Every day, app developers, entrepreneurs and creatives are adding new apps to app stores like the Apple App Store and Google Play. No matter if you're launching a gamified reading app for kindergarteners or an eco-friendly commute planner app, you might be curious about how to find success on an app store. Understanding what app store optimization is and how to rank highly in app store search results are two key pillars in getting people to download your app. 

Since the most popular app stores are the App Store for IOS and Google Play for Android, focusing on techniques to rank well within these two stores can help ensure your app gets seen by your ideal audience. Even if it can feel like the world of apps is completely saturated, having a strategy for improving your app visibility is the key to standing out from the competition.

By nailing down your app store optimization marketing plan, honing in on high-performing keywords and building a page for your app that keeps the downloads coming for months on end, you’ll be on your way to building an app you can feel proud of. 

App Store Optimization Defined

Also known as App Store SEO, Play Store ASO, App Store ASO, and App Search Optimization, App Store Optimization is the process of increasing your app’s visibility and conversion rate. You’ll use relevant keywords, high-quality written content and visuals, positive reviews and regular updates to signal to the app store’s search engine that your app is worth showing to the most amount of people possible. 

The Importance of App Store Optimization

Your app might be days away from being ready to publish to the app store or you might just have an idea for an app and you’re curious about all the work that would go into making it a success. Either way, by taking the time to research app store optimization through marketing blogs, reading books and talking to experts, you can build organic growth for your app, reach your ideal audience more easily and prepare your app for long-term success. 

If you already use email marketing or social media marketing to spread the word about your new app, app store optimization is another way to get more eyes on your creation. Knowing a little bit about search engine optimization (SEO) can also be helpful because you’ll already know tactics that help increase visibility and click-through-rate on search engines like Google. For ASO, you’re looking to boost visibility and conversion rate, which means it will help you get more views as well as downloads. 

Understanding the Mechanics of App Store Optimization

Every app store has its own unique search engine algorithm that judges each app on a variety of factors like keywords, number of downloads and number of reviews. The app store wants to provide the best quality apps to its users that most closely match what they’re searching for. 

By following ASO best practices, using small business marketing tools and adding high-quality content to your app page, you’ll be able to rank higher on your app store of choice. You can also use marketing automation tools to automate repetitive ASO tasks like triggering email campaigns to promote specific app features or encourage re-engagement.

ASO Key Factors for Ranking in IOS and Android

The more you can learn about the key ASO factors for App Store IOS and Google Play for Android and how you can use App Store optimization strategies for your unique idea, the quicker you’ll be on your way to a successful app. Before diving into this ASO guide, remember that the App Store for IOS has two unique elements that Google Play doesn’t offer: the keywords field and the subtitle. In contrast, Google Play offers a short description field, which Apple does not provide. 

ASO Ranking Factors for IOS

  1. App name should be concise, keyword-rich and aligned with your overall app idea.
  2. App subtitle should contain the keywords you couldn’t fit in the name and touch on how the user should feel when using your app. 
  3. App URL should be short, memorable and aligned with your brand. 
  4. Reviews and ratings should be positive and numerous in order to gain trust. 
  5. App updates should happen every one to two months in order to fix any bugs, make improvements or test new descriptions and visuals. 
  6. In-app purchase titles and descriptions should be clear, value-based and contain keywords. 
  7. Keywords should be low competition and high volume when possible. You should also list your keywords by separating them by commas without spaces. When you do this, Apple will include every variation and combination of the words you included. 
  8. Installs and engagement should be high in order to signal to the search algorithm that your app is worth sharing. 

ASO Ranking Factors for Android

  1. App title should be concise, keyword-rich and aligned with your overall app idea.
  2. App short description should highlight your app’s value proposition and touch on how users will feel when using your app. 
  3. App long description should include a detailed explanation of the app’s features and benefits. You should strategically include keywords while convincing potential users to download your app. 
  4. App updates should happen every one to two months in order to fix any bugs, make improvements or test new descriptions and visuals. 
  5. Reviews and ratings should be positive and numerous in order to foster trust. 
  6. Installs and engagement should be high in order to signal to the search algorithm that your app is interesting. 
  7. In-app purchase titles and descriptions should be clear, value-based and contain keywords. 

App Store Optimization Step-by-Step

Get out your preferred note-taking system, your app idea and your app’s app store page if you already have one so that you’re ready to make changes as soon as possible.  

1. Refine app title and subtitle for optimization

Once you find the list of keywords that rank well in your category, play around with a few combinations to find the right title and subtitle. 

2. Incorporate keywords (Apple App Store)

List these keywords and separate them with commas and no spaces within the keyword section of the Apple App Store. 

3. Craft captivating app descriptions

Imagine you’re sitting in front of your potential customers and explaining why they should download your app. Include the value your app will provide and how they’ll feel when using it while weaving in keywords within your description. 

4. Include enticing visual assets

Add videos, graphics and screenshots of your app so that your users know what to expect before they download. 

5. Prompt user reviews and ratings

Use in-app notifications or emails to ask your users to review your app in order to boost positive ratings. 

6. Enhance download numbers

By filling your page with high-quality, value-based content, strong keywords, and strong visuals, you’ll be on your way to boosting download numbers. You can also use email marketing, social media and word of mouth to spread the word about your app. 

7. Maintain regular updates

The app store algorithm appreciates regular updates. Make sure to fix any bugs, make general improvements, respond to client requests or test new descriptions and visuals every month or two. 

8. Monitor performance and conduct testing

Read reviews, use your app regularly and conduct regular testing to make sure your app is working as smoothly as possible. 

9. Expand to international markets

Once you have proof your app works well, you can try expanding to international markets that you know could be interested in your app. 

Benefits of App Store Optimization

Building a customer base, making income and building brand recognition are a few reasons why learning app store optimization can be helpful. Here are a few more benefits of ASO:

  • Consistently attract high-quality, relevant users
  • Enhance visibility and distinguish in app stores
  • Boost organic app downloads sustainably
  • Reduce user acquisition expenses for ongoing growth
  • Enhance app revenue and conversion rates
  • Expand app reach to a global audience

Get the Most of App Store Optimization

Over the next week, write out your app store optimization strategy. Start with small manageable goals that you can accomplish within a day or two and work through them over the course of a few weeks. By working through the ASO steps and keeping the key tips in mind, you can be sure your app has the quality content and keywords it needs to succeed. If you need more guidance, Skillshare has the best class selection from beginner to advanced for learning how to improve app listing and make your app stand out.

Written By

Calli Zarpas

  • Click here to share on Twitter
  • Click here to share on Facebook
  • Click here to share on LinkedIn
  • Click here to share on Pinterest