What is an ASO?
If you are an android developer, you know what is that, but do you use it? According to Google Play statistics, 90% of the android developers haven't earned a single cent with their applications. That's why we have to start with basics. You can skip it if you want.
The ASO means the App Store Optimization. It's a continuous process of improving an application visibility in Google Play store.
Attention: Rules of the ASO are different for each store. Appstore and Windows Store are completely different and you can't use tips from this e book in these stores.
I think that most of the ASO experts says bullshit because they tries to move Appstore things to an android evironment. It doesn't work. Why you need the ASO? Do you have a big money? 90% of readers answered negative. If you don't have the money like most of indie developers, you have to use ASO. It's not 2011 when you could just publish application, forget and count dollars. You can try to do it today and get luck but I've tried it. I've published with my team almost 1000 applications in 2016 and just one of them has got 500
The ASO is a process to make your application visible in search scores for choosen keywords. It can generate a snowball effect with Google's recommendation mechanism. If you know an SEO (the search engine optimization) it can be similar for a search engine in Play Store. You can increase your positions in rankings and get a lot organic installs, thanks to the ASO. Without the ASO your application will die never get discovered.
I have good news for you, 90% of applications developers not uses any ASO so their applications are just a trash that you need to avoid.
Ofcourse, it depends only to you if you use my tips, tricks and methods.
The most important goals for the ASO in Google Play store:
get positions for keywords
rankings are not important any more: top new, top apps are not visibile in mobile app of Google Play store
we can't concentrate on rankings
social: we need to get into recommendation lists and "used by friends" what are dynamic for each Play Store user
maximum visibility in Play Store
You can see now that Google Play is a lot different than Appstore where brand and ranking are the most imporant.
Search engine in Apple Store is much worse than in Google Play. That's why keywords are almost everything but also currently social.
KEYWORDS IN AN APPLICATION'S TITLE AND DESCRIPTION
This is the most important aspect of your ASO
Your application will not be discovered ever without keywords in your description and title. Perfect quality? Unique and the innovative application? It's not imporant without keywords.
Let's analyze samples, an application for downloading music. Title can be be simple, "Music Download" or "Cool - Music Download". First sample is a generic name with keywords, second is a brand + generic name. Please, look at competition, for example Avast. They are using "Avast - Free Antivirus" in their title where a "free antivirus" is not a name of the software. The "Free Antivirus" phrase is translated to every language to trick Google and get higher positions in Play Store. People don't search for "avast" but for the "free antivirus". If you call your application a "Super Duper 2017 Awesome App", nobody will find it ever. You will get zero installs and cash. People are simple, they don't look for applications, they want features. You need to inform them about features very fast in your application title. Please note that the title is a lot stronger in the ASO than the description.
How to make the proper title? First rule, you can't use more than 2 keywords. It's very important to not spread a power of your phrase.
Ofcourse with more keywords you can be listed for more words but your positions will be a lot worse.
Better to use "Mp3 Download" than "Mp3 Wav Flac Music Download". Don't you think? We need strong positions but not average for a lot of keywords. Long tail is not working in Play Store.
The description is less important than titles but still we need to do it well. Please find in Google Search some "keyword density" tools. They are 100% free. Your description have to be natural. Google Play bot can recognize if your description was created just for keywords. Write like a human being, not some SEO spam machine.
First sentence is the most important. Please, use your choosen keywords from title:
Music Download is an application that can help you to search for music, discover independent artists, download mp3... etc.
Your keywords can't appear more than 5x in your description. More keywords can turn on a red flag for Google bot to punish your application. That's why keyword density tools are needed for you.
PROMOTIONAL GRAPHICS, SCREENSHOTS, ICONS
This is psychological aspect of your ASO, something that can make your app unique in search results
In Google Play, icons are 512x512 PNG and 24bit images with transparency. Icon is an information carrier in Play Store. ASO experts advice to make it simple with a shape, symbol or brand logo, for example the folder shape for file manager or speaker for a music application.
WRONG! You can't do it unless you are building a brand and have a huge budget to exist in people memory. You are anonymous for most of users and they quick forget about your great symbol or perfect graphics. Let's use the icon to tell users about your application's features.
In your Photoshop or GIMP create a 512x512 square
Paint it with a solid color
Choose a good and visibile font, for example Impact and write big keywords from your title. Some samples:
"WiFi HACKER", "MUSIC DOWNLOAD", "MP3 DOWNLOADER", "FILE MANAGER", depends to your niche
The font have to be big, clean and readable. Everyone have to a read text, even on small screens.
You can add some unique elements but don't ruin the text visibility
Avoid more than 2 words in the text
The ASO experts and Google Play says to avoid the text on icons but it's something opposite. I think the icon is first what your user can see. When every developer uses perfect simple shapes, graphics, vector, your icon will be unique with the text. From my experience, users are looking for features and not for graphics. Users have deeply in their asses your great logo, symbol or 3d graphics. They remember only the biggest brands like Rovio or Pokemon Go. I don't remember such big brands like Endomondo or Gameloft. You are here to make money, not create new brands. If you want to make brands, this ebook is not for you and you have more resources than indie developers.
