Just like a website SEO, you can also do App Store Optimization (ASO) of your app Play Store to rank higher in the Play Store for keywords. Ranking high in the Play Store can help you gain more organic visibility and thus more organic downloads of your app without investing dollars. Here is a step by step guide on doing App Store Optimization of your app in the Play Store.
ASO: Title & Description Optimization
Google gives a character limit of up to 50 characters as the Play Store title. Here are some of the tips on writing the title:
- Include the brand name and some of your most powerful top-level keywords
- For example, in the below App title, Trivago defines itself as associated with travel & Hotel
Short Description Optimization
Google gives a character limit of up to 80 characters as the Play Store Short description. A short description is just like a meta description for a web page but not the meta description essentially because they are not visible on the SERP (Search Engine Result Page). Here are some of the tips on writing the short description:
- Short description indirectly contributes to App Store Ranking.
- Short description plays a huge role in the Play Store searches, not web searches.
- The short description should include a line about what your business is into and what the user can do by using this app.
Full description Optimization:
Google gives a character limit of up to 4000 characters as the Play Store full description. Play Store uses the full of the full description in the meta description of its page. Here is the full description of Trivago app in the Canadian Play Store.
Look at the first two to three lines in the screenshot above. Now, here is another screenshot from the Google Search Engine Result Page (SERP) where you can see that the first two to three lines are appearing the as the meta description.
Here is another screenshot where you can see that the full description is defined as the meta description at the HTML code level from the Play Store:
Here are some tips on writing the full description of an app in the Play Store:
- Write a line at the beginning of the full description as if the line represents the meta description of the page. You have already seen in the discussion above how the first few lines of the full description appear as meta description in the Search Engine Result Page (SERP).
- Include the most important keywords in the beginning lines
- Keep sprinkling keywords and their variants throughout the whole content. Include Why should someone download your app? And its benefits.
- If possible & relevant, include famous brand names or your competitors’ name. Here you can see how cleverly Trivago has leveraged other brand names such as Expedia, Hotels.com, Holidaycheck, ebookers, AlphaRooms, LateRooms, Travelrepublic, Amoma.com, Booking.com, Priceline, HotelTonight and more. It has already been highlighted in the image under “Full Description Optimization” section.
- Try to include keywords around “best”, “top” etc. wisely in the content. In the same screenshot above, you can see how wisely Trivago has leveraged these search terms such as:
- Find hotels with one of the world’s best travel app’s
- The Guardian lists Trivago among the “10 best money-saving apps.”
- Tech Times calls Trivago one of the “must-have apps for frequent travelers.”
- Lifehacker lists Trivago among the “best price-comparison apps you need to download.”
Here is another screenshot which cleverly leverages the full description in the Play Store for organic ranking.
I have already highlighted some of the findings on the screenshot. I am listing them out for your reference
- Organize your Play Store Full Description content
- If you are in the travel or hotel industry, try to cleverly use “near me” search terms. Similarly, for e-commerce, it would be for girls, for women, for kids, for men, for boys, etc.
- List out your operating areas and languages
- List out your services and features. To list out your services and features, you can also use emoticons. Here is an example of the same
Some of the features that you can highlight are:
- Availability in different languages
- Membership programs and loyalty points
- Notification and alert systems
- List out your social media handles and contact email.
Graphic Assets Optimization for ASO
The graphics assets should be named properly and optimized around the targeted keywords before you upload them on the Play Store. Try to upload as many graphics assets as many possible or asked in the Play Store. There are four different types for which screenshots are required. Those types are:
- Android TV and,
- Wear OS
You can ignore Android TV and Wear OS unless they are relevant to your app. At least 2 screenshots are required overall. Max 8 screenshots per type.
Video Guide for ASO
You can also create a YouTube video about your Android app. If you decide to play the video URL as shown above, in that case, the video preview thumbnail will become a feature graphic.
- Your YouTube video should an explainer video of what your business does
- Also, Play store views are counted towards YouTube organic views so it will also help you in giving an organic boost to your YouTube video.
- Put your best features or the most important messages to the first 2 screenshots
- Nowadays, many brands extend the app USP and brand messaging across different cards just like Facebook carousel cards in the Play store graphics assets. Here is a screenshot of the same.
- Use all available screenshot slots, don’t stop on the 2 minimum required ones.
- Use text to explain the information on the images to the users. You can also use text to show the functionalities of the app and the ease of using it.
- Follow your app’s general style and theme, experiment with creating storylines by defining a color palette for your brand.
- Provide a challenging copy to encourage users to install your app.
- Show special offers or discounts to give them more visibility.
- Localize screenshots!
- And never forget to A/B test them to find the best ones for your product!
Ratings & Reviews for ASO
Ratings and reviews are equally important for your organic ranking for the following reasons:
- It keeps on updating the content of your Play Store page, if you consider your Play Store page as a webpage, with new user-generated content.
- It also uses schema to display ratings and reviews about your app to the new users.
- Make a strategy in asking the app users to rate and review their experience using your app. You can ask for a rating or review after a user has completed a micro-conversion or full conversion.
Here are some scenarios of asking the review or asking a user to rate their app experience.
- After making a purchase on an E-commerce app
- After making a transaction on third-party payment apps
- After completing a level on a gaming app
- After saving a few articles or commenting on a news app
- After placing an order or getting the order delivered on food delivery app
- Ask for their experience of an appointment on an appointment booking app
Think of different scenarios for your app use cases and try to collect as many reviews as you can. I hope this ASO guide gave your fair ideas of optimizing your app in Play Store for organic ranking. Let me know in the comments below if you have other thoughts or tricks for ASO.
Extras for ASO
Optimize your brand around the app if the app drives major of your business. For example, in the screenshot below, you can after searching for Trivago app on Google, there are three search results:
- One from the PlayStore itself
- Second from the Trivago as an app developer
- Third again from a special page named “app” on the Trivago website
So, you can follow the following ASO tricks:
- Name your App developer after your brand name
- Have a dedicated page for the app on your website if you have a website
- You can also have multiple pages in different languages on different websites pointing to different Play Stores in different languages. You will understand this part more if you have experience in international level SEO. Here is hreflang and alternate tag in website code of Play Store for Trivago app in different languages:
- Also, deep link those pages to your app just as a good practice. Google Play Store also provides you an option to deep-link your website to your app. Here is the screenshot: