8 Thoroughly Explained “ASO” App Store Optimization Hacks that work in 2016

ASO Hack 2016

There are many articles online and info hubs that offer you all the very best advice on App Store Optimization, the icons, screenshots, the title, competitors, the right way to write an app description this, oh, blah blah fish paste!

In reality, we are all just looking for that hack, right? That “one button fixes it all” thing. The ASO hack that defies the need for you to be a rocket scientist. We want that gratification. While it may look as though I am defeating the ends of justice here, or that this witcher is revealing his dark magic, the fact is that these dirty little hacks are totally within your control. Totally.

So here it is, the low down dirty ASO hack guide:

1) Reverse Engineer Competitors’ App Description

The internet is a place where you can learn from the mistakes and successes of others. Many people try to reinvent the wheel which is often a complete waste of time. Most online strategies carried out by successful ASO experts leave a trail. This means you can find a successful online ASO campaign and easily reverse engineer it.

Most successful apps have a good and well-crafted description. This results to a higher range of social signals that indicate that it’s a success. A large number of positive comments and sharing on various social media platforms is a clear sign that your competitor’s content strategy is working.

2) Drive Traffic Through Less Competitive ASO Keywords

The quality and relevance of your keywords to your app continues to be a huge factor in successful ASO or marketing campaigns. There are 2 ways to effectively do this in 2016 – you need to focus on long tail keywords and trending news and events in an industry or locality.

3) Long Tail ASO Keywords

It may not be possible to rank highly for shorter, more popular keywords in the app store search engines.

However, long tail keywords can bring you huge amounts of traffic when this strategy is implemented correctly. Simple ways I have achieved this in the past include using the right keyword tools – google play, google tools, Mobileaction, and Searchman. Long tail keywords give those with fewer resources an opportunity to get traffic larger competitors ignore. In most cases the traffic generated through a long tail keyword strategy is more targeted than high level, expensive keywords too.

4) Piggyback on the popularity of the latest News and Events in an Industry or Location

Working in an industry or niche which provides local, national or international updates on a regular basis gives an app owner an opportunity to rank highly for popular keywords. By using the keywords found on news, trend or event, it’s possible to piggyback on the popularity of the latest news, trends and events associated with your app.

This results in traffic competitors may not have considered.

5) Use Images and Video More Effectively

The popularity of images (icons and screenshots) and promotion video will continue to increase. These formats should be used to pre-sell apps in the coming year. Encouraging more likes, shares, tweets, pins and other sharing activities will be essential as more people realize how powerful these videos and images are.

More competition will exist online this year. However, using the hacks and information I’ve described above has the potential to improve the ASO activities of businesses and online marketers who wish to increase app traffic in the next twelve months.

6) Collaborating with clients more to leverage digital PR opportunities

An ASO strategy that we’ve been developing and implementing more and more at Games Gadgets & Gizmos is collaborating with our clients more to leverage digital PR opportunities. Folks in ASO have been talking about the similarities between PR and ASO for some time now (indeed did I, several years back), but not all understand how to think like PRs do and how to spot (or generate!) opportunities for press attention. Some of the most valuable links you can get are from mainstream media and news websites – these links are great for ASO as well as referral traffic, brand awareness and trust signals. ‘PR’ is great because it can mean a number of different things, at least one of which will be right for your business;

– News flow
– Interviews
– Internal customer data
– Surveys
– Industry press
– Media requests
– Linkbait
– Newsjacking
– And so much more

Whether starting small with small time bloggers, locally, industry or niche publications, or going in for a big fish in trying to make national and international news, PR is a great way of acquiring valuable, trusted and relevant links.

Whatever your strategy or approach, my recommendation would be to try and push the boundaries of creativity, to make your angle as hookable as possible – there are many other PRs and ASO experts doing the same thing all day, every day, so your ideas need to be creative, have a hook and be able to cut through the noise. Don’t make your users happy, make them ecstatic; don’t make them angry, make them furious; don’t make them smile, make them belly laugh!

