App Store Optimization – What Is Killing Your Campaigns?

Entering the digital app market may seem very daunting. With millions of mobile apps available in digital stores, your product might get buried by the competition. This is where App Store Optimization (ASO) comes into play.

App Store Optimization is a form of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) that focuses on increasing the visibility of mobile applications in the app store. This, in turn, leads to higher conversion rates. There are many professional SEO companies that help app developers run marketing campaigns to increase app traffic.

At the end of the day, all digital marketing campaigns have the same aim, which is to achieve a higher ranking in search engine results. This will lead to more traffic on your app page and increase the possibility of more downloads. For that, you need to optimize your mobile app for maximum visibility in the app store.

Why Is ASO Crucial in Mobile Web Marketing?

The major app stores in the world are Apple App Store for iOS and Google Play Store for Android users. Getting your app top billing in these stores requires some effort and optimization. However, your aim is not just to make your app appear in search results.

You also have to increase the click-through rate, which means users should click on your app name and visit the page. The next goal is to ensure Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO), which will lead visitors to download your app or make a purchase.

According to research by Forrester, as much as 63% of mobile apps are discovered through searches in the app store. The rest are chosen through recommendations and word-of-mouth reviews. Google has also stated that a “vast majority of installs” on the app store are a result of the search. Hence, it is imperative to ensure proper ASO for your app.

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How Can You Apply ASO Efficiently in Your Content?

Successful App Store Optimization requires consistent effort. The key is to keep evolving with the changing trends. If you find the associated keywords changing with time, you should keep modifying your app description accordingly. However, changing your app title multiple times is not a good idea. It hampers brand recognition and misleads visitors by erasing the recall factor.

Some other factors associated with ASO are:

  • Keywords: They play a very important role in any form of marketing, so research your keywords wisely before including them with your app listing. Check out the keywords used by your competitors and insert them wisely in your app description and title. Keep it obvious; if your app is a music player, make sure to include the words “music” and “play” instead of relying on a fancy name when you are starting out.

Be careful while selecting keywords. If you include unrelated keywords to your app page because they are popular in terms of SEO, it will create a negative impression and ultimately bring down your app ranking. Hence, your goal should be to choose the best keywords among relevant ones.

Some keyword tools that you can use for best results are SEMrush, Google AdWords, Apple SearchAds, etc. You can also find popular keywords in your competitors’ pages, so make sure to always check those.

Spotify includes keywords in the titles, along with the brand name.

  • App Ratings: You may think sheer marketing will lead to more downloads, but that is not always the case. Even if your app appears in the top search results, negative reviews and bad ratings will impact your conversion rate. As an app developer, your priority should be to create a good product and keep updating it according to customers’ demands or trends.

App ratings and reviews cannot and should not be fabricated for the long run. It is the best thing for your app to perform in a way that brings in genuine followers and high ratings. For that, your backend support needs to be strong, along with the look and feel of your product.

Another way to boost up app ratings is through push notifications and emails. Make sure you remain visible to your customers, so that they feel inclined to visit your app page and leave a rating.

  • High Download Rates: This is a fairly circular concept. If your ASO is on point, it will lead to more downloads from the app store. And in turn, a high download rate will ensure your app gets precedence in search results. All in all, you have to maintain the app quality and focus on app store marketing as well.
  • App Categories: Choosing the right app category is crucial for optimization. Although it may seem like a simple task, it requires some thought and planning. There are more than 50 categories in the Google PlayStore and Apple Store combined. So, you need to figure out which one suits your app best.

While choosing categories, check your app’s proposal, which is the main class, for its functionalities. Also, research your target audience and their search trends. Would they describe Instagram as a social media app or a photo platform? These kinds of decisions impact your app’s performance greatly.

Another effective place to look for app categories is on your competitors’ app pages. Check for the categories popular apps are using and implement them on your page for the best results.

How is ASO related to SEO?

ASO is basically Search Engine Optimization in the app store, so the two concepts have several similarities. They both rely on keywords, linking, and backlinking, as well as optimization for higher conversion rates. However, ASO is for mobile apps, whereas SEO is mainly for websites and blogs.

Since SEO is for Google search, and ASO is for the app stores, the ranking factors vary greatly. On the app store, we have to concentrate on factors like app title, description, usage metrics, install and uninstall rates, number of active users, and app ratings. All these together give your app a solid foothold in the app store.

ASO Mistakes That Are Killing Your Campaign

While ASO is simpler than website SEO, there are certain mistakes that can ruin your campaign and give an edge to your competitors. Let’s find out which mistakes to avoid while implementing App Store Optimization.

  • Not optimizing the title for keywords: Your app title must have the search keyword in it, especially if your product is new. Netflix can use “Netflix” as a keyword as it is a huge brand name, but if you are starting out, you will need generic keywords to define what your app does.

Screenshot from the Google Play Store

  • Not building the semantic core: The semantic core is a possible selection of words and phrases that the user might type into the search box. Use keyword tools and check competitor pages to discover these semantics and include them on your app page for better results.
  • Not recognizing a target audience / not localizing the app: Recognizing and building a target audience is crucial for an app to succeed. Even though your app should target a global reach, it is foolish to ignore local markets altogether. Markets like China, Brazil, Russia, and India are at par with the United States in app consumption. Hence, it is a good idea to localize these apps in terms of languages, concepts, and relevance to the local people.
  • Stuffing keywords into the app page: Your app metadata should have strategic keywords, but overstuffing similar keywords on your app page generally creates a negative impact. Both Google and Apple lower search rankings based on this factor. Reckless keyword placement may also get your app banned from the play store.
  • Not concentrating on icons: Along with content, you should consider optimizing your app logo for mobile play stores. Having too many graphical elements and text in your logo may discourage the user from downloading it. Instead, concentrate on a simple and iconic logo that will build brand recognition.

The website logo for Ola, an Indian cab-booking app.

Ola app logo

  • Ignoring negative reviews: All your marketing strategies will fail if you don’t focus on customer satisfaction. Remember that the visitor checks reviews before descriptions or screenshots, so focus on resolving customer complaints and improving the app rating.

Best ASO Practices

Here are some ASO rules you should follow:

  • Track keyword trends and be open to metadata modification.
  • Include clear and engaging screenshots on your app page.
  • Focus less on blatant advertising and more on customer integration through your images on the app store.
  • Don’t put up misleading claims or clickbait advertisements.
  • Reply to negative reviews and strive to solve their problems.
  • Consider including language options for local audiences.

App Page Examples

Often, you might be stumped by the rules regarding app store optimization. What you should remember is that your app page has to be attractive to the target audience. It is not a good idea to ignore the overall look of the end product while sticking to the specifics. To make it clearer, look at the app page examples below.

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Among Us is a multiplayer action game that has recently gained vast popularity. As reflected on its app page, its keywords are simple and effective, and it has great reviews from genuine users.

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The 311SA coronavirus app has bad ratings and low compatibility. Its app page doesn’t give you the confidence to download and use it safely.


App store optimization can make or break your business, so it is crucial to apply it appropriately. Gaining visibility on the app store is not a piece of cake, but it is not rocket science either. If you can crack that code, your app will become super successful!

Author Bio:  

Sheryl is the Sr. Marketing Specialist at Uplers, who has considerable relevant experience in designing well-defined user journeys across the digital marketing domain. She leverages her digital marketing expertise to help businesses draw significant ROIs.