The app stores have more than 5 million mobile apps, thus getting your app discovered is one of the biggest challenges for you after you’ve finished building the mobile app. So, if you are a business that operates via mobile apps, you really need to formulate your mobile app marketing strategy. In this app store optimization guide, you’ll learn why it is crucial for you to optimize your mobile app for app marketplaces like iOS and Android in 2020.

What is App Store Optimization?

ASO or App Store SEO is the effort towards improving the mobile app search rankings and the exploring visibility within the app marketplaces, with the aim of increasing organic downloads. This practice brings you more app users within your target market, and at a very low user acquisition cost.

The app store optimization process requires a critical understanding of how app stores work, the target user behaviour, the most relevant search queries that the potential users will enter or verbally state to find an app or explore new applications.

Also, the app marketplaces are continuously evolving and it has become vital for you to make your app appear in the Explore/Browse sections. These sections include Similar Apps, Featured Apps, Apps for You and many more. So, in 2020, it would be foolish to associate ASO with just App Store Search Optimization.

In addition to higher ranks and visibility, ASO also focuses on improving your app’s CTR (Click-Through-Rate). Meaning your ASO efforts for the app will convince people to browse your app. Then you’ll have to ensure that your visitors download your app. This part of ASO is known as Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO).

ASO Sometimes Overlaps SEO

There are many differences between App Store Optimization and the traditional Search Engine Optimization, but there are a few overlaps too. When you know what exactly is App Store Optimization, this theory makes perfect sense. You will realise that the App marketplaces such as the Google Play store and iOS store are in fact, a closed site search engine which relies on:

  • Quick app content discovery
  • App Indexation
  • Ranking algorithms, that are based on:
    • App quality
    • Relevance
    • Freshness
    • Brand value
    • User’s perceived value (i.e. ratings and reviews, engagement)

These ranking factors might seem familiar to you. After all, they are one of the most important and popular ranking factors for search engine rankings. Like SEO, improving the app’s visibility is an ongoing process and with continuous efforts, your app can stand out in both the Play Store and the App Store.

The Difference between ASO and SEO

The main difference between SEO and ASO is the ranking factors. Also, SEO is utilized for websites whereas ASO is for mobile apps. The ranking factors for search engines (Google Search) includes more than 200 aspects and the list keeps evolving, whereas the list of ranking factors for ASO is comparatively shorter. However, there is less awareness about the key ranking factors for ASO that really matters. The following infographic consists of the crucial ranking factors for ASO, and will also help you understand the comparative differences between SEO and ASO:

Why is App Store Optimization crucial for your App Growth?

Since there are a lot of apps available in the app stores, it is very likely that your mobile app is/will face tough competition for visibility. The ultimate goal of ASO is to increase the amount of downloads and loyal users for your app. And the first step towards that would be to make your app easily discoverable in the app store. 

How do users find Mobile Apps?

Most of the time, people look for a specific app in the app stores. According to AppRadar, 70 per cent of mobile users make use of the app store search to find new apps and 65 per cent of all downloads happen directly after searching. Clearly, your app needs to rank high in the app store search to bring more visibility and downloads.

How people searched for mobile apps?

The benefits of App Store Optimization

 You are aware that most of your potential app users find their desired apps by searching the app stores. This is why Mobile App Store Optimization is crucial if you want to increase your app discoverability and downloads. In fact, many people argue that App Store Optimization is the most effective mobile app marketing strategy to have in place.

The following are the specific benefits App Store Optimization brings:

  • Improve Your App Visibility

No matter how useful your app is, if people cannot find your app, they cannot download it. So if your app isn’t easily discoverable, you will lose potential users and reduce your app’s chances of success.

  • Get discovered by most relevant users

It is important that your app is found by people, but what is more important is that it is found by the right people – people that are actually on a hunt for an app similar to yours. A perfect ASO technique gets your app exposure to these users by matching your app to the relevant keywords (Search Query).

  • Boost app downloads

When your app has greater discoverability, you will be able to get many relevant users, who will find your app whilst searching for an app that solves the problem that your app focuses on. This will result in a hike in the number of downloads. With this in place, along with regular updates and enhancements, your app will be much more likely to be a success.

  • Reduce user acquisition costs

Mobile app marketing can be done in many different ways i.e. paid ads, affiliate marketing, and many others. But, App Store Optimization is one of the most effective techniques as it continues the growth of your app. The best part of App Store Optimization is that the user acquisition cost is the lowest among all the different mobile app marketing channels.

