App store optimization

Ultimate App Store Optimization Guide for Beginners in 2022

  • By Nishar Multani
  • December 30, 2020
  • 7 Min Read
App store optimization

Launching a new app in support of business is an effective way of reaching potential consumers. However, ensuring the app ranks well is of paramount importance to make sure the app is noticed by the users.

That is because, as of 2021, the Google Play Store has 3.15 million apps, and the App Store has 2.09 million apps as stated in Statista. With numerous apps available today, it can be challenging to make an app stand out and receive the attention it deserves.

The fierce competition existing among the apps today makes the app's discoverability a massive task in itself. This struggle to get noticed has led most app marketers to take the help of App Store Optimization (ASO).

ASO is unquestionably one of the best paths forward, whether it's for getting recognized or growing in popularity. The appropriate App Store Optimization strategy and execution can help an app rise to the top of app store rankings and increase downloads.

This article will provide a brief overview of the value and purpose of app store optimization services, and provide information on how ASO is performed.

What is ASO? Is it really necessary?

App Store Optimization or ASO is the process of optimizing an application to improve app visibility in app stores and increase app store conversion rates. It is the key to make a mobile application as visible as possible to potential customers. And yes, it is necessary to improve the app reachability and ranking.

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How is ASO Different From SEO?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the optimization process that is applied to websites. Although it is sometimes assumed that ASO is the same as SEO, it is not true. SEO and ASO do have some common characteristics and shared qualities, however, they have different aims.

Therefore, it is critical to understand how to distinguish between these two optimization processes. Here are some significant similarities and differences between them.

ASO vs. SEO

The reason why ASO is referred to as app store SEO is that both the processes share some similarities. As in, both strategies have backlinking, keyword optimization, and conversion optimization. The main differences, however, are the ranking factors.

Since SEO involves web browser giants like Google Search, Bing, and so on, it entails more than 200 aspects for the ranking factors. In comparison, the list of ranking factors for ASO is much shorter.

The following table illustrates some main differences between both ASO and SEO in crucial areas:

App Store Optimization (ASO)Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Goal
To get more downloadsTo get more organic traffic
Digital space/Search engines
Apple App Store, Google Play storeGoogle, Yahoo, Bing, etc.
On-metadata factorsOn-page factors
App Name / TitleSubtitle / Short DescriptionPromotional Text (App Store)DescriptionKeywords field (App Store)Visual assets: icons, screenshots, and videosApp Listing localizationDeveloper name (Google Play)URL (Google Play)In-App Purchases names (App Store)Site architectureUXPage load speedMeta TitleMeta DescriptionH1, H2, H3… tagsContent optimization (text, images, videos, etc)Quality of contentUser EngagementResponsive/mobile design (Mobile first)

Why is ASO important?

ASO helps improve the visibility of an app in mobile app stores such as the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. With the growing number of apps, the need to be visible is also increasing. Let us now guide you through the critical reasons why ASO is essential:

  • It helps your app to be found in search results
  • ASO also helps reach the international audience
  • It prevents the app from being removed from mobile store apps
  • Cuts user acquisition (UA) costs

The fundamental goal of App store optimization is to maximize downloads and make your app easily discoverable or visible. To reach this goal, you first need to understand the user behavior towards mobile apps-how do they find mobile apps and download them?

Mobile app Visibility

The visibility of your app plays a crucial role in downloads. People using Android smartphones use the Google Play store, and people using iOS smartphones use Apple App Store to search for specific mobile apps. The Search facility in the app stores helps find new apps for the users. It is found that almost 67% of downloads occur right after the search.

People can download any app only if it is visible in search results. Therefore, making your mobile application visible for relevant searches is one way to make it noticeable by the users.

The search facility is the most common method to discover new apps. Furthermore, the search ranking position of an app is in direct association with the number of downloads.

So, the bigger your app ranks, the more relevant it looks for the user. Since users do not scroll and check the complete search results, your app must rank in the top 5 search results.

To conclude, you miss out on the most important marketing channel for mobile apps if you are not using App Store Optimization. Understanding user behavior and learning ASO can be your trump card to increase your app’s organic growth.

However, making your mobile visible in the search results is the first step.

Do you want to know other advantages of ASO? Then, continue reading further.

Benefits of App store optimization

Now you know that most users discover mobile apps by searching for them in mobile app stores. Check out some other benefits of ASO:

  • Improvement in visibility by making it stand out in the App Stores.
  • Make it discoverable by relevant and high-quality users.
  • Boosts organic app downloads in a long-term way.
  • Reduce the acquisition cost of acquiring new users while ensuring long-term growth.
  • Boost the revenue and conversion rates of your app.
  • Reach a global audience easily.

How to optimize your app?

