The biggest myths about app store optimisation

Over the last decade, apps have become one of the most popularly used pieces of software in the digital marketplace. They allow developers to create specialised user experiences with software that can serve a variety of purposes.

Because apps are so popular, there are naturally a lot of similar ones that are competing for user’s attention. Similar to websites using SEO (search engine optimisation), apps need to use ASO (app store optimisation) to rank highly in search results within app stores like Apple Store or Google Play.

Many businesses that use software as a service or (SaaS) require expertise to market app software in these formats.

As ASO develops as a digital marketing discipline there are serval myths that develop with it. Let’s take a look at and debunk a few of the most common myths surrounding app store optimisation.

Myth #1: App rating is the most important factor

While it seems logical that the rating of an application should have a heavy effect on ranking it is not actually the case. Most experts, including Google, know that the title relevancy is the most important factor for app search rankings.

This combined with the average rate of install and uninstall as well as the use of keywords are much more important factors than user rating. It’s true that a high user rating will positively affect download rate, but this occurs after algorithms have used other factors to present your app to users.

Myth #2: Changing the app name frequently helps target new search trends

This is a pure myth that if believed can often cause more harm to your ASO efforts than good. Many people mistakenly believe that frequently changing the app’s name will keep it relevant.

Changing the name means that users who enjoyed your app in the past will have a harder time finding it again. This also makes it harder for them to recommend it to friends.

This is not to say that optimising titles isn’t part of a good ASO strategy. Indeed, the tile should be short, catchy and entice users to want to learn more about it.

Picking a good, effective name and sticking with it is the best way to ensure long-term discoverability.

Myth #3: Being on the store and using basic ASO is enough

This myth likely comes from people misunderstanding ASO as a one-time, set and forget strategy. It actually requires continued attention over the life of the app.

While creating a high quality app and optimising its store presence is important for discoverability, it’s also important to keep monitoring it. This means observing user feedback, comparing it with install/uninstall rates and providing regular updates.

Even if an app is high quality it needs to be regularly maintained and improved to remain relevant on app stores.

Myth #4: Keyword’s aren’t important

Many digital marketers will debate the importance for keywords in SEO and dismiss their value altogether when it comes to ASO. This is a mistake as keywords probably remain a more important ranking factor in ASO relative to SEO.

The clever use of keywords in app titles and descriptions can have a non-trivial impact on discoverability. Because apps pages are smaller and more concise than SEO landing pages, keywords naturally have a higher impact for the algorithms that rank them.

Myth #5: Descriptions aren’t valuable

This myth comes from a perspective of ASO that care only about optimising for explicit ranking factors. Belief in this may lead practitioners not to focus on the quality of their app descriptions.

This is a chicken and egg scenario as while a description’s keyword use or quality may not be important to an algorithm, they will be important to users who read them. If a good description helps entice a user to download, then the description has helped in ASO as download rates are a hugely important algorithmic factor.

Understanding that different elements of the app page work together to influence a key ranking factor is incredibly important for successful ASO.

There are a few basic myths listed here that should be easy for any digital marketer to avoid falling into when implementing their app store optimisation. Fundamentally ASO requires he same mix of talents that are used by the best SEO practitioners.

Christian Woods
Christian Woods
Christian is a morning reporter and technology columnist for Best in Australia. Christian has worked in the media since 2000, in a range of locations. He joined Best in Australia in 2018, and began working in Melbourne in 2019.
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