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App Store Optimization: Make Apps Discoverable [7 Tips]

How do you handle the increasing competition in the various app stores? Will the number of downloads lag behind? Or are you just hungry for more? Then App Store Optimization is something for you! In this two-part article series, you will learn everything about the on- and off-page factors of App Store Optimization.


App Store Optimization, what is it?

For those who do not know it yet: App Store Optimization (ASO) is the optimization of mobile apps, with the aim of achieving a higher position in the search results of app stores. Using ASO (also known as SEO for mobile apps) makes the app easier to find and generates more downloads.

Google & Apple

First some background information: the big players in the market of the app stores are the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store. With more than 5 million apps, they are currently dominating the market. A logical consequence is that app owners will find ways to put their apps in the shop window as well as possible. Everyone wants to be found of course!

Just like with search engines, it is not exactly clear with the app stores what the exact ranking factors are. Top secret – as always! Over the years, it has, of course, become clear which factors have the most effect.


Overview of factors that have the most impact on your ranking (source: NativeX)

The findability in app stores is accompanied by both direct and indirect factors. On the one hand, you have control over what you put down when you publish your app. Such as: the keywords you use, the name of your app, the icon of your app, etc. On the other hand, you depend on the behavior of your visitors. Think of: click-through (CTR), number of downloads, number of times deleted, etc.

Points of attention for optimizing your app

Are you curious what you should take into account when optimizing the on-page factors? Below you will find 7 points of attention in a row.

1. Do market and keyword research

An interesting fact: research by NativeX has shown that 67% of respondents find apps via the search function of the app stores. Just like with SEO, thorough research into the market and the keywords is of great importance in order to end up high in the search results. Answer these questions with your research:

  • Which keywords do your target groups use to search?
  • Which keywords are used by your competitors?
  • And what do you want to focus on?

In the Apple App Store, you have the possibility to fill in these keywords. Make sure that the most important keywords are at the forefront. In the Google Play Store, this is different, here more value is attached to the description of the app. Make sure that the most important keywords (just like with SEO copy) come back prominently and high in the description. Keep in mind that it does not look like keyword stuff. The text must, of course, convince the visitor first and not the search function of the app store.

The category in which your app is also plays a role. Make sure you make a relevant choice. If your app can be placed into multiple categories, it may be interesting to look for the sweet spot via A / B testing. In which category is the best result achieved?

2. Optimize the name & title of your app

Space is there to be used, so make use of it! When coming up with the name and title of your app, you will often tend to your company name or just a name for your app. That is also logical and good. But there’s more.

In the Google Play Store and Apple App Store (iOs 11), you have space for about 30 characters. Often this space is not yet optimally used, which is very a shame. You can use the space well for convincing keywords that indicate what the app stands for. Note that this space is available for the name of the app in the search function of the app store. If the app has been downloaded and the visitor sees it on his / her access screen, he has limited space.

A few good examples:

SHAREit – Transfer & Share




UC Browser – Fast Download Private & Secure


3. Impress with the icon and promotional materials


Your icon is the calling card of your app. Make sure that the icon is recognizable, neat, simple but catchy. Make sure the colors match your brand identity and that you do not use text too much.

Visuals (both the app icon and promotional materials) play an important role in the look and feel of your app. They also affect the click-through ratio and whether or not to generate a download. The CTR and the generation of downloads play a big role in the easy findability of your app. This is discussed in detail in the second part of this article series.


4. Internationalize and localize


In the previous paragraph, I already mentioned that the number of downloads is of great importance for the popularity and findability of your app. The stores of Google and Apple make it possible to roll out your app internationally. Have you ever thought about internationalizing your app? How many markets can you approach extra? And how many downloads this can bring you?

Think little goals and expect little achievements. Think big goals and win big success. – David Joseph Schwartz

Internationalization starts with yourself. Make sure the app offers the possibility to go international. Then you can tap into the various markets via the app stores with the right language and a (market-adapted) keyword focus.

The purpose of locating is to address everyone in the right way, so that they eventually use your app. Research from ASO guru App Annie has shown that users (from most app-using countries such as China, Japan & Korea) are more inclined to download and use an app when an app is localized. Here you will find a short checklist for locating your app.

5. The weight of the app

Very annoying: a too heavy app can have a very negative effect on your ultimate goals. With iOs, WiFi is even required to download an app once it exceeds 100mb. You can imagine how frustrating this can be. Therefore, when building an app, keep a close eye on how heavy the app is. This can have a big impact on the number of downloads.


6. Developer of the app

There is nothing to change, but both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store value the developer of the app.

Are you an established name in the market? I can then give the following tip: make sure your company name is mentioned, and not the name of the developer. There is a greater chance that visitors search for your brand name instead of the brand name of the developer.

Are you a smaller player in the market? Then it is interesting to consider giving up the name of the developer. An advantage of this is that you are mentioned in the list ‘More apps from this developer‘.

7. The price of your app

Last but not least for this article: pricing. Which price fits best with your app? The price can have a big effect on the ultimate goal: generating downloads. Because a large part of the apps is free, it is sometimes difficult to ask for money for your app.

How can you best determine the price? By testing A / B. In the app stores, there are several possibilities to offer and compare both paid and unpaid your app.

Optimize your app

In this first part, I gave you handles for the on-page optimization of your app for the app stores. In part two we discuss the indirect factors that are important in the good scoring in the search function of the app stores.

Do you have any questions? Feel free to ask them via the comments below!

About the author


Vikram is a Digital Media Strategy Consultant who helps small business owners grow their
business. He is passionate about blogging, digital marketing, and emerging technologies.

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