Factors that Affect App Store Optimization


  • Keywords

Be it SEO or ASO, keywords are the backbone of both the optimization techniques. You should know the key terms (Keywords) that your potential customers/users would use to search for an app like yours. Keywords help not only in the initial stage of optimization, but also at the later stages where you would have to track your ASO performance.

  • App Title

It is easier to rank the app if the app title contains a keyword. The keyword preference for the title would be one that has the maximum relevance and search traffic. As your app ranks higher, more people will use the app and give feedback, the downloads will increase, and this is where the next factor of ranking comes in.

An analysis done by Apptentive states that apps that have the keyword in the title ranks 10.3% higher than those without a keyword.

  • # of Downloads

The more people download the app, the better it will rank on the app stores. However your app store visitors won’t necessarily download your app if you do not have an effective listing. You should have a well explained app description, screenshots, videos of the app so that the visitor is impressed and try it out.

  • Reviews and Ratings

First of all, it is hard to get reviews and ratings from users. But, you would have to get them anyhow because it is among the most important factors for both App Store Optimization and Conversion Rate Optimization.

Now the dilemma is, you want to encourage more reviews and ratings, but you don’t want any of them to be negative reviews. So how do you control them? You can find a way to do this within your app by giving your app users a place to give feedback directly to your team. If the customer is satisfied with your app, you can direct them to the store link to leave positive remarks for your app.

Your App Store Optimization Foundation Guide

Many mobile app marketing ASO approaches include organic mobile app search optimization and app store integration within their marketing mix. We’ve gone through the differences and overlaps between SEO and ASO, and it clearly seems that the differences aren’t broad. In fact, the overlap between SEO and ASO is significantly higher than the differences.

Lots of the traditional SEO techniques can be directly applied to ASO. The examples include:

  • Keyword Research
  • App Name, title, description, and URL optimization
  • Rating and review generation and management
  • Google SERP indexing for the App
  • CTR (Click Through Rate) Optimization
  • Etc.

The biggest mistake people make while integrating SEO with ASO is overlooking the importance of bringing the traffic on the app’s website, and then directing it to the store page. Your website can act as a driving force to lead people throughout the information and download funnel from the entry point (website) to the download station (app store).

In-App Store ASO Techniques

There is a vast opportunity of optimization within the app stores including the Google Play, Apple App Store, and other app promotional platforms. All of these areas can be targeted for optimization via updates and refinements.

According to Forrester, 63% of the entire app downloads are directly attributed to mobile app stores.

The following are the common in-store optimization areas you can focus on every app store for your mobile app marketing:

  • App Name, URL, and Subtitle
  • Keyword Fields
  • Rating and Reviews
  • Download Enhancement’

Frequent App updates helps in ASO

The top-performing apps on the app stores are those that keep evolving based on the user feedback, technological advancements, innovation, and improvements. Apps that get more frequent updates, tend to get significantly more positive reviews.

Regularly updating your app will bring relevant features and content to your target user base. This will enable your brand to adopt the necessary changes to meet user needs and excel despite the market competitiveness. To be precise, both the Google Play Store and Apple App Store consider frequent app updates as a ranking factor.

5 Tips For Advanced App Store Optimization

The following are some proved App Store Optimization tactics we, at Nimble AppGenie, always keep in mind while listing an app on the app stores:

  1. The mobile app stores should use keyword triggers in the name, title, description, and other fields of your app listing. Therefore you should conduct thorough keyword research prior to the app listing.
  2. The presentation of your app on the app store product page has a significant impact on the conversion rate of your app. Conversion rate optimization should be your continuous focus to generate more downloads. You need to include the most relevant thumbnail images and screenshots of your app in the app store product page. It will directly boost app downloads and conversion rates.
  3. The app icon should be creative enough to catch the eye of the app store users. This improves your chances of getting more traffic on your app store product page over your competitors. After all, mobile app marketing is about creativity.
  4. A/B testing for your app store fields is very crucial for effective ASO. The experimentation and hypothesis testing is crucial for your app. This way, you increase your chances of getting every ounce of value from the possible ASO areas within the app stores.
  5. You should consider utilizing Apple’s Spotlight Search. The spotlight search enables users to search for the apps they’ve already installed on their mobile device in the past.
  6. You shall localise your product page for every country that you post your app for. A blind translation of language isn’t sufficient for this. Localisation gets you in touch with different culture, search and behavioural habits. Therefore, when launching the app for a different country, you should adopt the relevant language, provide app screenshots in their language and utilize culture-specific engagement tactics.