App Store Optimization (ASO): A Complete Guide & Proven Tips

MobileAction's ASO App Store Optimization Guide

"How do I increase the downloads of my app?"

"How can I get 1 million downloads for my app?"

"How do I get more people to discover my app?"

"What is App Store Optimization?"

If you have launched your app recently, you might be asking yourself these questions. Surely, the development and the launch process were very painful, but the game has just begun.

Although you have the fanciest app with amazing features and ground-breaking design, if no one knows that it exists, you will never see a great number of downloads. And the most guaranteed way to increase the downloads is, undoubtedly, App Store Optimization.

We have prepared this guide to explain everything you need to know about App Store Optimization for 2020. As we will continuously update this page with the latest news, data, and insights, bookmark it and stay tuned!

What is ASO (App Store Optimization)?

App Store Optimization (ASO) is a two-step process of optimizing mobile apps to maximize their visibility in app stores as a result of a search made in the stores and to increase the conversion rate by converting the potential users who discovered the app to maximize the download number.

In short, ASO refers to all of the efforts you do to get more people to discover your app and download it. As the process is somewhat similar to SEO, it's also known as "App Store SEO".

The main factors of ASO

We can divide the factors affecting ASO into two main groups based on whether those factors can be altered or not.

App Store Optimization Main Factors

On-metadata factors:

Anything under the full control of the app publishers is in the on-metadata group. These elements can be changed to enhance keyword rankings, boost the visibility and the conversion in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

The on-metadata factors that can be changed through App Store Connect or Google Play Console are as follows: App Title and Subtitle, Short and long descriptions, keyword field and promo text (App Store only), app icon, category, URL/Package, video previews, and screenshots.

Off-metadata factors:

The uncontrollable things concerning your app are in off-metadata factor group. These factors are generally the result of your optimization efforts and cannot be affected directly.

The off-metadata factors are rating and reviews, number and the velocity of the installs, the speed of download, the size of the app, bugs, etc.

Importance of App Store Optimization

ASO can be very tedious work as one needs to constantly monitor the performance of the chosen keywords and be on the lookout for new ones. But, is it really worth it?

To answer that question, let's have a look at the number of apps available in the App Store and Google Play Store.

Number of Apps in the App Store and Google Play Store

As of 2019, the number of apps in the Google Play Store has reached 2.47 million while the total number for the App Store is around 1.8 million according to Statista's report . That means there is a mass of apps competing with each other in the stores, and you need to make yours stand out somehow.

Although there are other paid methods to bring more traffic to your app, it is questionable whether the audience that comes via those methods will be high-quality or not.

According to Apple Search Ads , 65% of downloads in the App Store comes from search. And people search to find a solution to a problem or to satisfy a need. Hence, these organic users who come to your app as a result of a search are likely to have a higher retention rate and make the most purchase, the audience that is the most valuable for your app.

Why is ASO necessary?

There are many short-cuts out there to bring traffic to your app such as those flash in-app ads or social media ads. Sure, they are costly, but why bother with a long process like ASO if you can get results from other methods easily?

Well... the answer is that they're not the most efficient methods considering the cost-benefit relation. You need to constantly come up with new marketing messages, engaging CTAs, and maybe you'll be forced to give discounts, cutting your profit margin just to get people to discover your app. On the other hand, ASO provides you with the traffic you always wanted in the most hassle-free way.

Here are the overall benefits of App Store Optimization:

Benefits of ASO Infographic

Find the right users: The best part of ASO? It attracts the right users to your app. Those users will most probably stay with you for a long time and do lots of in-app purchases because they typed what they're looking for and your app came out among thousands of others.

Increase the visibility of your app: If your app doesn't rank in the top 10 in the search results, chances are the potential users will never discover your app. And guess who would download an app that's never discovered :) Exactly, nobody! You have to make it stand out in the app stores. It's not an option but a must.

Boost organic downloads: Once people who are interested in your app discover it, they will most definitely give it a shot. If they like the screenshots and videos you use, that is :) ASO provides you a constant overflow of organic downloads.

Acquire users in the most cost-effective way: Thinking about the advertising costs already? ASO is completely free, and the results depend entirely on your efforts. Continuous growth made cost-effective!

Reach out the users in the whole world: Are you satisfied with the users from only a few countries? With the right app localization strategies , you will be able to optimize your app for potential users all around the world. New markets will be at the tip of your fingers thanks to ASO.

Make the most out of your Apple Search Ads Campaigns: If you have an iOS app, ASO should be the first step before you start investing in an ASA campaign. An effective ASO strategy will enable you to come up with the best keywords, which will bring the highest Return on Ad Spend (ROAS).

