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What Is App Store Optimization? A Beginner’s Guide to ASO

App Store Optimization

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With over 5 million apps on the Google Play and Apple App Store, your app may struggle to stand out among your industry peers. With this level of competition, you need a strategy to catch your target audience’s attention. 

That’s where app store optimization (ASO) comes in! 

Read on to learn what app store optimization is and how to do it for your app. 

What Is ASO? 

App store optimization (ASO) is the process of improving your mobile app’s ranking in app store search results. It improves your app’s discoverability for potential customers in the two dominant app stores: Google Play and the Apple App Store.

The enhanced visibility translates to more user traffic flowing to your app listing pages.

ASO aims to persuade users to click on your listing pages, thus increasing your click-through rate (CTR). A strong CTR will increase the number of downloads of your mobile app. 

Why Is ASO Important for Your App? 

According to data from BankMyCell, there are a total of 5.5 million apps on Google Play and Apple App Store combined. It shows you the challenge of achieving and maintaining a high app ranking on the two largest app stores. 

That said, here are some of the benefits you can achieve using ASO:

  • Global brand exposure: By making your app available in different languages using app localization, you can tap into an international audience for your brand. 
  • Reduce user acquisition costs: You can forego spending a lot of money on ads and instead focus on organic growth through ASO. 
  • Improve conversion rates and app revenue: ASO focuses on conversion rate optimization that gets people to click through, download the app, and enlist for paid subscriptions. 

App Store Ranking Factors Explained  

In some ways, app store optimization is similar to SEO to rank on Googe. Like web searches, ranking depends on an algorithm but with a few differences. 

The following factors influence your app ranking on app store search engines, so pay special attention to them.

  • App Icon: The icon is displayed on search results and recommendation lists. 
  • App Name or Title: This typically consists of a relevant keyword often used by your target audience. 
  • App Description: A short descriptive text containing keyword combinations for ranking on app store search results.
  • App Ratings: These are a quantitative measure of your app’s performance and significantly impact your conversion rates. 
  • App Store Listing Visuals: Include app screenshots, feature images, and demo videos, which are necessary for Click-Through Rate (CTR) and brand awareness. 
  • User Reviews: Refers to qualitative feedback that users provide to your app and which subtly influences app store algorithms

How to Optimize Your App Store: ASO Best Practices


To start your app store optimization journey, here are ASO best practices you need to follow to optimize your app’s performance. 

Improve your app title

The app name is the first impression customers get of your application on an app store. Start with your app’s brand name, then add a brief description using your primary keyword. You can use up to 30 characters to keep it as short and direct as possible. 

Include keywords in your subtitle

Like your app title, you can get creative with keyword research. Google Play allows 80 characters in the subtitle, whereas the Apple App Store is limited to 30 characters. To avoid duplication, select keywords not already used in the app title. 

Optimize long descriptions

The app store algorithm technically ignores the description, but customers usually read it when they click through. Rather than optimizing for SEO, focus on providing a full, in-depth summary of your app’s features. Keep it straight to the point, and use A/B tests to find the optimum description for your mobile app.  

Use the appropriate app categories

Choosing the right category for your app is necessary for it to appear in relevant searches. For instance, if you want to promote a car insurance app on the Google Play Store or App Store, “Auto & Vehicles” is the most suitable category. When consumers search for car insurance, the keywords in your app title will push it to the top of search results. 

Use attractive visual elements

Downloads influence your ranking. So, use compelling visuals to encourage users to view your listing pages and install your app. You can use videos instead of static images to preview your app to users. Visual elements are portrayed in Apple App Store search results after a click-through on Google Play. 

Google Play vs. App Store Optimization: Similarities and Differences

As you move through the ASO process, you will notice some similarities and subtle differences between the Google Play and Apple App Store. Here’s a table comparing ASO practices for both app stores. 

Google Play Apple App Store
App title You can use a maximum of 30 characters in your title with a focus on the product name, your primary keyword, and description.  Provide you with up to 30 characters for your title, but do not emphasize keywords or descriptive text. Just ensure your title is memorable. 
App subtitle You can use no more than 80 characters to describe the core functionality of your app Allows for only 30 characters that should highlight the purpose and benefits of using the app
App description You can use up to 4,000 characters to give a comprehensive overview of your app You have 252 characters to convince users why your app is worth downloading
App categories The keywords in your title help you gain visibility for keyword-focused searches or users browsing for new apps per category You can assign primary and secondary categories for your app, with the primary category being the most relevant
App visuals Featured graphics appear on your listing page, paid ads, and recommendation lists in the app store.  Apple allows you to use up to 30 seconds of footage for your App previews and 10 screenshots for your app listing. 

The Bottom Line

Like SEO, app store optimization is a continuous process with several updates over time. Your optimal set of keywords will rarely be the ones you started with. To maximize your ASO, dedicate time and effort to keyword research, placement, and optimization. If you need any help with that, reach out to us! 

Contact us today if you want help marketing your app!


How can I improve my app store SEO? 

To improve your app store listing, start by researching relevant keywords related to your product or industry. Then, use the best keywords in your app name and descriptions to reach your target audience. 

How do I increase my app’s downloads organically?

Formulate a creative app name and include the right keyword in your title. Use impressive visuals and allow users to rate your app and provide positive reviews.

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