Apple has been pretty busy in the month of September thus far. On the first day of the month, Apple announced that all app titles will be limited to 50 characters, and in addition, they are removing apps that no longer function properly, or follow the App Store policies. Overall, this is a change for the better when it comes to the user experience in the App Store, but it definitely introduces some ASO-related challenges for a lot of apps.
From an ASO standpoint, this was pretty serious news coming from Apple, because this marks the first time since the App Store was introduced that they have made a major change to the title of apps. The previous limit was 255 characters (even though Apple would generally reject apps with half of that limit), which provided developers the opportunity to spread out keywords, and in some cases, totally take advantage of the system. The title has always been a valuable way to inject additional keywords into your ASO strategy, and now developers need to rethink their strategy.
As we all know, the title of an app plays a major factor in ASO, and shortening a title to 50 characters introduces a big change/challenge for a lot of apps. The real goal of ASO is to create as many combinations of keywords and phrases between the keyword list and title. In some cases, apps are losing 20-40 characters by shortening their title. Losing that many characters can remove a number of keywords.
I’ve always said that App Store Optimization is a combination of science and art. The science of ASO comes from keyword research, understanding competition, and traffic/volume of the keywords. The art side of ASO is formatting your title, keywords, and descriptions to utilize the appropriate keywords and create the maximum number of phrases. The ultimate optimizations occur when these things are combined. Here at The ASO Project, that’s the true basis of our efforts, we utilize our technology, in addition to our knowledge of search to create the most ideal optimizations for our clients.
With the introduction of these shorter titles, ASO will now be even more of an art to determine the perfect 150 characters of title and keywords to use. Developers need to better understand the value of keywords for their specific app. If your app is ranked at 93rd for a specific keyword, odds are it’s not very valuable, even if the traffic is high.
Developers need to modify their optimizations to align with Apple’s new policy. Any updates to apps moving forward will need to align with this new policy, or Apple will reject the app. Adjusting to shorter titles will take some time for developers to rethink their strategy and ensure they’ve implemented the most valuable title and keyword list combination possible.
So at the end of the day, what does all of this mean for ASO? Plain and simple, it’s becoming more important to have a clear ASO strategy and optimizations that are created based on data.
ASO Tip of the Month: Only 2-5% of users view your entire description in the App Store/Play Store. Focus on making the first few lines valuable in the App Store, and test your short description in the Play Store.