What is App Store Optimization (ASO)?

App store optimization is the process by which app developers modify their app listing in a given store (App Store or Google Play Store) to have high visibility for common searches.

Whether you are creating an app for the App Store for iOS devices (Apple) or the Google Play Store (Android), there are several different things to consider when looking to optimize your app’s listing in each particular app store so that it can perform well in their given search algorithms. Throw a lot of what you know about SEO when it comes to traditional search engines, as these algorithms work a bit differently compared to Google, Bing, and others. App store optimization, at its core, is a fairly simple task with only a few options where a developer has direct control.

How do you optimize your app store listing for search?


apple app store optimization1. App Title

The most important thing for your app when it comes to app store optimization is the title of the app.

Some things to note:

  • Limited to 30 characters for Apple App Store and 50 characters for Google Play Store.
  • Include a keyword if at all possible, but don’t force it.
  • Keyword stuffing can get you banned (Apple’s App Store is very strict).


2. Subtitle (App Store) or Short Description (Google Play)

Subtitle: The intention for this section of your App Store listing is to summarize the app in a concise phrase, where you can explain the value of your app in a bit more detail as opposed to the title itself. You are also limited to 30 characters for the subtitle, so make sure that you are utilizing the correct keywords and phrases that are effective for search, but not being too long-winded.

Short Description: Google Play Store allows developers to include up to 80 characters for the short description, and users are able to expand the selection to read a full description if interested.

3. Icon

An icon is typically the first thing a potential user will see when searching through apps on the App Store, so it is imperative to make a great first impression with something simple, yet easily recognizable. Think of the Facebook or Twitter logos, these are very simple designs but are carried throughout the app experience, being utilized in their website logos and color scheme. It is also important to avoid sizing issues, so you would want to avoid having lots of text in the app logo since it renders very small on a phone or tablet.

4. Description

There is a big difference here between the Apple App Store and Google Play Stores, in that the description field has an effect on ASO for Google Play, where it does not for Apple App Store.

Google Play Store:

  • This is an On-Metadata factor that is pivotal for Search and Conversion. You will want to include all the keywords for your app or game, as well as a compelling call-to-action.
  • 3000-3500 characters.
  • Make sure you localize your description for all possible languages.
  • Link to your social profiles, websites, and any other linkable assets.
  • INCLUDE SCREENSHOTS!! This includes a great “Feature Graphic” and videos showcasing your app.

Apple App Store:

  • The App Store product description is the area where you can brag about your product, tell potential users about features, and what makes your product unique from the rest.
  • Maximum of 4000 characters.
  • Don’t neglect your screenshots! Great place to grab users’ attention.
  • Include related keywords and calls-to-action… don’t expect users to know everything about your app…
  • Be descriptive but succinct!

5. Keywords

iOS 11 provides 100 characters to enter keywords separated by commas. You can utilize the Apple Search Ads account (which is used for paid advertising within the App Store) to perform some keyword research. Mostly, you will want to choose the most relevant, high-conversion keywords related to your app.

Google Play Store does not currently have functionality for keyword inclusion, although, you can do this by writing a well-optimized description…

It takes a lot of work to get an app created, but once the publish button is pressed, your work is not over… it has really just begun. Marketing an app is essential for its initial and continued success. When new features roll out, update the description and screenshots, apps aren’t a set-it-and-forget-it kind of technology. For an app to truly find success, you will consistently need to research, tweak, and refine your various sections for advertising and app store optimization. Keeping up with the latest trends is also a must since these stores are oftentimes changing their layouts, terms of service, and features. If you want to learn more, please read the documentation straight from the sources:

App Store: https://developer.apple.com/app-store/product-page/

Google Play Store: https://support.google.com/googleplay/android-developer/answer/4448378?hl=en