A complete guide to the App Store Optimization(ASO)

The number of apps on Apple App Store was 2.2 million and that on Google Play Store was 3.3 million as of September 2017. And this number is bound to increase in the near future, that too rapidly. So a general idea can be made as to how much competitive it is going to get for the newer apps to come in the higher rankings for the already highly ranked apps to maintain their rank.

Ergo, it only makes much more sense to optimize the app store so that the visibility of the app can be improved so much so that a high conversion rate i.e. conversion to the download of the app. This is where a process called App Store Optimization aka ASO is applied to use.


What is an ASO?

An ASO is a process that optimizes the app store which can be called as a mobile app SEO (Search Engine Optimization) because there is a clear similarity between the two (SEO and ASO) with the only difference being that ASO is used for the apps while SEO is employed for the Google Search Engine. Also, the conversion rate optimization process is also encompassed by the ASO.

So, the focus of the ASO is to improve the ranking of the mobile applications within the app store like for iOS there is Apple App Store and for the Android there is Google Play Store. Thus, the ASO’s goal is almost entirely to increase the number of downloads of a particular app but it can also encompass other duties like,

  • Increased exposure of the brand which would augment the brand perception among the general public.
  • Garnering positive reviews and ratings and also providing an internal portal of sorts so that the public can vent out their frustration pertaining to the loopholes of the app that can be brought to light without running the risk of negative reviews published against the application.
  • App store can provide another medium to engage the public and increase their awareness about any particular brand. This can prove to be another channel for marketing.


The increased emphasis upon the ASO can be very well attributed to the hiking mobile device usage worldwide as well as the decline of social media growth. So, it is now imperative to prioritize it considering that nearly 63% of the application downloads is made through the app stores itself; we can clearly see that the odds are in the favor of the app store.


Now, the ASO is entirely focused upon increasing the app visibility on the app store that further depends upon the following factors,

  • Ranking
  • Engagement with public
  • Reviews (whether positive or negative)
  • Shares
  • Downloads (conversion of the visibility)

An ASO process is an ongoing process; an application in the top ranking will have to constantly evolve itself in order to maintain its high position. And thus, with a resolute commitment to the ASO the tracking and the measurement of the performance can be made which will only make the app to stand out even more in the respective app stores.


Similarity between ASO and SEO


ASO is actually the more familiar approach to the business online marketing and turning back to the point made above pertaining to the similarity between the ASO and the SEO, it can be easily explained as to why these two are so much related and even interlinked. This is because app stores can be seen as closed site search engine which in turn rely upon easy content discovery, indexation, app ranking algorithms tied to perceived app quality, freshness, brand scale and user value scales (reviews, ratings, engagements) all of which are organic search ranking signals too. Moreover, when a known brand name, for example, myntra or Amazon is searched over Google, on the very first page the link to the app store is itself is given. This can be harnessed as an opportunity by the application developers.


Moreover, lots of traditional search optimization that works for SEO gains can also be directly applied to ASO like:

  • App name, title, URL optimization
  • Keywords research
  • App rating and reviews
  • Deep linking within a mobile app
  • Click Through Rate (CTR) optimization
  • Indexation of Apps in Google SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages)


So the website must be seen as the driving force for leading people from the official website of the brand to the app store for the application. Also, the content levels within the app stores themselves are limited and thus, the more the website content can be leveraged to increase app awareness and discovery, the more the amount of the value, traffic and downloads the app will receive.



App store tactics


An application can be further modified towards improvement through various optimization areas within the app stores which can be targeted for refinement, updates and ongoing optimization.

The following are the core optimization items that require the utmost focus and improvement:

  • App name – The basic strategy to deploy over here is that the app title must be such that it reflects its core value succinctly. The keywords must be adopted in the title itself so that it becomes more visible to the user. Also, the title must be descriptive and it only gets better if the keywords are included since the application will be amongst the top search easily and that’s how more visible.
  • App keyword field – Different app stores have different criteria for the keyword field. The App Store asks for no more than 100 characters in the keywords while for the Google Play Store allow 4000 characters. But the main point between both the stores remains the same: competitive keywords must be applied so that the search will output the application among the top listed.
  • App ratings and reviews – Positive reviews will be an icing to the cake for an application since that would be helpful in improving the perception of the brand among the people as well as popularizing it further. So, it is only a guesswork that how much important it is to have a framework at place for generating regular views as well as for engaging with the customer.
  • App downloads – It goes two ways: when the application is more popular then it will accrue to an increased buzz and thus an increased demand and that will lead to an increased download of the app while the more downloads will eventually raise the ranks of the application among the top rankers. So, it is necessary that due efforts are made to increase the visibility of the application.


But the most important point that must be retained in the mind is that the application must be ever evolving which must reflect the feedback from the user, technology changes, feature additions and improvements i.e. the application must be on the updated mode for most of its lifetime in order to remain at the top by ASO or to reach there. This will garner the application positive reviews which will in turn increase its popularity and thus, goes the never ending loop.

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