Lots of app publishers achieved amazing results with ASO techniques. Runtastic , a well-known fitness app was able to raise their rankings from 70s to 20s in just 3 months. This achievement resulted in a thousand more downloads a day in the US alone.

Huuuge games , one of the most well-known game publishers, famous for its casino games, was able to increase organic app downloads for casino games portfolio by 120% in as quick as 9 months.

Surely, ASO has saved many other apps and games, and when used effectively with the right tools, it can create amazing results for even newly launched apps.

Therefore, ASO is definitely a must for all apps, regardless of their size!

Now, you know that it's a must for every app, let's get into the details of how to do make ASO.

How to Do App Store Optimization

So, you have come a long way and finally created your app! Ready to launch and watch the money pouring in... but hey! How to do this optimization thing? More precisely, how to do it right so you won't waste time struggling? Keep reading. You're on the right track!

Before we dive deeper into ASO strategies, let us warn you about one thing: ASO is not a magic potion. It won't create wonders overnight. It's not a sprint, but a marathon. So, be patient and keep optimizing :)

How to do ASO Infographic

Market Research

Should you start searching for keywords immediately? Not really...

Know thyself. Where do you stand in the competition? What are your strengths and weaknesses? What should you do to overcome the weaknesses and promote the strengths, and accordingly, what would be the best keywords representing those strengths.

Know thy enemy. Without knowing the competition in the market, your position against them, and what your strategy should be, defining the ASO roadmap would be very difficult.

Thus, always analyze the market. Get to know about your app category and other competing apps . Compare your app's strengths and weaknesses with those of the competitors. Find the gaps or the so-called unfulfilled needs in the market and think about how you can fill in.

No ASO strategy can be considered effective without a thorough market analysis. Once roadmap is done, you're ready to go!

At the beginning of this guide, we said that the App Store Optimization is a two-step process: Keyword Optimization and Conversion Optimization. Now, let's have a look at these two steps to understand ASO better.

Keyword Optimization

The first step to building a successful ASO strategy is App Store Keyword Optimization . This is where you focus on increasing the visibility of your app. Although Keyword Optimization may look like a one-time event at first glance, don't be fooled! It's actually a cycle that you need to repeat until you feel satisfied with the results.

The aim of Keyword Optimization is to find the most relevant keywords to include them in your app's metadata (more on this later) and to rank higher on the search results for those keywords. At the end of the day, the main purpose is to maximize your app's visibility in the app stores.

Keyword Optimization Cycle also consists of 3 steps in itself:

  • Keyword Research: Finding relevant keywords
  • Keyword Selection: Choosing the most suitable keywords
  • Keyword Testing: Testing the selected keywords in your app's metadata

ASO Keyword Optimization Cycle

Let's have a look at each step:

Keyword Research

Here comes the painful part: finding keywords... You need to come up with some potential keyword ideas to target them in the later steps. The initial keywords you find are going to be "Root Keywords" ("Seed Keywords" as some people call them). Your aim should be coming up with a grand list of root keywords. You can later focus on the long-tail version of them or create different combinations.

Although one tends to go wild when finding new keywords, always keep in mind that the keywords you find should be relevant to your app. You may discover really popular ones along the way. Yet, if they have nothing to with your app, you would be targeting the wrong audience by using those keywords. Not to mention you would be wasting your valuable quota in app description or keyword spot , doing that.

There is no easy way of doing keyword research, but you can try the below methods to begin with:

Brainstorming

Nothing can start without a fruitful brainstorming session, right? As this is your app, no one can know it better than you do. Well... except your colleagues, of course :) So gather with your mates and try to brainstorm about the possible keyword candidates. It's better to include all the possible keywords at the very beginning. You can always go back and exclude the ones you don't like anyway.

When you're brainstorming, try to put yourself in the shoes of your potential users. Think about what they would search for if they wanted to find an app like yours. You can also try to ask your friends who have never been involved in the development process of your app to catch new ideas. In the end, your potential users will also be uninformed about your app and just type what they need, won't they?

Thinking about the synonyms of the keywords you found can also be quite useful. Try to use an online synonym finder to come up with alternative versions of a keyword. You may also want to consider the different phrases that can replace those root keywords.

Web Research

What is the first thing you do when you're curious about something? Like everyone else, you would probably Google it first, right? We're not telling you to jot down everything about your app in a Google search bar, but you can simply look for the forum sites related to your app.

Observing what the community is talking about and the language they're using can come in handy to discover new keywords.

