to the strategies and tactics used to increase website visibility in search engine results. The process involves factors such as keyword optimization, backlinks, site architecture, and content quality. SEO focuses on improving organic, non-paid search engine results.
But on the other hand, ASO is the process of optimizing mobile apps to rank higher in app store search results. ASO drives more downloads and increases app visibility in stores like Google Play and the App Store.
Although they both aim to increase visibility, they target different platforms: SEO for websites on search engines, and ASO for apps on app stores.
Why Combine ASO And SEO?
ASO and SEO work together to improve digital visibility. ASO makes your game discoverable in app stores, resulting in more downloads. SEO improves a website’s visibility in search engines, resulting in increased organic traffic.
These strategies complement one another: Effective SEO can direct people to the games, whereas effective ASO can boost the user experience in the app store, culminating in higher ratings and downloads. They can work together to increase app visibility, downloads, and user retention.
Let’s begin with the basics: keywords.
When users type in the search bar, looking for a game or app, they use those words. And developers should know and use those words to connect with potential users.
Selecting the right keywords for games is crucial. To start, do brainstorming and research. Take a moment to write down every possible word that describes your game. Think about the words a potential user might use. Look at your competitors and their keywords. Use keyword tools or ASO software like Semrush and App Radar to access search volume and competition for those keywords.
Keywords vs Search Volume
You can focus on two types of keywords: long-tail and short-tail keywords.
Short-tail keywords are usually broader and have higher search volumes. As an example, “racing game” or “puzzle” are short-tail keywords. Due to the large number of developers who use these keywords, short-tail keywords are more competitive.
On the other hand, long-tail keywords are more specific and have less competition. Which can lower search volumes but attract more qualified users. For instance, “car racing game for kids” or “3D puzzle adventure game” are long-tail keywords. Both of them are more targeted, which means that when users search for these words, they are more likely to see specific games.
Optimizing the Process
You must then integrate the keywords into your game’s metadata, which includes the game’s title, description, and screenshots.
When doing so, remember to avoid keyword stuffing, a frowned-upon practice where you overload your content with keywords to the point of compromising readability and value. The keywords should flow naturally within the context and provide value to the reader.
The Power of a Game Title
The game’s title can make or break its ASO efforts. When users scroll down a list of games, the title is often the first thing they see, so it should be catchy and grab their attention in seconds. At the same time, it should give the user information about the game and genre.
There is a difference between the App Store and the Google Play Store when it comes to title characters. In the App Store, this is 30 characters, but the Google Play Store allows 50 characters in game titles.
How to Write a Compelling Game Description
Just like a well-written book blurb, your game description should hook potential users and entice them to download your game. It should give an overview of the game, highlight its unique features, and create excitement.
However, writing a compelling game description goes beyond selling your game; it’s also an opportunity to boost your ASO. You can increase the visibility of your app in the app store by including your selected keywords in the description.
Here is an excellent example:
1. Designing an Attractive Icon
The app icon is the first visual interaction a potential user has with your mobile game. Creating an attractive, engaging icon is key to app store optimization.
The most effective game icons have to show the game’s core concept to the target audience. It should be clear and easily identifiable, even when viewed on a small mobile device screen.
Your game’s icon should be designed considering the aesthetics of the platform on which it will be displayed. Read Apple’s, Google’s, or other stores’ guidelines.
App icon sizes are different on the App Store and Google Play Store. Here’s a quick breakdown:
For the App Store:
- iOS icons: 180px × 180px (60pt × 60pt @3x)
- iPad Pro (12.9-inch) icons: 167px × 167px (83.5pt × 83.5pt @2x)
- iPad and iPad mini icons: 152px × 152px (76pt × 76pt @2x)
- App Store icons: 1024px × 1024px (1024pt × 1024pt @1x)
Note: The icons should be in PNG format.
For the Google Play Store:
- Android icons: 512px × 512px
The icon should be in high-quality PNG format with 32-bit color depth.
2. Creating Engaging Screenshots and Videos
Screenshots and videos play a crucial role in convincing potential users to download your mobile game. These elements serve as a visual narrative, telling potential players what your game is about and why they should play it.
When creating screenshots, focus on showcasing your game’s unique selling points. What makes your game stand out? It could be game mechanics, impressive graphics, or unique characters. Don’t forget to use high-quality images and graphics to capture these features.
Videos, on the other hand, offer dynamic insight into your game. They bring your screenshots to life, providing a glimpse of actual gameplay. According to Storemaven’s study, videos can increase conversion rates by up to 25%. This means that users are more likely to download your games after watching a video that highlights your game’s core features and unique selling propositions. But remember, these videos should be no longer than 30 seconds, and they should be well-designed, engaging, and appealing.
Always remember to align your screenshots and videos with your game’s genre and design theme.
For iOS, Apple requires JPEG or PNG screenshots in RGB color space.