Once you develop your app and familiarize yourself with app marketing, you need to know how to optimize your app. Since iOS apps users use the App Store and Android users use Play Store, learning mobile app store optimization will be beneficial if you want to publish your app on both operating systems.

Mobile app store optimization for Google Play Store and Apple App Store

Both Play Store and App Store are two major app stores that share the same purpose of existence-to be a helpful platform for the users who search for apps to download them.

Furthermore, the number of downloads on these platforms cement the fact that Google Play and the Apple App Store are the most popular global app distribution platforms. About 218 billion apps were downloaded worldwide between the two hosts in 2020.

It is this popularity that makes it imperative to optimize your app perfectly in both stores. And the first step towards mobile app store optimization starts with knowing the difference between App Store and Play Store and their workings.

Google Play Store vs. Apple App Store

Both these platforms are popular among the masses. The total number of apps available between both platforms is around 5 million, and it is only increasing every day, making way for stiff competition.

Going by the mobile app trends of 2020, the factors that lead to low ranking and even removal of apps are - high crash rates and infrequent updates. Apps with these problems are usually considered low-quality.

Additionally, the app stores remove lower quality, buggy, and scammy apps from the app listings. Since the number of apps is increasing, both mobile app stores are getting selective with the ones they want to publish.

Apps that are frequently updated and used by more people appear higher in app store search results.

One of the significant differences between the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store entails publishing. Some other differences include:

App review process: Apple and Google have both enforced an app review process to ensure that the apps in their stores are of good quality. However, the review process in Apple takes more time than Google.

App Store keyword and search algorithm: Keywords and algorithms are another essential part of ASO. Although the information on the algorithm is not made public, one can see that the tricks which work in the Play Store do not work in the App Store.

Again, keywords have a crucial role. However, it is read differently in both the stores. Since the indexing process for Google Play works similar to Google search, you must maintain a keyword density of 2-3% across all fields to rank for them.

In contrast, the Apple App Store provides a separate field for keywords. However, unlike the Play Store, you must not repeat keywords in iOS.

Ranking factors: This type of segmentation is based on the behavioral patterns of the consumer. It includes parameters such as customer loyalty, engagement level, repeat purchase, interactions with the company, etc.

Google Play Store Ranking Factors:

App Title

Short Description

Long Description

In-App Purchase

Rating and Reviews

Updates

Downloads and Engagement

Some Hidden factors

Apple App Store Ranking Factors:

App Name

App URL

App Subtitle

Keyword field

In-App Purchase

Rating and Reviews

Updates

Downloads and Engagement

Some Hidden factors

Comparing both App Store and Play Store based on some major factors

When a new app is developed, it is generally released on major mobile platforms. Of all the platforms, the Play Store and the App Store are two crucial platforms. Thus, it is vital to know how these two platforms work. Here you can see the comparison table that elucidates the similarities and differences:

Google Play StoreApple App Store
Number of available apps
3.15m2.22m
Total number of annual downloads (worldwide)
85 billion108.5 billion
Keyword indexing
Google Play Store takes almost every text element for indexingApple App Store has a specific field where keywords are added. Also, sometimes, keywords are taken from competitors and category names.

The keyword indexing is done in:

  • App title (50 characters)
  • Full and short descriptions (4000 and 80 characters respectively)
  • Developer name
  • URL and package name

The keyword indexing is done in:

  • App name (30 characters)
  • Subtitle field (30 characters)
Videos
Promo videos are typically YouTube videos and have no role in conversion optimizationApp previews play a significant role in conversion optimization
App description
The app description is considered vital for keyword indexingThe description does not play such a big role
Screenshots
8 screenshots are allowedYou can add up to 10 screenshots
Screenshots are hidden in the app listingThe first three screenshots are shown in search results
The role of screenshots is limited compared to App Store and is not considered for conversion rate optimizationPlays an important role in conversion rate optimization

How is mobile app store optimization done?

Have a clear optimization strategy

Firstly, have a proper strategy for your app growth—conduct market research and user research to understand how things are running around. Know what popular keywords users use, what kind of app they favor, and other relevant information.

The more you research, the better your play store search optimization and app store search optimization are.

Optimize your App name/App title

Please choose the right name for your app since it is the first thing the user notices. It must be relevant, easy to read, appealing, and unique.

Additionally, subtitles in the Apple App Store also have a certain weightage. So, place your keywords with care. And do not forget the character count while choosing the name/title.

P.S: Keywords used in the app's name have high ranking weight. So, place the main/primary keyword in the title followed by the brand name.

The character limit for Google Play is 50 and for Apple App Store is 30.

Play Store has an app title field, and App Store has an app name field.

Optimize the app description

Google Play Store allows you to have a long and short description, while App Store does not. However, it does not mean that you must not write descriptions for the App Store.