Another great source is the websites of your competitors. They have most probably thought about some amazing keywords already. Just pay a visit to their websites and note down all the related keywords. No need to reinvent the wheel when it's already made.

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Review Mining

Sometimes, your users have the best ideas. If you've already launched your app, you probably know that the app reviews are a great way to improve your product. The same reviews can also be used to detect some keywords your current audience is using. You can safely assume that your potential users may also have the same thinking pattern and type similar keywords in the search bar.

To do the app review mining , simply take a look at the most repeated keywords and make a quick scan to catch the related ones. Some app publishers overlook this method, but it's one of the most trustworthy ways of finding new keywords.

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Most Mentioned Keywords in App Reviews
Competitor Analysis

Last but not least, checking the app competitors will most definitely give you the best and the most reliable keyword ideas. As we mentioned, your competitors have already done the hard work and came up with the best keywords that work for them assuming that they're good at ASO.

But be careful! Don't just blindly target all the keywords they're using. Try to find out the best-performing ones that bring them the highest rankings or the most downloads. Asking how to find out that? Well... that's where the ASO Intelligence tools such as MobileAction's ASO Intelligence are coming in. Without a good app store optimization tool which provides accurate data, competitor analysis would be very difficult if not impossible.

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Competitor Keyword Tracking in App Store Optimization

Targeting your competitors' keywords will put you in the same league with them, and you'll be able to compete with them on the same grounds. Regardless to say, you'll save an enormous amount of time, knowing the best-performing keywords.

Keyword Selection

Congratulations! You're done with the most difficult part of ASO. Now that you have a grand list of keywords, should you just dump all of them into the keyword spot or description and see how it goes? Better think twice.

If you successfully completed the first step, you probably have hundreds of keywords by now. So, it's literally impossible to include all of them in the metadata of your app. Or let's say, there is a smarter way of targeting those keywords :)

Prepare a shortlist of keywords from that long list to experiment on. Now, you may think "how to choose the keywords then? These are all relevant to my app!"

Here are some criteria you should consider when selecting the most suitable keywords:

Popularity of the keyword (Search Score)

If a keyword is frequently searched by potential users, it's definitely a green light for you to choose it. Some keywords which are very much related to your app may not have search volume at all. You wouldn't probably want to use up your keyword spot for keywords that will never bring any downloads, right?

So, how to determine whether a keyword is popular? We have a metric in our dashboard called "Search Score" which assigns a score to each keyword according to its search volume. A score of "100" indicates a very popular keyword while "0" means that that keyword is as popular as the celery you had for dinner.

Keyword Search Scores App Store Optimization

Once you have your keyword list ready, add them to our dashboard and filter based on the search score. There is no threshold we can give as it changes from one market to another. But to be on the safe side, if the search score is greater than 40, it's good enough.

Difficulty of the keyword (Chance Score)

Before you decide on targeting any keyword, you should ask yourself "what is the likelihood of my app to rank for that keyword?" If it's a very competitive one, it may not be worth the effort to get in the competition.

Similar to the search score, there is also another metric on MobileAction's dashboard called "Chance Score", which shows the likelihood of an app ranking for that keyword. Sounds cool, huh? But how do we do it?

Keyword Chance Scores App Store Optimization

It's actually quite simple. We take into account the rankings, ratings, and the number of downloads of the top 10 apps ranking for that keyword. Then, we calculate a score ranging from 1 to 100 indicating the chance of an app to rank in the top 10 results for that keyword query.

So, as you can guess, just like in the search score, it would be best to target keywords with higher chance scores.

Relevancy

Relevancy is the most important of all three factors. And maybe the most difficult one as no ASO tool can 100% tell you whether a certain keyword is relevant to your app or not.

Although you have already selected the keywords with the highest search and chance scores, remember they do not predict if the audience you target will be interested in your app or not.

They're just AI-made metrics and won't really help if those keywords are not relevant. Because you would be targeting the wrong audience who will not download your app or delete even if they somehow download it.

You might be saying "So, what? As long as I get downloads, isn't it fine?" Well... It's not :) Later, in this guide, we'll cover how important the mobile app retention rate is and how it affects the rankings.

For now, just keep in mind that your ultimate goal by doing ASO should be acquiring loyal users who are genuinely interested in your app. And keyword relevancy is essential for that.

Keyword Testing

So, you chose your keywords and ready to see the magic. You will start by putting these keywords on your app's title, subtitle, keyword spot (for iOS) , and app description .

All these factors affect your app's ranking but in different coefficients. What we know is that, though, app title is the most important ranking factor for both app stores . Hence, place your best bet there.

Once you update these factors, you'll see an immediate boost in your ranking for the targeted keywords. What the app stores do is that they initially increase your rank and see if you really get downloads. If you're not, they drop it back. But if you're getting downloads, that means your app is truly relevant to that keyword, and keep increasing your app gradually.

Ultimately, if you successfully completed Keyword Optimization Cycle, your rank in the search results will increase, and thus your category ranking will increase. A boost in the category ranking will hopefully get you into the "Featured Apps" and then you'll watch dollars filling in your bank account.

That was the best-case scenario. What happens if your downloads are not increasing after the initial boost? That means you made a mistake in one of the steps of the ASO Keyword Optimization , and need to repeat the steps to get the desired results. We know, it sounds very tedious. But ASO is a marathon, and Keyword Optimization Cycle is the gist of it.

The ranking factors we mentioned can differ in the two most popular app stores. We'll get into the details of these for each of the stores later in this guide.

Conversion Optimization

The second step in App Store Optimization is the conversion optimization, also called as "creative asset optimization". Up until this point, all you've done was to increase the visibility of your app.

Having a highly visible app can bring downloads, but it doesn't guarantee that people will definitely hit that "Get" button once they see it. But conversion optimization, if done effectively, can promise a satisfying number of downloads at the least.

When your app appears in the search results thanks to your Keyword Optimization efforts, you get an impression. According to what the user sees, he/she can:

  • Decide to take a more detailed look and go to your app page, bringing in a page view
  • Hit "Get" and download your app (usually happens when users do a brand search)
  • Ignore it and scroll down

How the user decides after this point is all about the conversion optimization factors such as app icon, app screenshots, and app video preview and some other off-metadata factors such as app ratings & reviews, app download numbers, etc.

Hence, it's imperative to optimize the creatives in your app's page to get more downloads. After all, as a user, you would also download an app with nice screenshots, and memorable video preview, wouldn't you? :)

Now that the steps of App Store Optimization are more clear, let's move on to the ranking factors for each app store.

iOS App Store Optimization Ranking Factors

IOS App Store Optimization Ranking Factors

The App Store might seem to have fewer apps than the Google Play Store. Yet, it is reported that in the first 6 months of 2019, the App Store made 1.8 times more revenue than the Play Store. Therefore, distributing an app in the App Store has proven advantages.

When doing ASO for iOS apps , it is imperative to know the differences and how each factor affects the rankings. Here is a visual summary of all ranking factors for the App Store:

Apple App Store Listing Elements

Below, we have explained all the ranking factors for the App Store:

App Name

As the strongest ranking factor, App Name not only does affect your ranking in search results but it also directly affects the conversion rates. That's the first thing the potential users see when they discover your app, so what you write there truly matters.

App title can be at most 30 characters long. This may look a little restricting at first glance especially compared to Google's 50 characters. Yet, there are some strategies you can utilize to make the most of those precious 30 characters.

Tip-1: Include your brand name. Even if you don't have a famous brand yet, it still helps to make your app more memorable. Check these examples:

IOS ASO App Name Examples

Tip-2: Include the most important keywords that define your app in the best way possible or relay the value it provides. But, don't just stuff it with unrelated keywords. That will look spammy and scare your users off.

IOS App Name Keyword Optimization ASO

Tip-3: Choose a URL-friendly app name. Apple uses your app name to create the URL for your app. So, resist the temptation of using some special characters that would kill your URL.

IOS url Friendly App Name ASO

Tip-4:Keep it short. Your app name should be as memorable as possible. Putting the most related keywords may sound plausible at first. Yet, at the end of the day, your long-term success depends on whether users remember your app or not.

Subtitle

So, iOS has fewer characters for app title, but luckily there is also a subtitle field. Launched in iOS 11, it is made to give additional information about the app in a sentence or emphasize the most attractive features of the app.

Like the app name, subtitle has also a 30 character limit. Since it has a direct effect on the rankings of your app's keywords, it's important to have some important keywords to target in the subtitle as well.

The subtitle is also visible in the Top Charts and in the search results, which means it also affects click-through-rate (CTR) and conversion rate. So, your main purpose when making a subtitle should be to attract the attention of potential users with the most relevant keywords.

IOS App Subtitle Examples App Store Optimization

Keep in mind that the subtitle can only be updated when a new update or a feature is released. So, you better test different versions in each update to find out the most impressive and engaging subtitle that will convert the highest number of users.

Keyword List

In Apple's App Store, the description does not affect the keyword rankings in contrast to Google Play Store. However, there is a keyword list specific to App Store only, where you can put the relevant keywords.