- iPhone (5.5-Inch Super Retina Display): 1242 x 2208 pixels or 2208 x 1242 pixels
- iPhone (6.5-Inch Super Retina Display): 1242 x 2688 pixels or 2688 x 1242 pixels
- iPad (12.9-Inch Display): 2048 x 2732 pixels or 2732 x 2048 pixels
For app preview videos, the resolution should match the screen size:
- iPhone (5.5-Inch Display): 1080 x 1920 pixels or 1920 x 1080 pixels
- iPhone (6.5-Inch Display): 886 x 1920 pixels or 1920 x 886 pixels
- iPad (12.9-Inch Display): 1200 x 1600 pixels or 1600 x 1200 pixels
Google Play Store:
For Android, Google recommends JPEG or 24-bit PNG (no Alpha) screenshots.
- Minimum dimension: 320 pixels
- Maximum dimension: 3840 pixels
- The maximum dimension of your screenshot cannot be twice as long as the minimum dimension.
For videos, Google Play accepts only YouTube URLs. The video should be high-quality, with a resolution of at least 720p, and can be up to 2 minutes long.
User Reviews and Ratings
User reviews and ratings play a significant role in ASO. It is social proof, instills trust and credibility in potential users, and influences them to download the game.
The number of positive reviews reflects the quality of your game and improves your app’s ranking in the app store. Google Play and App Store algorithms consider reviews and ratings when determining their position in search results.
Here are some strategies to encourage positive reviews:
- Deliver a Stellar User Experience: A well-designed game that provides an enjoyable and seamless user experience is naturally more likely to receive positive feedback.
- Choose the Right Time: When asking users to leave reviews, timing is critical. Wait for the right time to invite users to write reviews, and do A/B testing to find the right time.
- Simplify the Review Process: Make it easy for users to write a review. Be polite and do not push users to leave a review.
- Respond to Reviews: Show your users that you value their feedback by responding to their reviews. Responses include both positive and negative reviews.
- Incentivize Reviews: Consider offering incentives like bonus points, additional lives, or game resources for leaving a review.
Remember, while it’s helpful to encourage positive reviews, it’s equally essential to take negative feedback constructively. Use it as an opportunity to improve your game and turn a dissatisfied user into a happy one.
Localization refers to the process of adapting games, including their interface, description, and marketing materials, to fit the language and cultural nuances of different regions.
Here are some reasons why localization is crucial for ASO:
- Expanding Your User Base: Localizing games can expand your user base. Billions of users have smartphones. Even though English is the most well-known and used language worldwide, there are people who do not know how to speak or play it. Games have a better chance of succeeding in ASO if they have more than one language option.
- Improving App Store Rankings: Both the App Store and Google Play Store consider localization in their ranking algorithms. By localizing your app’s metadata (like title, keywords, and description), you can improve its discoverability and ranking in local search results, leading to more downloads.
- Increased Conversion Rates: Users are more likely to download and engage with a game that speaks their language and understands their cultural nuances. Localizing your app increases its appeal to local users, leading to higher conversion rates.
Tips for Effective Localization
Localization is the process of adapting your game to different geographical regions and languages. This means not just translating the text but also adapting graphics, currencies, date formats, and even cultural references.
Localizing your game can increase visibility and downloads. After all, the more regions your game is available in, the more potential players you can reach. Use professional localization services or native speakers for accurate and culturally appropriate translations.
With millions of games competing for user attention, staying relevant is essential. Regular updates aren’t just about fixing bugs or resolving complaints, but also offering updated features to the games.
When you update your app, you inform both the user and the app store that your game is active and well-maintained.
Also, it is an opportunity to refine your keywords and experiment with new ones. You can update your app’s description and metadata with each update. This gives you a chance to optimize for trending keywords.
Aside from algorithmic benefits, regular updates directly impact experience and perception. Users appreciate apps that are frequently updated with new features, improvements, or content; it shows developers’ commitment to providing an excellent user experience.
The Best ASO Tools
There are numerous efficient tools on the market. Here are a few of the top options:
- App Annie: Provides app analytics and market insights.
- App Radar: Focuses on keyword tracking.
- Sensor Tower: Includes keyword optimization and review analysis.
- Storemaven: A/B tests app store pages.
- AppTweak: Provides keyword suggestions and competitor analysis.
- Keywordtool.io: Provides keyword suggestions.
- Asodesk: Offers analytics, keyword optimization, and competitor insights.
- Search Man: Assists with keyword optimization and tracking.
- Flurry: Focuses on user behavior analytics.
A/B Testing for ASO
The two versions (A & B) are compared to each other, with one variation potentially affecting the user’s behavior. This process of testing and optimization helps app developers and marketers make data-driven decisions to increase ASO effectiveness.
App Store Optimization (ASO) is critical in mobile gaming. It involves keyword optimization, a compelling title, and an engaging description. An attractive icon and engaging graphics can lure potential users. User reviews and ratings also impact your app’s reputation and rankings.
Emphasizing a global perspective, localization resonates with different cultures. Regular updates keep your game relevant and meet users’ expectations. All these elements form a comprehensive ASO strategy that serves as your roadmap.
ASO is a continuous journey, requiring consistent effort as app store landscapes evolve. With an understanding of best practices, you’re prepared to navigate this dynamic landscape. This will provide your mobile game’s success in the app store charts.
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