There are few billions of icons in Google Play store. User will never remember your icons.
Screenshots are required by Google Play console to publish your application. You have to make it and you need to have higher graphics skills than for icons. People don't read descriptions, they look at screenshots and this is 99% of their decission process before they install your application. If you haven't graphics skills, use Fiverr or Graphicsriver. Screenshots have to be professional. Size have to have 1:2 aspect ratio and 500px 1000px resolution.
Create an 500x1000 image and fill it with a solid color or a gradient
Put text on the top of a screenshot
-in the every screenshot describe an app feature in max two keywords, for example "Music Free", "Great Songs", "MP3 Download"
-you need 3 screenshots, not two because it looks like an amateur job
Below text paste some shape of a device like Samsung and inside the shape put screenshot of your application
-you can download free shapes from Deviant Art, Freepic or buy from Graphicsriver
-avoid logos, find shapes of devices without logos
-file sizes have to be small, use a JPG and not a PNG. Most of users have a slow internet and the screenshot loading can be too long. User may quit your app page before install the application
They have to be more professional than icons and screenshots. However, I prefer simple graphics.
Make 1024:500 shape, fill with a solid color or a gradient
Put some shape or flat vector about your application
-you can find many free on Freepics or buy from Graphicsriver
Using font Impact, describe your application main feature like "Music Download"
You can add some unique elements but a text have to be clean
INDEXING AND RANKING ALGORITHM
Google has changed algorithms in 2017. Every rankings and top new categories are not imporant now as like before. Sometimes Google manipulate their application and rankings are not even visible for users. We have new invisible rankings, they were always here but now they are the strongest. Rankings for custom keywords and you can check it with AppAnnie. You have to know what users want to find exactly and get positions for keywords. If you want to boost your application you need to use ASO or CPI keyword installs. You cannot do this in other ways.
Main part of Google Play algorithm is the same. Still important is time / amount of installs. You have to deliver as many installs you can in the shortest time you can and keep it for next 7-14 days. In addition, you have to get also big review amount with keywords.
Hovewer, you have to keep ratio 10:1 between rating without review and comments.10 ratings and 1 review.
Developers thinks that 30 days 'fresh app period' isn't important any more. Wrong! I think its still important. Application without enough installs on the beginning can disapear in Google Play and it will be very hard to bring it back. My friend has bought installs for $50 000 and he hasn't got it back. Only way in such situation is republish it with new package.
In 2017 fake reviews and installs not works. Google will punish your application by kicking it from search results and delete fake installs/reviews. I read on many forums and blogs that every site is selling fake installs/reviews. It's a wrong conclusion. What is fake and how does Google detect it? Let's analyze a sample: ayetstudios, cpimobi, keyapp.top. Installs from these services can be marked as "fake". The problem is that their users can receive real money for installing and reviewing applications. They are repeating intalls and reviews many, many times ( I had one site like this and in my experience, it's 20-50x!). Google checks retention in applications. If they see that someone installed it only for one time open, for review and then for uninstall, it's a fake action. Especialy these users install next application after few minutes to get more cash. Nobody normal install 50 applications / day and review to uninstall in next few minutes. Google tracks retention and it's very easy to detect fake installs. I\ve bought 10 000 installs in one of mentioned CPI services and lost all next day. Google has suspended my application for ranking manipulations.
What paid installs are safe? You can buy installs only from a CPM advertisement like banners or social. Facebook ads, Appbrain, Mobfox, Admob, etc. Users are 100% random and install your application because they want to check it, not for receive few cents reward. Sadly, this advertisement is more expensive.
TRANSLATIONS - ARE THEY IMPORTANT?
Google says in their documentation that translations are not important. I understand them, they have auto-transator script in their application and website. Hovewer, if translations are not important for an user because he see an auto-translated description, they are important for developers. The auto-translated descriptions from Google's tools are not indexed. It's an 100% dynamic progress and can't increase your positions. Do you know Czech, Polish or Russian? This is not important but you have to add these languages in your Google Play developer console. You can use Google Translator service, copy&paste or buy translations. I advice you to use the translator. I know that quality can't be good but people don't read your description. They make their decisions by watching screenshots and application titles.
WHY WE NEED TRANSLATED DESCRIPTIONS?
Google Play have more than 70 languages It means that you have 70x DIFFERENT descriptions, 70x more keywords but it's not all.
If we use multiple-category tricks from previous chapter, our application's page is multiplied. In result we have 500+ places where our application is indexed.
Normal category in 70 languages + a widget 70 + a live wallpaper 70 + a tablet 7" 70 + a tablet 10" 70 +a tv 70 + a wear 70 = 490 more "backlinks".
When we include recommendations pages, top 500 rankings, friend's choice, we have thousands of places where our application can be visible and discovered by user.