What is App Store Optimization and How it Boost App R
mobile App marketing

What is App Store Optimization and How it Boost App Ranking?

An app need a minimum of 40k installs a day to get into the slot of top 25 apps.

What is App Store Optimization and How it Boost App Ranking?

With more than 4 million apps in the app stores, the competition to get an app ranked has become tougher than ever. There are a plethora of apps available in each category that makes it is almost impossible for any newbie to get noticed.

As per Forresters, about 63 percent of the users rely on the App Store search results for downloading an app. This statistic clearly underlines the significance of putting an app above others.

Ankit Jain, the Founding Partner at Gradient Ventures and a Director of Engineering at Google, said at Google I/O,

By 2020, the annual gross revenue for mobile apps is expected to touch $102 billion mark.

app store optimization
Credits: App Annie

To put simply, ASO is the backbone of the app marketing that boosts up an app’s visibility in the app stores like Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

What is ASO and Why is it Important?

App Store Optimization, App Store Marketing or Mobile App Store SEO is one at the same thing. It’s a technique that helps in improving the app ranking on the app stores like Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

In simple words, we can put ASO as a method to drive maximum downloads through various means. The key performance indicators impacted by ASO are:

  • Ranking
  • Impressions
  • Shares
  • Engagement (reviews/ratings)

According to PageTraffic, an India based SEO Agency,

When competing against millions of apps to get noticed in the search results, it requires your app to be aligned with the app store’s search algorithm. The higher the search ranking for your app is, the more downloads it will get as it will be circulated among a larger audience. There are many benefits of app store optimization, which ultimately help the developers with the best ways to market an app.

As per a survey, the most common way through which a user downloads an app is via general app store browsing, followed by tips from friends and then it’s the browsing top-rated apps in the app stores.

app store seo
Credits: Apptentive

Sadly, the app store optimization steps have been continuously overlooked by the app developers and owners, that result in poor app store search rankings.

The Technicality Behind ASO

Both Apple and Google consider the total page visits and backlink of the app for search ranking. The SEO skills can help in getting the maximize page visits and backlinks. You also need to get the outside traffic for the app to carry out useful mobile app optimization.

There is a new concept called ‘App Indexing.’ It is useful for mobile apps among app developers. With this method, the developers can index their app content to the web or mobile web search for drawing more traffic to the app.

For your better understanding, we have put down the ASO into two categories. One is the primary factor, and the other one is the secondary factor.

1. Primary Factors

The primary factor of ASO include the title and the keywords. Both of these things play a crucial role in getting the app ranked.

  • Title: The title should include the keyword with the heaviest search traffic because it can be detrimental. It’s advised that once the title is set, it shouldn’t be changed because it may hamper the chances of downloads from the people who already know about the app.
  • Keywords: Inserting keywords in the title is not that simple as it may seem. The app publisher should add relevant keywords that are most likely to be used by the target audience.

mobile app optimization

2. Secondary Factors

 The secondary factors of ASO include downloads and ratings & reviews.

  • Number of Downloads: The number of downloads directly impacts the app ranking on the app stores.
  • Ratings and Reviews: This factor is vital, but at the same time, it can’t be controlled.

App Store Optimization Checklist

The following play store optimization tips are the right path for you to maximize your mobile app downloads and will pave the way for the exponential growth of revenue. However, it requires the mobile app marketing companies to take some planned and well-researched actions that further gives importance to your app’s representation in the app stores.

Let’s start with the app store optimization guide.

1. App Name

The app name plays an extremely significant role while implementing the techniques of application store optimization. It’s not only required for the product branding but also influences the search ranking in the app store.

The app’s name should be chosen with proper research after an understanding of your targeted customers and should make a blend of the perfect keyword having heavy search volume with the representation of the brand.

According to a study by Tune that was conducted over the top 25 top ranking apps, the apps with the relevant keyword in their title or name ranks 10.3% higher than the apps with no keywords.

play store optimization

In the above image, the name of the app is clearly conveying the app’s functionality and is sure to catch the user attention. Here are some additional tips for the app name:

  • Try to make the app title descriptive;
  • Avoid using generic terms and phrases or the name of existing apps;
  • Don't use celebrity names or trademarks;
  • Choose categories depending upon the core functionality of your app.

2. App Description

This is the place where you need to work more than anything else for the conversion. You need to add keywords in the description wisely to prove the app store that your app is worthy of getting noticed at the top.

