Search engine optimization (SEO) Web Development

App Store Optimization: This Is How Visitors Influence Your App Ranking

App-Store-Optimization-appleIn my previous article about App Store Optimization  (ASO), I mainly told you how you can optimally optimize your app for app stores. In this article, the focus is more on signals from visitors, and on their influence on the ranking in the app stores.

As with search engine optimization (SEO), the display of apps in app store search results is based on a number of factors. Within ASO you can distinguish between on-page and off-page factors that all influence each other and influence the final ranking. On-page factors are characterized by the visual and non-visual information that app stores receive. On the other hand, the off-page factors – the signals that your visitors issue – are also taken into account in the ranking process. Wondering what signals I mean? Below the points of attention in a row.

ASO off-page factors: which factors influence the search results?

One of the most important indicators in both the Apple Store and Google Play Store is the number of downloads from the app. This number gives the app stores, along with the other user metrics (which are discussed), a picture of the quality and popularity of the app.

How do you ensure that the number of downloads is increasing? There are plenty of options to bring your app to the man.

  • First of all, make sure that your app is useful, fun and/or of high quality.
  • Boost your app through various channels: social, e-mail, and so on.
  • Use external parties to boost your app.
  • Use advertisement. I do not like to say it as an SEO consultant, but paying works when generating downloads. And this ultimately also affects your organic downloads.

The disadvantages of many downloads

App stores appreciate a regular flow of daily downloads and will take this into account in the ranking process. Although the number of downloads is a positive indicator, it also has its drawbacks. For example, a high discard rate  – the number of apps removed – can have a negative impact on the rankings. Because people remove the app, they actually indicate that they either have not found what they are looking for or that the quality is not satisfactory.

Influence app ratings and reviews

It will not surprise you that (star) reviews and reviews affect both the number of downloads and the ranking of your app. Research by Apptentive even shows that:

  • only 15 percent of people are considering downloading the app at an average 2-star rating.
  • 50 percent of people are considering downloading an app with an average 3-star rating.
  • 95 percent of people are considering downloading an app with an average 4-star rating.

In addition, 70 percent of people have read a review before they download an app. And 42 percent of these people see an app store review as just as or more credible as a personal recommendation. Anyway, the importance of good ratings and reviews is clear.


This way you get more reviews and ratings

Integrate strategic places where people can leave a rating or review. For example, ask for feedback if your visitor has just had a positive customer service experience, or has reached a milestone in your app. This creates a piece of engagement and at the same time increases the number of positive reactions.

Note: it is often easier for users to leave a negative reaction. Below, therefore, a number of tips to avoid negative reviews.

  • Use a contact support button; give the visitor the opportunity to express his dissatisfaction and discuss this. This prevents (hopefully) that he leaves a negative review.
  • Respond to reviews in both the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store.

App Store click-through rate (CTR) increase

Does the click-through behavior of the visitors in the app store affect the number of downloads? Yup, that has influence! As already mentioned extensively, it is very important that your app stands out in the search results of the app stores. The click-through behavior of the visitors ultimately influences how often your app is downloaded. Which in turn influences the ranking of your app in the search results.

It is mainly the on-page factors that influence different off-page factors. The following on-page factors affect your CTR, as discussed earlier:

  • App name (title)
  • Size of the app
  • Keywords + description
  • Icon
  • Screenshots + other visual content
  • Localization

Make your app findable

The search function in the app stores, therefore, plays an important role in finding the right app. In 67 percent of cases, the search function is used as a method to get to the right app.

What should you pay attention to in short?

  • Choose the right keyword positioning; pay attention to relevance, popularity and generic versus specific focus of the keywords.
  • Improve the findability of the app in the app stores by optimizing the on-page factors.
  • For an eventual top ranking, pay attention to the off-page factors.
    • Maximizing the number of downloads
      • Promotion of the app (via various channels, advertising and external parties)
      • Discard Rate
      • Download speed
    • Ratings and Reviews
      • Add push notifications at strategic locations, so the visitor is more inclined to leave a positive response.
      • Prevent negative reviews by adding a contact support button
      • Respond to reviews
    • Optimize CTR
      • By optimizing the on-page factors mentioned

Continuous process

As with SEO, ASO is also an ongoing process, in which you must constantly focus on being successful. But with a good will to understand how app stores work, and the right discipline to implement the optimizations, you can significantly increase the chances of your app being chosen.

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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