The Beginner’s Guide to App Store Optimization (ASO)

What is App Store Search Engine Optimization (App Store SEO)?

According to many leading experts, App Store Optimization is the process of optimizing your mobile apps for the purpose of achieving a higher rank in the app stores search results and top charts rankings. Due to its similarities to search engine optimization (SEO) for websites, App Store SEO is also referred to as App Store Optimization (ASO), App Search Optimization, and Mobile App SEO.

We are going to provide you with few tips to help with your own ASO, without spending a penny.

Find your keywords

Revisit your keywords, remembering that it is not a one shot, but an ongoing process.. There is no argument that the title is the most important element of ASO and according to experts like Neil Patel and Moz, using keywords in your title can result in up to a 10.3% boost in rankings.

Both Google and Apple’s search algorithms scan the app name for keywords when a user performs a keyword search in the app markets. And both platforms give quite high priorities to apps with app names that contain the search input. Which is important, when you consider organisations like Forrester, predict that 63% of apps are discovered through app store searches.

So, what tools can you use for free to help with your keywords?

As with everything, the right tool will be based upon your individual preferences, however there appear to be positive reviews around,, Apptweak and MobileAction (7 day free trial).

And remember not to stuff every keyword into your title, as it will make you app look spammy.

App name format and length.


Apps with a relevant keyword in their title, on average, rank 10.3% higher than apps without a title keyword.

So when looking at your app name be certain to keep your actual brand name short and sweet. You can then add a few keywords, typically in advance of a dash or a semicolon i.e. “Brand Name – Keywords” or “Brand Name: Keywords” to include relevant keywords in your name.

It is also recommended that you use only safe and friendly URL characters in your title, as other non-safe characters risk poor readability, breaking some browsers and causing issues for crawlers.

Standard characters generally include:

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
a b c d e f g h I j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Remember also to avoid any special characters in your app name i.e. trademark or copyright.

On the IOS App Store the length of a name is limited to 30 characters and on Google Play 50, so it is recommended that you use 23 or less for the most favourable outcome from a presentation perspective on any device.

App Description and Keywords

App Store does not search for app keywords in your app description, however Google Play Store pulls keywords from your description to be your app store keywords.

When preparing your app store keywords for your Google Play description, ensure that most of your keywords are to be found in your first few lines, as this has more influence than the rest of the description copy in Google’s ranking algorithm. The Play Store also allows for emoji’s, spacing and bulleted lists to make your description easy to read and memorable.

When preparing your description for the App Store make sure you clearly write about the benefits of your app, including awards and commendations and if possible, a list of complete features in the description box. Do not forget to add links from your social media channels. Don’t add unnecessary keywords to your description in an attempt to improve search results.

App Store and Google Play Ratings

Did you know that you need an average rating of 4* and above, or less than 50% of users will be willing to download. So, what can you do to improve your rating?

  • Ensure each new user sees value in your app from the outset, with a formalised, automated on-boarding program. Designed to drive new customers to complete actions increasing the probability of them staying for the long haul. (Remember to think about smart send times and A/B testing of messages)
  • Ask for reviews at the perfect time. By watching your user’s behaviour, you can prompt a user review at the most appropriate opportunity when the user is likely to be very pleased with the experience. (Remember to real time personalisation and event triggered messaging)
  • Avoid over messaging. You need to make sure that your messaging is relevant, valuable and at times when users want them.
  • Finally, deflect negative reviews by using a ‘Send feedback’ option and redirecting to support and positive to the stores.

We hope that you have found the above of interest regarding ASO. Please feel free to get in touch with us if you want to understand more about App Store SEO.

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