The limit for the keyword list is 100 characters only. Here are some tips to utilize it in the best way:

  • Use the less competitive keywords that your app is likely to rank (High Chance Score)
  • Try to use shorter versions of the keywords
  • Don't include both the plural and singular versions of a keyword
  • Don't put prepositions or articles
  • Avoid repeating your app name
  • Use comma to separate each keyword

Remember to fill in all 100 characters as your app will rank for whatever you put in this space.

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Promotional Text

Introduced in iOS 11, the promotional text is the first 170 characters of the description. As opposed to the description, you don't need to release an update to change it, which makes it a more convenient marketing tool than the description.

IOS App Promotional Text Example

Promo text does not affect keyword rankings. But, it definitely has an impact on the conversion rate since it can be seen directly by anyone visiting your app page.

Try to make the promotional text as compelling as possible. You can include some special offers or latest updates to promote your app and conduct an A/B test to find out the message that works best for conversion.

Description

The description affects only SEO and changing it requires a new release. These two points, therefore, make the description a less attractive factor for ranking. Yet, it still affects conversion rate as users may read it when they land on your app page. So, it's important to make use of this 4000 character field.

Now, you can argue whether people really read all those long descriptions before downloading an app. Indeed, StoreMaven reports that most users end up reading only the first line of the description. That means only the first couple sentences matter, and you need to craft it in a way that communicates what your app does in the most efficient way.

Other than the first sentences, you need to optimize your description according to SEO rules. It's recommended to have a concise and clear description, which explains the key features of your product. Use bullet points and call-to-actions when necessary to create an easier reading experience. And lastly, don't forget to localize it for different storefronts (countries) as not all users can speak the same language as your app.

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In-App Purchases (IAP)

As in-app purchases (IAP) are indexed in both app stores, your app can rank for them as well. Before iOS11, it was only possible to rank for exact matches (for the exact keywords you put in IAP). Now, you can rank for broad matches for the keywords you put to IAP space.

Since you have the option to add up to 20 items as "in-app-purchase", it will be good to put some keywords to be ranked. Worried about your conversion rate if you add many keywords? That shouldn't be an issue here as IAP section requires users to tap into it, and many users are unlikely to check it.

But keep in mind that putting too many unrelated keywords there might not really help as they can be seen in Top Charts and Today tab.

Developer Name

The developer name is placed under the description, so users will need to scroll down to see it. As most users don't care to see the things coming after the description, the developer name doesn't affect conversion rate directly.

IOS App Developer Name Example

Still, a highly reputable developer name can get your app some conversion. Your app may even be featured in the Today tab thanks to that.

App Icon

App icon is the most distinguished element in conversion optimization. When a user finds your app, the first thing they see is usually the icon. And, either consciously or unconsciously, it affects users' decision to download your app. Therefore, it's extremely important to have an easy-to-recognize and attractive icon.

IOS App Icon Example

Finding the perfect app icon is not an easy work. But if you're just a beginner, we have some recommendations:

  • Get a memorable and simple icon
  • Make it consistent with the design of your app
  • Get feedback from your community (via forums or social media)
  • Don't put any text
  • Always A/B test different versions
  • Use the same icon everywhere

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Preview Video

When you find an app that you're interested in and go to that app's page, what grabs your attention first?

Now, don't say app name and icon! You've already seen them in the search results. You would probably look at the visuals immediately, right?

The first placeholder on the visuals part belongs to the app preview video if there is any. These videos are to showcase the user experience and UI of your app in a more engaging way. The video can be at most 30 seconds long, and the first 5 seconds of it counts most. Be sure to make it as compelling as possible.

We have some tips for you to optimize your preview video:

  • Show your app (and only your app) from the viewpoint of the user. The users want to see how it feels like to use your app.
  • Show the most amazing features in the first few seconds. Make it as impressive as possible.
  • Use poster frames.
  • Make your video informative but don't stuff it with too many details.
  • Check the content requirements specified by Apple.
  • Localize your video for different storefronts.

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Screenshots

Screenshots are one of the most important conversion optimization factors. They don't directly affect the rankings, but as they can be seen in the search results, they affect CTR and thus conversion rate.

You can have up to 10 screenshots for iOS apps. Out of those 10, you can either have 3 vertical or 1 horizontal one featured in the search results if there is no preview video. Those featured will be the first 3 vertical screenshots (or a horizontal screenshot if the first screenshot is horizontal) you have on your app's page. So, be careful about which screenshots you want to be featured.

