App Store Optimization (ASO) refers to the improvement of app visibility within app stores in order to increase conversion rates and the number of downloads. 

ASO not only focuses on improving an app’s rank in the store but also its click-through rate (CTR). For a click-through rate to be high, users must be convinced to click on an app listing based on a number of features. 

Optimization for CTR covers a range of app details such as:

App Name

Aside from the brand’s name, relevant keywords can be used in the name to improve the CTR. To ensure an app is getting high visibility, keywords with a higher search volume will often be more discoverable. 

However, these keywords shouldn’t be generic. They need to be relevant to the app’s features and capabilities, ensuring the intent is met. 

App Icon

The app icon is the first thing users will see when they find the app. The design must reflect the app, keep it simple and easy to recognize alongside maintaining the brand’s color scheme.

App Screenshots

An app’s screenshots are essential for improving conversion rates. Users will be looking at features and how user-friendly it is. Explaining the value and benefits users can receive is vital.

App Ratings

An app’s rating is very influential for the conversion rate. Users trust others’ opinions about their experiences with the app. Good app ratings above four stars can increase credibility and ensure more users install it. 

Allowing users to give feedback can also allow companies to fix bugs or look at implementing new features to improve the app.

How Does App Store Optimization work?

While app stores do suggest apps based on popularity and user preferences, users can also use search queries to find different apps and games within the store. ASO tactics, therefore, appear, on the surface, to have a fair amount of crossover with SEO (search engine optimization).

The higher up an app appears in the app store search results, the more visible it is to potential customers. This, in turn, leads to increased downloads. Since the majority of users don’t look beyond the top ten or so results, the largest gains will be seen by reaching a position within this bracket. 

App Store Optimization vs SEO

ASO is often associated with app store SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Both are similar as they require keyword optimization, backlinking and conversion optimization. However, there are some differences to keep in mind. ASO uses the Apple App Store and Google Play to optimize mobile apps. 

ASO uses the following checklist to optimize:

  • App name
  • Description
  • Keywords (iOS)
  • Usage & Quality metrics
  • Uninstall rate
  • Backlinks
  • Ratings & Reviews
  • Download stats,

However, SEO uses the following checklist to optimize websites:

  • Title tag 
  • H1, H2, H3 
  • Internal links
  • Page speed
  • Topic coverage
  • Anchor text 
  • Social signals

Although they’re quite similar, SEO uses hundreds of ranking factors, whereas the list of ASO’s factors is much lower. 

ASO Ranking Factors: How to Improve Rankings and Increase Downloads

To ensure an app is ranking highly and remains in the top ten listings in each app store, companies need to understand what the most important factors are.

Rating and Reviews

According to Apptentive, 59% of users check an app’s rating before downloading. This means that what users say about an app has a huge impact on its success. Users want to know if other users have used it and what their feedback was.

It’s vital for companies to keep their app’s rating above 4 stars and this can be done by replying to users’ feedback. Users want to know that companies are reading and understanding their reviews in order to improve the app.

Encouraging satisfied users to rate the app after installation is a great way to further success and ensure more users continue to download.

Choosing Relevant Keywords

Keywords are another vital part of ranking in any app store. When keywords are used, app store algorithms will then determine whether relevant the keywords are for the app, the ranking strength of it or the authority the app has. 

To ensure effective keyword research is conducted, here are some steps to follow:

  1. Collect any keywords that are relevant: Use search tools such as Ahrefs to help find what users are searching for. This can include features or benefits of using the app.
  2. Compete for keywords: Search which apps are at the top of the search results in each app store, align with the top ones that have been researched and focus on the ones where performance either meets or exceeds them.
  3. Monitor results: Give the keywords time on the app stores (around 3-4 weeks) and ensure they’re being monitored on a daily basis. This way you can see which ones are ranking well.

Using the Right App Visuals 

Visual features are crucial for user appeal and providing conversion rates. As the majority of app store users usually skim an app’s listing information, visual elements need to make an big impression. 

All visual elements including the app icons, screenshots, promotion and preview videos need to be high-quality in order to keep users engaged. 

Screenshots are essential for apps as the first three portrait visuals are seen in the search results. These screenshots aim to give the user a visual story about the app, allowing companies to portray the best features and benefits within them.

Promo videos are sometimes used in app listings to help users see the most powerful elements of the app. However, the promo video needs to capture the user’s attention within the first 10 seconds in order for them to stay engaged. 

Benefits of App Store Optimization

App store optimization can bring a number of important benefits such as visibility, improved exposure and increased app revenue. 

ASO can benefit and help apps achieve the results they want by: 

Improving Visibility 

Apps need to be visible in order for users to find them. Even if an app has been designed well, if it isn’t discovered easily, there will be limited downloads. Using relevant keywords and encouraging users to rate the app will enhance the visibility even further. 

Being Discovered by Relevant  Users

It’s not enough for an app just to be found. It has to be found by users who have the intention to download and use the app in question – or that is similar. 

App store optimization allows your app to reach the right users by matching it to relevant keywords.

Increasing App Revenue and Conversion Rates

Apps can be monetized in several ways such as in-app ads or purchases and subscriptions. However, in order to benefit from these methods, an app’s listing needs to be convincing users to download the app in order to convert. 

Reach a Global Audience 

Apps that are available in multiple languages can reach a much larger audience as they can go through a process called app localization. This way, users from all around the world can discover the app.

Why is App Store Optimization Important for App Growth?

With over 5.4 million apps across Apple’s App Store and Google Play in March 2022, it’s becoming increasingly challenging for companies to have their apps discovered by potential users. 

App store optimization is therefore becoming increasingly relevant for all apps, whether newly launched or more established, to be able to be found by users, downloaded, and grow – while still remaining cost-effective. 

Additional Information About App Store Optimization 

To learn more about app store optimization visit our blog posts: