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6 Useful ASO Principles You Can Use When Working With Metadata

Sergey Sharov

Before ultimately publishing your app to App Store and Google Play, it is essential to check all the text information and verify the amount of characters according to the requirements of a store. We have collected all the answers to the most frequently asked questions asked by those, who begin to exploring the topic of App Store Optimization (ASO). We hope that our recommendations will help you in your first steps and will further help you save time on working with metadata.

Size Matters

There is a limited amount of characters you can use in all the text metadata fields on the App Store and Google Play. Therefore, when creating texts, it’s necessary to count the number of used characters in all the localizations at hand. It will be unfortunate, if you come up with a good name or subtitle, but it will not fit the available size.

Does the number of words matter? Yes, it matters. If you are a famous brand and its name is well known, using just one word in the title is going to be enough. For instance, Facebook is not using additional keywords in its app name. But, if you are planning to increase the amount of your application’s installs, you should add some valuable keyword searches into the title. Use symbols (such as “-,” “&,” “:,” etc.) for visual separation in your title and subtitle instead of words to have a room for useful keywords

Use character amounts wisely in each locale and expand the variability of keyword searches for your application. In the subtitle (on the App Store) and short description (Google Play) it’s better to use additional keyword searches that will be summed up with keywords from the title. Remember that keywords can be combined and added to form search phrases. For example, if you use the “calorie counter” phrase in the title and then add the word “weight” in the keyword field, the application will be sought by such phrases, as “calorie counter” and “weight counter.”

Bring the Important Stuff Up Front

The name should not be a mere listing of keywords, but it rather has to be meaningful and outline the product’s main functions. The most valuable keyword searches for you have to be present in the title, then the important ones, but the least valuable should be placed in the subtitle (for the App Store) and short description (for Google Play). You don’t necessarily have to use all the available symbols, but it’s important to remember about the order. Important keyword searches should be put in the very beginning, so they have a greater value upon indexing.

One more rule applies to description in Google Play: main functions and keyword searches should be included in the first three paragraphs, as they are going to be considered the most valuable during description indexing in the market.

Don’t Duplicate

There is a myth, according to which repeated keyword searches in the title, subtitle and keyword searches (the App Store), in the title and short description (Google Play) enhances their indexing by a search algorithm, but this is not true.

You don’t need to repeat the same keyword or a search phrase in all the metadata fields. Use the number of available characters wisely and try to achieve a higher variability of search queries and their combinations. Concentrate on mid-tail and long-tail keywords.

On the App Store, there’s no sense in using singular and plural of simple nouns simultaneously in English. For example, singular “coin” is going to be indexed and you are going to be found by both “coin” and “coins” queries. Hence, adding a noun in plural doesn’t make sense anymore – include it only in singular form. But don’t forget to test each hypothesis first, before drastically changing the data.

However, there’s an exception. Since Google Play indexes your application’s description, the repeatability of search queries is relevant. We recommend using up to five different variants of keyword searches in the text. Once again, keep the balance in mind and write a meaningful text that describes the possibilities and benefits of your application, but make sure the text is not completely overwhelmed with search phrases.

Don’t Use Unnecessary Keywords

The App Store indexes applications automatically by additional keyword searches. For example, if your application is in the Free Games category, your set of keywords is going to be automatically added with such keywords as “free” and “games.” You will not need to add them one more time in your metadata.

This as well relates to the words in other categories and subcategories that your application belongs to. For instance, let’s assume that your application is in two categories in the same time: Tools and Entertainment. It is going to be indexed by these queries even if you haven’t added them in your metadata yourself.

Brand Searches

According to the App Store and Google Play regulations, you can’t use and mention the names of famous brands and trademarks. So, what do you do, if you really want your application to be searched by the name of your direct competitors?

On the App Store, you can use minor tricks and add brand names, if you write them in Cyrillic for example in Russian locale, and not in English or Spanish as original keywords. Also, you can use competitor names’ variations written with typos, or use several of the first letters from a brand’s name.

But, before adding such keywords to your texts, make certain to check if users actually use such queries. You can do this via our ASOdesk service or another ASO tool for semantic core creation. And keep in mind that such work with brand name queries is nonetheless an indirect breach of markets’ regulations and competitors can file a complaint against you. By no means should you add brand names and trademarks into the name, subtitle, and descriptions.

Expand Search Query Geography

On the App Store, you can use country locales to increase the number of queries for the chosen country. Using the UK (United Kingdom) locale for your main locale, for example for Spain, will help you to increase the number of keywords up to 100 characters, that means you can use more search phrases with higher traffic. These keywords will be indexed in Spain and all countries, except the USA, Canada, and Japan.

Let’s assume that you want to promote your application by the “calorie counter” keyword in Spain and Germany, but you’ve already used up all the characters for those countries in the metadata fields. In that case, you just need to add this phrase to the keyword field for the United Kingdom. These keywords will rank your app in search results in Germany, Spain, and other countries; there English UK works as additional language.

On the App Store, you can use country locales to increase the number of queries for the chosen country. Using the UK (United Kingdom) locale for another country, for example for Spain, will help you to increase the number of keywords up to 100 characters. That means you can use more search phrases with higher traffic in Spain. These keywords will be indexed in Spain and all countries, except the USA, Canada, and Japan.

Let’s assume that you want to promote your application by the “calorie counter” keyword in Spain and Germany, but you’ve already used up all the characters for those countries in the metadata fields. In that case, you just need to add this phrase to the keyword field for the United Kingdom. These keywords will rank your app in search results in Germany, Spain, and other countries; there English UK works as addinal language.

Ukrainian locale works not only in Ukraine, but as well in Russia. At the same time, the “Ru” locale is also effective in Ukraine. Due to the use of these two locales you are able to double the amount of keywords both in Ukraine and Russian Federation.

Also, you can double the amount of keywords available the following ways:

  • By using the Mexican (MX) locale in the USA;
  • By using the Catalan (ca-ES) locale in Spain;
  • By using the Hindi (hi-IN) locale in India.

Here you can find the actual table of localizations for every country on the App Store.

Here’s the detailed scheme showing the possible combinations of different locales by countries:

Let’s summarize all of the above:

  1. Always check text information in terms of relevance towards requirements before publishing to app stores;
  2. Analyze your keywords. Include the queries, by which you want to move up top, into the title;
  3. Don’t duplicate keyword searches;
  4. Research information on keyword searches that you may already be indexed by automatically;
  5. Use the power of brand name queries wisely;
  6. Expand your keyword searches by adding new locales.

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