If you don't sell Android apps at
Google Play Store, you might have not heard about App Store
Optimization (ASO) at all. However, if this marketplace is of
interest to you, then you really can't go without knowledge about the
main factors that influence your popularity there. In a sense, ASO
knowledge is even more vital than general SEO knowledge, because if
you manage to get good rankings in Google Play Store, this could
bring more revenue with much less investment than if you manage to
get good rankings in a search engine, as Google itself.
What's Is ASO and Why It Matters
As already deciphered, ASO is an abbreviation for App Store
Optimization. As the name itself implies, ASO involves steps to make
your store better, more popular, get better rankings in the
marketplace, and presumably make more money. You will see ASO is very
similar to search engine optimization, so if you are familiar with
SEO, you are not starting from scratch, but still ASO does have its
As for the importance of ASO, just look at this image:
With 80 per cent of high quality organic downloads (whatever this
means) happening as a result of search, you simply can't afford to
leave your store unoptimized. In other words, while direct ads might
work with apps, the lion's share of downloads comes from search.
Major ASO Ranking Factors
Maybe you've guessed by now that similarly to SEO, the exact
ranking ASO algorithm isn't publicly known and there is a lot of
speculation about what matters for good ASO rankings. However, there
are some factors that are more or less universally agreed upon as
factors with huge or at least some importance. These factors are
It's hardly a surprise keywords are a key factor for good rankings
at Google Play Store. For truth's sake, it needs to be mentioned
there are ASO experts who dispute the huge role of keywords and place
more weight on other factors, such as reviews and downloads. However,
it's hard to believe that properly placed keywords don't matter, so
even if you are not absolutely convinced about the ranking role of
keywords, don't totally neglect them.
As with SEO, keywords matter especially in the title, the
headings, and the description. Even if it were true keywords aren't
that important for ASO, they are important for your human visitors ‐
when you see a title with a keyword you are looking for, you are more
likely to open this link, than a link with no keywords in it. For
even better results, use variations of your keyword(s).
2 App Reviews and Ratings
All equal, apps with more and favorable reviews and better
rankings rank higher for the same keyword. The reason why reviews and
ratings have such a weight is simple ‐ they show how your users
view your app. Therefore, it makes sense to try to get better reviews
and ratings. However, don't go the slippery road of buying favorable
ratings and reviews because if caught, this can get you into real
3 Encourage App Downloads and Installs
Similarly to apps reviews and ratings, app downloads and installs,
as well as frequent app use, are other major ranking factors. This is
for a reason ‐ all these measure user involvement and satisfaction.
The rule here is simple - the more the better.
In order to ensure more app downloads and installs, you need to
actively promote your app offstore. Active promotion on social
networks, such as G+, Facebook, Twitter, etc., as well as on forums
for mobile apps, can drive lots of traffic to your app and affect the
number of downloads and installs in a favorable way.
4 Go Local
If you are targeting a particular country as a market, it's a must
you offer a localized version of your app. For starters, translate
your app in the languages of the target countries. This might look
like lots of work, but unless you target a very small country with a
really limited user base, the payoff could be good.
As a rule, most apps have an English version and very few have
non-English ones. As a result, typically the competition for
non-English apps is much lower and this gives you better chances to
get noticed, especially on a saturated market.
5 Quality Screenshots
Quality screenshots might not be directly related to better
rankings, but once your app is discovered, you don't want to chase
users away with poorly-looking screenshots. Because of this, take the
time and effort to make crisp screenshots. When users can clearly see
the screens of your app and these screens contain the functionality
they need, they are more likely to download and install the app. As
already explained, more downloads and installs lead to better
6 Get Backlinks to Your App
As with conventional search, getting backlinks to your app page
helps a lot. Of course, you need quality links from reputable
sources, not spam from link farms. It's better to get one single link
from an A list site where your app is featured, than dozens of
backlinks from Z list sites.
If your app is good, chances are it will be included in articles
all over the Net and you will be getting backlinks naturally.
However, if this doesn't happen, you might have to build backlinks
manually one by one.
ASO isn't hard to do but it can help you a lot. Most likely you
are already doing most of the steps, but if you have neglected them
by now, you might want to change this and pay more attention to the
ASO ranking factors. After all, even if this doesn't make you a star
on the Google Play Store, it doesn't take much time and effort and it
most certainly won't do you any harm.