The description should be user-oriented, compelling and should describe the app’s service benefits and feature in the best way to the user. Also, it must be concise and to the point for the reader without any promotional stuff.

Points to consider for the app description:

  • Keep it simple and informative;
  • Target the first three lines of the description as readers are less likely to click ‘read more;’
  • Use bullet points for describing service and features.

application store optimization

3. Keywords Placement

Keyword placement is consequential in mobile app SEO optimization, as it helps the app to get scanned by the app store algorithm to achieve higher search ranking. However, the incorrect or overuse of the keywords will make things worse.

So, you must be aware of the right technique to implement the keywords in your description and title for better results. Both Google and Apple posses different approach towards Keyword inclusion.

For the Google Play Store:

Google uses a more modern kind of SEO technique to scan the app for extracting the relevant keywords from it. It allows you to describe your app within 400 characters using the simple and user-oriented language.

You should be avoiding the keyword stuffing and stick to the customer's point of view; sprinkling the keywords wherever it makes sense.

For the Apple App Store:

Apple gives you only 100 characters to place your keywords smartly. You need to make sure that you must use these 100 characters carefully with proper research and place them logically in the content.

4. Keyword Optimization

Keyword placement plays a key role, but the ‘Optimization of Keywords’ is even more important. 

If the app is new, always choose those keywords that have low search volume and are reasonably popular. This technique will help your app to gain initial momentum. After the app gets an initial momentum, it is time we move towards the app store keywords of higher popularity.

Best ASO Tools

Best ASO Tools

Nowadays, to perform well in the app store search list, the app owners are using app store keyword optimizers. Here are some of the best app store optimization tools:

  • ASOdesk
  • SearchMan
  • Meatti
  • Sensor Tower
  • Mobile Action

5. Compelling Icon

Visual effects have become an influential element in every single domain. It can make the app rememberable and get noticed in the overwhelming crowd of millions of apps. An app icon is the first thing that the user notices.

An app icon considerably convinces the user to download your mobile or web application. A perfectly designed icon with a unique look is most likely to win the hearts in seconds. Along with this, you also need to respect the app store’s image-standard policies.

For the Apple App Store:

The standard resolution for icons across the iOS device -  1024 X 1024 pixels.

  • App icons - 180 x 180 pixels
  • Navigation icons - 66 X 66 pixels
  • Tab bar icons - 75 X 76 pixels

app store optimization tips

For the Google Play Store:

The standard resolution for icons across Android devices - 512 X 512 pixels.

However, Google requires the app developers to design the icon in accordance with its material design.

6. Choosing The Right App Category

The categories and related policies are a bit perplexing. The algorithm considers the prescribed category while preparing the search rankings for the apps. It makes the selection of the category a paramount task. You must select the category that reflects the prime functionality of the app.

Choosing The Right App Category

Considering the example of Instagram and Facebook, Facebook is listed under the Social Networking category, while Instagram is categorized as Photos & Videos. However, both of these serve as the social media platforms for sharing posts in terms of pictures and videos, but their category depends on their core functionality.

7. App Screenshots And Videos

The users are more likely to judge the mobile application via its screenshots and available videos, so you need to make them interesting and amazing. Here, the graphic designers play a vital role and are mainly responsible for capturing the end user's attention.

A report from Storemaven states, about 60% of the users don’t go beyond the first two screenshots. So, you need to optimize the images too. Make sure that your initial screenshots share all the functionalities and the best features of the app. Along with this, make sure to add the benefits of the app that users can avail.

App Screenshots And Videos

On the other hand, video is another option to make an impact, and for that, the video should be curated smartly. 

Things to remember while adding app Screenshots and video:

  • Always add high-resolution screenshots;
  • Make sure to add an illustrative video of the app’s working and usage;
  • Use animation or overly text to highlight the best features of your mobile/web app.

8. Localize The App

According to research, only 31% of the app revenue comes from North America, while the rest of the revenue is generated by the non-English speaking regions. Whereas, almost 72% of the non-English speaking consumers prefer to shop and browse online in their native language. 

The above stats clearly highlights the significance of localization to boost the app’s branding.

Localize The App

You need to make sure that the app is available in the local language to the users outside the English speaking zone. It will open the gates for a larger audience to try out the mobile app.