IOS App Screenshot Example

The screenshot part is for you to introduce and showcase all the best parts of your app, especially the UX it provides. Since their effect on conversion rate is huge, better to optimize them to the best of your ability. Here are some suggestions:

  • Don't just blindly put pictures of your app. Add some text to let people know what you're showing.
  • The first 2-3 screenshots should always be the best ones since they will be shown in the search results. Orientation matters!
  • Emphasize the selling point of your app, that is the most important feature.
  • Conduct A/B tests and don't just assume that the very first version is the best.
  • If your app is compatible with the Dark Mode, have a screenshot featuring the UI of it.
  • Remember to localize your screenshots if possible.

Ratings & Reviews

Ratings are shown in the search results and directly affect the conversion rate while reviews can be seen on the app page. Ratings and reviews is a factor that you have no control on directly. But, you can still try to improve it by understanding the needs of the users and delivering on your promises.

Users who complain always give the best feedback as they tell about an issue, which you may have no idea it existed. Always analyze the reviews thoroughly and try to fix the problems in a timely manner. Don't forget to let those users know that their issue is resolved so that they can consider improving their ratings.

IOS Calm App Reviews

When you ask the review plays a crucial role in getting good reviews. Don't ask your users to rate your app right after they download it. Let them spend some time, complete a task, pass a few levels (if it's a game). After they enjoy the app, ask them to rate it. Chances are you will get better ratings. And don't forget to reply to the bad reviews since when a review gets a reply, the users are alerted and can change their reviews as a result.

Having a good review is extremely important to have a good conversion rate. A rating way below 3.5 usually gives the impression that your app is not a good choice. Sometimes, it might be even better to have no rating than to have an average one.

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Learn more detail about IOS App Store Optimization.

Google Play Store Optimization Ranking Factors

Google Play Store App Store Optimization Ranking Factors

Google Play Store is the largest app store in terms of the number of users and the number of apps. Google announced that as of 2019, there are around 2.5 billion active Android devices in the world. The market is, therefore, huge, and opportunities are tremendous. However, the competition is also as fierce since there are nearly 2.5 million apps.

Play Store is for those who would like to take the risk to earn more. The rules of the ASO game is similar to those in the App Store, but there are also some differences. We'll go over all the factors affecting ASO in Google Play Store , and update this guide with the newest tips and insights. So, stay tuned and keep reading :)

Google Play Store Listing Elements

App Title

Just like in iOS, app title affects both rankings in search results and conversion rate. And it is the strongest ranking factor of all.

In contrast to Apple's 30 character limit, app title can have up to 50 characters in the Google Play Store. So, you have 20 more characters for the most powerful ranking factor, which is great news for ASO warriors!

As you have more characters, you have more freedom. But how to make the best use of it? Sure, you already know that the brand name and the most powerful keywords should be in the title, but is there any other advice?

You can make it long, utilizing all the 50 characters or you can go for the short, precise branding option.

In the first choice, you'll turn to ASO approach and put the most important keywords (most relevant, popular, and least populated). This might increase your chances of ranking for those keywords, but be careful! If you put too many unrelated keywords, people may perceive your app spammy and unreliable.

Google Play App Store Optimization App Name Example

The second one is the branding approach. If you have a well-known and established brand, emphasize it first and put just a few keywords (if needed). The fewer keywords you put, the more emphasis will be on the brand name.

Google Play ASO App Name Example

Watch out these in either strategy:

  • Don't stuff any keywords! This is a very valuable place and the keywords you include here should be related to each other and to your app. When somebody reads it, it should make sense.
  • You can go for a clear call to action that defines what your app does. See one example below:

Play Store App Name Optimization ASO

  • Keep it short. Resist the urge of putting as many keywords as possible.
  • Only put the most important keywords.

Description

This is where Google is very different from Apple. As the inventor of SEO, Google ranks you in the search results in Play Store for the keywords you use in the description. That brings us to a notion we know very well from SEO: Keyword Density.

Repeating a keyword a couple of times signals that your app is very much related to it and should be ranked for it. Don't be deceived though! You should never stuff the keywords here and meaninglessly repeat it to get in the rankings. The penalty for that can be being banned from Google Play Store or not being approved at all. Not to mention people will find it annoying and not download your app.

The total length of description can be at most 4000 characters. Do all parts of those characters have the same importance? Nope...

The Short Description which includes the first 80 characters of the whole is assumed to have a higher impact on the conversion than the rest of the description has. So, make it catchy and impressive. Just like the subtitle in iOS, emphasize the true value of your app in a sentence.

