Search engine optimization, or SEO, is currently dominating the marketing world. Soon, businesses will have a new metric to worry about—ASO, short for app store optimization. ASO is coming out with a force thanks to the upcoming release of iOS 11 and the iPhone 8 and X. If you haven’t been following smartphone news, it may understandably sound confusing.

What is ASO and Why It Matters

If you know SEO, then ASO will be easy to understand. Both tools work very similarly. ASO, like SEO, is dependent on keywords to increase visits and identification of an app in an app store. ASO is concerned with boosting an app’s ranking by using the right type and number of keywords, which is just like SEO. The idea is to make your app visible to as many people as possible.

Businesses take various approaches to promoting apps but rarely is it done through the app store. This poses a dilemma because the large majority of apps—a whopping 63 percent according to data compiled by Forrester—are found through a search within an app store. Consumers mostly download apps they search through the store, not by getting redirected from another website or an online ad.

If you have an app associated with a brand or a business, then ASO will become a necessary tool just like SEO, says John Burgess, a veteran business consultant. It’s best to learn about the technique early on before all the apps hit the iOS 11 store. Currently, ASO is mostly relevant to iOS 11, but in the future, it will be prominent on other app stores as well.

How to “ASO”

If you want to increase the chances of a customer finding your app in the store, the best way is to increase its app ranking. That is essentially what ASO boils down to. For apps that are being released just for the iOS 11 store, this is the most important technique to know about.

ASO, like SEO, involves identifying the right keywords to boost your app’s rankings. These keywords should relate to app store searches exclusively, not online searches overall. Marketing teams will need to do significant amounts of research to isolate the right keywords. Marketers can use third-party tools like MobileDevHQ to run keyword analyses and choose the right ones.

Page Optimization for iOS 11

ASO will be first tried out on the iOS 11 platforms. Marketers, therefore, need to be aware of the new changes coming to the mobile operating system. Namely, it’s advised to pay attention to the components on each app page. Customers will easily be able to access a smart search bar that makes all content easier to find. Optimized app pages will have a higher chance of getting discovered with the smart search bar.

Apple has decreased the overall number of keywords allowed on each app page. Therefore, whatever’s available should be used wisely. Developers can boost rankings by matching app page keywords with in-store purchase keywords.

ASO is on its way so all businesses that have apps are strongly advised to be knowledgeable about what it’s all about.