You can make the changes for localizing the app in the following fields:

  • App Title
  • App Description
  • App Screenshots and Videos

However, localizing the entire app is a hectic task to implement, especially because of translating the app's content into different languages. Performing a complete localization of the app should only be proceeded when the translating of other parts of the app has been done.

Both Apple and Google allows app developers to localize their app just by following their guidelines. By breaking the language barrier, you can magnify the reach of the app many times.

Frequent Updates are Important

9. Frequent Updates are Important

No one likes the apps that remain the same and does not offer anything new to the users. Even giants like Facebook and Instagram frequently update their app with new features to keep things exciting for their users.

You must keep your app alive for the series with frequent updates containing new features and options. It keeps the users to hang on your app and will surely increase the downloads for better ranking in the app store. Try to add new rewards in case of a gaming app.

By updating the app, it also gets the attention of Apple and Google team in the respective app stores. Apple also wants the developers to quickly adjust their apps with the latest App Store’ policies; otherwise, it instantly kicks out the app from the store.

10. Pay Extra Attention To Reviews and Ratings

The app reviews and ratings from the customers are the most valuable assets that you have after launching your app.

A study shows that 59 % of the users download the app after going through the reviews and ratings of the app. Hence, all the big companies always pay attention to the reviews from their users for making the app better.

Pay Extra Attention To Reviews and Ratings

The reviews and ratings also play an important role in uplifting the search ranking in the app store. Apple App Store and Google Play store use the algorithm that follows a certain structure to judge the apps.

Mobile apps with low rating and bad reviews are always going to be pushed down in the list. So, you need to be very careful when it comes to dealing with the user's experience of your app to get better ratings and positive reviews.

google play optimization

Some additional tips regarding the app’s reviews and ratings:

  • Ask users if they like the app or not;
  • Monitor the in-app user behavior to know what they expect from the app;
  • Add a prompt to rate and review the app, but without hurting the user experience;
  • Quickly answer any negative review and resolve it.

Difference Between Play Store and App Store ASO Techniques

ASO Factors Play Store App Store
Metadata Indexing Slower. Can take months to reflect the changes. Faster. Takes around a week to reflect the changes.
Relevant Fields KWs, bundles, title, short and long description. KWs, app ID, title, and sub-tile.
Irrelevant Fields What’s New Description, promo text, and release notes.
Icons & Screenshots Inclusion of weapons allowed, but no explicit violence. No guns or violence allowed.
Subtitle Length 80 characters 30 characters
iOS Keyword Field Does not rely on a keyword field. 100 characters
Number of Screenshots 8 screenshots 10 screenshots
App Videos One app video 3 preview videos
Backlinks Considered Not considered

How to Use The Competitors and Users Info to get Higher Search Ranking?

The most effective mobile app store optimization technique includes the information of the users to know exactly what they want. In addition, you can also observe the competitors know how they are securing a high search ranking.  

The following are the tips to learn better about the targeted audience:

  • Knowing the language of the targeted users
  • Reasons to use the app
  • What keywords competitors are targeting and why?

The app store SEO optimization takes time and effort to show you the result with higher search ranking and ultimately, propels the revenue generation. 

How App Downloads Help in Improving Search Ranking?

The data of app download is available with the developers and the app store owner, and it clearly defines the popularity of the app among the user. It reflects the image of the app among the app store users; the apps with higher downloads represents that the users like the app.

It means the download number do affects the app store search engine. The apps like TikTok and Musically suddenly jumped up the search ranking due to the immense number of downloads.

App Downloads Help in Improving Search Ranking

What Will You Lose if You Ignore ASO?

As per a report, the developers made around $20 million in the last quarter of 2018 via the Apple App Store. If you fail to follow on with the effective App Store Optimization strategies (ASO), you are certainly going to miss out of hell lot of money.

It elucidates that, without right App Store Optimization techniques, your app is largely missing the opportunity to leverage the most powerful channel that could bring millions of downloads for it.

Therefore, it’s clear, with hard work, you also need to bring on smart work and for an app, following app store optimization process is the smart work that should be kept in mind while releasing it on the app stores.

Arpit <span> Business Development Head </span>
Written By
Arpit Business Development Head

He is responsible for marketing programs, brand management, and corporate sponsorships. He thrives on challenges, particularly those that expand the company’s reach. Next to work, Shadow, his dog, immensely contributes to his happiness.

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