Google Play App Store Optimization App Description Example

You need to take into account these points when preparing your app description:

  • Make it concise, easy-to-read, and as descriptive as possible.
  • Tell your user what makes your app unique and why they will love it.
  • Use CTAs where possible.
  • Try to repeat some very important keywords up to 5 times (if possible) to be able to rank for them.
  • Also, try to use some long-tail versions of the seed keywords.
  • Localize it to different storefronts.
  • Use bullet points and to make it more interesting and easy to grasp the important features.

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URL / package

Interestingly, your app can rank for the keywords you include in your URL. Better to put some important keywords as Scripts did:

Google Play ASO url Factor

However, be careful that you cannot change it later once you set it up. So, think carefully about the keyword to include there not to rank for something completely unrelated.

Developer Name

Unlike the one in App Store, the developer name in the Google Play Store is shown below the app title, so it is quite visible. Considering that Google values the developers, who have a successful record of apps, and increase the rankings of their apps, we can say that the developer name definitely has an impact on rankings.

Google Play Store Optimization Developer Name

A good advice here is to include a keyword right next to the developer name. Since this placeholder is very up in the app page and highly visible, why not use it to rank for a few keywords right? :)

App Icon

When a user comes across your app after a search query, the first thing he/she sees will be your app icon design . Not only in the search results, it's visible in the listing page, Top Charts, Category Rankings, so almost everywhere! Since it's the most important visual asset for your app, make sure you have a great one.

But, what is a great app icon anyway? First of all, it should be an easily recognizable logo that doesn't contain any text. Whatever image or item you choose to use should be related to your app in a way, you wouldn't want to puzzle your potential users, right? And overall, it should be memorable from the viewpoint of your users.

Google Play App Icon ASO

When it comes to creative assets, what is important is to do A/B tests constantly. Don't stick to the first icon you came up with. Even some of the most famous brands have revised their app icons a couple of times until they've found the one that converts.

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Screenshots

Screenshots are one of the most important visuals that affect the conversion rate. Most people will decide whether to give your app a go or not, just looking at the app screenshots.

In Google Play Store, the search result page comes in different styles based on the keyword you search for. Check the examples below:

Google Play ASO Facebook Search Results

Some search result pages will feature the screenshots, but oftentimes, only the logo will be shown. So, it might seem like the screenshots in Google Play have less impact than those in the App Store because they're generally visible in the listing page only. Nevertheless, they're an important factor affecting the conversion to some degree, and you need to care for them accordingly :)

Google Play ASO Screenshot Factor

Here are some tips for screenshots:

  • Be extremely picky about which screenshot you put. You should feature only the best parts of your app.
  • Put some text to explain which part of your app that screenshot belongs to.
  • Mind the order of the screenshots. The first 2 screenshots are shown by default. Hence, those should be the best ones of all.
  • Use CTAs as texts when necessary.
  • Test different options (A/B testing) and find the best ones
  • Don't forget to localize!

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Promo Video

You have an option to use a promo video in addition to the screenshots, and regardless to say videos can be much more effective in converting users.

Adding a video to your app page is very easy. Simply upload your video on YouTube and put the link of the video into the section that belongs to "Promo Video" in your app's page.

The good news is that since YouTube is used in this process, when people watch the video on your app's listing page, the view count on the YouTube video also increases. As the view count increases, the rankings on YouTube will increase accordingly. Eventually, your video will rank higher in Google's search results.

Your video should feature the best parts of your app, just like your screenshots. The first couple of seconds are very important in Google Play Store as well, so make sure your best scenes are shown at the very beginning.

Ratings & Reviews

Ratings and reviews, undoubtedly, affect your app's conversion rate as many users evaluate your app based on the average ratings or the recent reviews before they make a decision. But Google will also regard your app highly if you have high ratings and increase your rank. Hence, it is important to have good ratings (above 3.5) and positive reviews.

As ratings and reviews are under the control of the users, you won't have a direct impact on them. Yet, there are some tactics at your disposal to use to get good reviews:

  • Don't send a review request right after the users install your app. Ask them to review or rate your app when they satisfactorily finish a task.
  • Always be responsive to both good and bad comments.
  • Now, this may sound a little obvious, but having a bug free app is the guaranteed way to get good reviews. Continuously improve your app to satisfy your users.
  • Browse the reviews and come up with the most repeated keywords. Maybe your app has a technical issue that you're not aware of. Chances are your users will report it and you'll immediately know what's the problem and fix it.
  • Let your users know that their issue is resolved so they may consider revising their ratings.

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Downloads & Retention

The number of downloads is an indicator of how popular your app is and Google also takes it into account when ranking your app. However, don't think that just getting users to download your app by paying them or awarding them in some other way will immediately get your rankings up.