The app description is part of the app's metadata, and it provides information on what your app is all about its main features.

An engaging and compelling description is one crucial element in the Play Store that is indexed. That's why you need to include keywords that you want to rank.

P.S: The character count for long descriptions is 4000, and for short descriptions, it is 80.

Use keywords for your app

Keyword research is a pivotal part of ASO, and its purpose is to determine the keyword set with which you want your app to be discovered.

You will need to design an appropriate keyword strategy for your ASO to get your app discovered and downloaded. Some crucial points to consider when developing your keyword strategy are:

Research for Relevant Keywords: Firstly, keyword research is a significant step in ASO. And to get your keyword set, conduct competitor research to examine what keywords they use. Further, you may read reviews and comments to view common words used by users. These steps can aid you in having some ideas.

App Store Behavior: Consider user search behavior to optimize your search results. Typically, search queries consist of keywords, phrases, or search terms that describe a specific brand or app name. When it comes to mobile app store searches, the phrases are most likely short. The words can also include the functionality of the app.

Balance between Competition and Popularity: You have to strike a balance between relevancy, search volume, and competition. Search volume includes terms that can be generic but with high search volume. Again competition for these keywords will be high due to their broad usage.

To balance volume and competition, try finding relevant keywords with less search volume and low competition. This may help you get downloads.

Make a Wise Choice: It is pivotal to optimize your keyword strategy regularly to stay relevant. This is primarily for the Apple App Store.

Keep Track of Ranking: You have to know which keywords work well for your app and which do not. Use a tool to track keyword rankings to understand which keyword works and which does not.

A few other points to consider when searching for the keywords is:

  • The main features of your app
  • Synonyms describing the features
  • Names of similar apps
  • The app's category
  • The standard terms that people use in this category

Get an appropriate icon by A/B testing.

The app icon is another critical visual asset since it can catch the user's eye.

Think about your app and convey it creatively in a visual format when designing the app icon. For example, if your app is playful, then it must be reflected in your icon.

One way to determine which icon works for your potential users is through A/B testing. All you have to do is create more icon variations and find out which gets the most clicks.

Have screenshots and preview video

Apart from the app icon, screenshots are another popular feature that can increase CTR (Click Through Rate) on the App Store.

Though screenshots and videos do not affect ranking directly, they primarily affect conversion rate optimization (CRO). And also, they demonstrate the functionality of your app.

Your screenshots and video must illustrate how your app looks, highlight main features, and convey a visual story.

Google Play allows 8 screenshots, in comparison to the App Store, which allows 10 screenshots.

Tip: Pay attention to size requirements and layout.

App listing and localization

If your objective is to make your app reach a global audience, you must adapt your app to appeal to your target geo-market. This task is known as localization. It helps improve your app's visibility and expand your reach.

Use your existing keywords, metadata, or screenshots and translate them into other languages. Localization helps with play store search optimization and app store search optimization strategies.

App ratings and reviews

Ratings and reviews are of paramount importance to ASO. Both App Store and Play Store take comments and reviews into consideration for ranking purposes. The better the rating, the more relevant is your app, which makes it rank higher.

Tip: Ask for a rating or review up to three times a year on iOS.

These are the steps you must pursue to optimize your app as part of app store search optimization to make it visible and reachable to your target users. We know it is a lot of work, but it is worth it when your app ranks in the top five and has millions of downloads worldwide. Nevertheless, if you feel all this is a lot of work, consider hiring our app marketing freelancers who can work hard for you and get great results.

Best practices and tips for ASO

Learn some great ASO techniques best for app store optimization, along with a helpful checklist, tips, and tricks to optimize your app.

  • Have an excellent ASO strategy before you start optimizing your app
  • Know your free keywords
  • Localize your app listing
  • Choose a relevant app name/title
  • List all relevant keywords
  • Keep track of your app’s performance

These are some of the tips and practices that you can use for the app store optimization process.

ASO is a powerful tool for app growth if done correctly. Having an app on both Google Play Store and Apple App Store is a valuable asset. However, you need the right strategy to drive your business and lead it to success.

It is no exaggeration that ASO is one of the best ways to take your app forward and gain popularity. With the help of mobile app store optimization techniques provided here, you can improve your app’s visibility and get a higher rank.

Please follow the above-mentioned ASO techniques to craft your app store optimization strategy and make your app stand out. Work on Play Store search optimization for Google Play Store and App Store search optimization for Apple App Store.

Find the right app store keyword that ranks and makes your app relevant to your target audience. We aspire this guide will serve you in getting your desired result. However, we would also want you to consider hiring our freelancers who can provide you with advanced app store optimization services that guarantee great returns.

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