7) Ego Baiting is a very simple, fast and easy to execute ASO strategy

Ego baiting, as the name suggests is to boost the ego of an app owner with the intention of receiving a backlink in the process. This can be accomplished by simply composing a Top 10 or Top 20 or even Top 50 ASO experts or top apps blog. Ego Baiting is a very simple, fast and easy to execute ASO strategy that will allow any app in any niche to gain links from important, authoritative and relevant sites or social media outlets within the same industry.

Simply write about the top 10 apps this 2016 or top ASO experts and rank them in order of brilliance. Include a link if you wish to each blog, publish the post and then send an email to each app owners or ASO experts to let them know of your post so that they can stroke their own ego levels and share a link to the post on their app and social media profiles.

You can take this approach a bit further if you wish by making your post into an awards celebration and physically sending each app owners or ASO experts a reasonably priced award in the post. The backlinks will follow and these relevant authoritative links will give you a gradual rise in organic search traffic that will just keep rising and rising in the long run.
8) Focus on long tail keywords that converted!

It’s a simple concept, but most often overlooked: build your strategies around long-tail, no volume ASO keywords that you know have converted, instead of building strategies based solely on keywords with the most search volume.

How to do it (part 1): There are two approaches you can take. First – do you have any historical data prior to (not provided)?

For one of my clients, we had been creating an ASO strategy around their highest volume target terms and it drove traffic, but none of it converted (fail!).

So, we flipped our strategy, and instead pulled a years’ worth of data only on the organic keywords that actually resulted in a conversion and created content based only on these terms.

We did this despite the fact that these terms showed no monthly search volume (according to MobileAction) and drove only a handful of sessions each month.

The result: The new ASO strategy we developed and implemented brought in a little traffic, but nearly all of it converted!

How to do it (part 2): What about 2016 when you don’t have organic keyword data from Apple and Google anymore?!

Of the keywords we found that converted for our clients, they all had these similar traits:

They were very long tail: containing at least 5 to 7 words within the search query

They were this long because they were often intention-based and semantic searches (e.g. someone speaking their query into a mobile device ‘how to do…, where do I…, best place to…’, etc.)

Because visitors were searching for such complex terms, they were often further along in the conversion funnel and as a result, more likely to convert!

Although Apple and Google claim that these terms have no volume and you can find these high value no volume target keywords for your own app by doing the following:

Export your queries report
Use the LEN function in Excel and pull the character count for each query
Narrow down to only search queries made up of at least 20 characters or more
Organize this narrowed list from A-Z to find common themes (for example: how do I…, where do I…, I want to…, etc.)

Then – develop your ASO strategy around these themes!
HAVE NO FEAR! Even though most of these terms will show little to no search volume in MobileAction, they are potentially likely to bring in at least some traffic that will have a much higher intention of converting.
Enjoy having less traffic, but more conversions and more money!

Ready to take your ASO the next level?

Get the #1 ASO Course in the Industry.

Learn a lot more!

Discover more App Store Optimization Topics


Keyword Research

The core of ASO... what is Keyword research and what do we need to think about , when we are doing it


Screenshot Optimization

How to increase conversions by working on our Screenshots, strategies, examples, case studies.


Icon Optimization

Do you love your icon? Great, but what about the public... and even more important how do you compete vs other apps?


Competition Analysis

How good is your ASO compared to others? can you outrank them? What are they ranking for?


Search Ads

Learn how to maximize your Search Ads strategy and improve ASO by mastering Apple Search Ads


Market Research

ASO not only give us an advantage to rank higher but also help us to understand the market and even come up with new app ideas.


Social Media

Learn how Social Media affects ASO and overall ranking in the App store


Black Hat ASO

ASO also have the dark side, in this section I discuss what Black HAT ASO is, and the type of naughty things others are doing.


ASO Tools

What is the best ASO tool out there? Let me review them for you and save you tons of $$$



Want to learn more about ASO? Subscribe to Gab Mini ASO Podcast.


Advanced ASO Strategies

Keyword Research for Big boys and Girls... things to keep in mind when we are tyring to take ASO to the next level.


Google Play

App Store Optimization for Google Play.... how to do it, what to keep in mind and how to achieve top results

Do you need help with ASO?

Today is your lucky day! Contact Gab and let's get your Organic Strategy 100% optimized