Those common Black Hat ASO techniques may give you an advantage in the short term, yet, in the long run, you won't be able to hold those users and your retention rate will go down. Regardless to say, Google takes into account the retention rate together with the number of downloads and ranks the apps accordingly.

Apart from Google, users also care about the download numbers when they make a decision. Clearly, a very low number of downloads signals either a poor or an unpopular app; and the users are unlikely to download it. But, no worries! As long as you deliver on your promise and do proper ASO, you will never have to worry about download numbers.

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Bugs & App Size & Battery Life

As Google wants to deliver a seamless experience for Android users, these factors are also said to affect your rankings. If you have many bugs; your app keeps crashing; the size is way too big, or it kills the battery, Google perceives it as a poorly developed app and don't rank it high.

All of these issues also have a tremendous impact on user retention and download numbers. Even if you somehow get a good ranking, the users will keep complaining about your app in the reviews, rate it very low, and most probably delete it after a while. So, better solve these technical issues before they become an insurmountable problem.

Learn more detail about Google Play App Store Optimization.

Analyzing Your App (Analyze, Optimize, Monetize)

Now that you know what it takes to increase the visibility and the conversion rate of your app, it's time to put all that knowledge into practice.

As we mentioned throughout this guide, you need a very comprehensive keyword intelligence and analysis tool to be able to come up with the best ASO strategy. In this part of our ASO guide, we'll explain how you can use MobileAction's ASO Intelligence tool in every step of App Store Optimization process.

Analyze

You should first analyze the current condition of your visibility in app stores. Do the keywords you're currently using bring you any conversion? How do you rank in the search results for each keyword query? What is your category ranking? Try to get answers to these questions before you start diving deeper into the bottomless pit of keyword optimization. You can use Ranked Keywords feature of MobileAction for that.

Analyzing Ranked Keywords App Store Optimization

Add the relevant ones into your tracking list to observe the changes and your ranking for each of them. Next, go to Competitor's Keywords feature and select a competitor to see which keywords they're using. Add the relevant keywords to your keyword list.

Analyzing Competitor Keywords App Store Optimization

After you borrowed some keywords from the competitors, you can check the Category Keywords feature to find out the most popular keywords of your app's category. Add the related ones into your tracking list.

Finding Popular Category Keywords App Store Optimization

Next is finding out new keywords! Go to Keyword Research Tool and enter some of the good performing seed keywords. Keyword Research will show you some long-tail and similar keyword suggestions. Add the ones you see appropriate into your tracking list.

Keyword Research App Store Optimization

Lastly, you can check the ASO Report to compare the keyword movements to get insights about how visible your app is.

Analyzing ASO Report App Store Optimization

So, you have done your initial research and built up a list already. You can also add the keywords you come up via brainstorming manually to your keyword list. Now, let's move on to the optimization phase.

Optimize

In this stage, you need to compare your keywords to those of competitors and compare keywords to each other to pick the most useful ones. Remember the keywords you choose should be:

  • Relevant to your app (only you can decide this one)
  • Popular (searched by many people - determined by Search Score on MobileAction)
  • Not competitive (in other words, the chances of your app to rank for that keyword should be as high as possible)

Go to Keyword Tracking feature and sort the keywords based on search score and chance score. Basically, you should opt for keywords that have the highest values for both scores. Mark the keywords with high scores or group them to use later.

Keyword Tracking App Store Optimization

There it is! You have a shortlist of keywords already! Now, all that is remaining is to see whether your ranks will increase if you include these keywords into your app's metadata, which will be the next action.

Monetize

Depending on the app store of your app, add these keywords into your metadata factors to target them. Remember that the best keywords should either go to app title, subtitle (for iOS) or short description (for Android). Try to include all of the keywords in the metadata factors not to miss your chance to rank for them.

Once you include a keyword in your metadata, you'll see an immediate increase in the ranking in search results for that keyword. However, don't let that deceive you! It doesn't mean that your app is better off now, but it's an experiment done to see whether users will download it. If the download numbers increase as well, that is a legitimate sign that your app is truly related to that keyword, so the rankings will keep increasing.

If you don't see any improvement, which shows that people who are searching for that keyword are not interested in your app, you will need to target different keywords. But no worries! There are a ton of different keywords that you can target, and sometimes, the only way to find the best-performing ones is the trial and error method :)

If you stayed with us until the very end, congratulations! You've finished a post of 8000+ words! Let us know what you think about this guide and how we can improve it. You can also reach us out for any product or ASO related questions by scheduling a demo below 👇

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