You’ve already done the hard part by creating a high quality and engaging app, but what comes next? As an app developer or advertiser, your next goal is likely to have users download your app onto their iPhones and Android devices. With App Store Optimization (ASO), you can increase your app’s discoverability in the Google Play Store and Apple App Store and boost your app ranking. When app marketers talk about ASO, they’re often covering Apple-specific tips. While there are similarities between the two app stores, there are also some differences in their ranking algorithms. Here’s how you can get your app discovered in the Google Play Store, increase your app ranking, and downloaded onto the 2.5 billion active Android devices.
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What Is ASO & Why Is It Important
ASO is the process of optimizing mobile apps and their listing page to increase discoverability and rank higher in the app stores’ search results. To do this, you must optimize all parts of your app store presence. ASO is similar to SEO, but SEO is used for websites and ASO is used for mobile apps. The Google Play Store is a competitive place with over 3 million Android apps, so you’ll want to make your app easy to discover by quality users.
How To Get Discovered on Google Play Search
To get discovered on Google Play search, you’ll have to optimize your app and listing page for the app store’s ranking algorithm. Doing so can improve your overall ranking in the app store. The higher your app ranks in Google Play’s search results, the more downloads it will receive because it will seem the most legit and convenient (less scrolling) to users. Those who install your app from search are also high-quality users, since they came with a search intent and need for your app. Some of the ranking factors are kept secret, but below are the optimizations we do know will help boost your app ranking on Google Play.
Optimize Your Listing Page
Your Google Play Store listing page is where you show users why they should install your app. This could be a user’s first impression of your app, so create a detailed and accurate page to showcase what your app has to offer. This includes the app title, description, promo text, screenshots, and videos that best represent your app’s value and user experience. Unlike the Apple App Store, which has a designated field for keywords, Google Play indexes all textual elements of your listing page. Include relevant keywords in each of the listing page fields, using words and phrases you think users will search to find your app. Below are Google Play’s recommendations for each listing page element:
- Create a unique title that avoids common phrases, but emphasizes what your app is about
- Use up to 50 characters in your title and include keywords
- Be as concise as possible since longer titles could get cut off on some devices
- Don’t misspell words to be unique because users will typically search for the correct spelling, for example, using a “z” instead of an “s” for plural words
- Tell users exactly what they will get from your app
- Include the most relevant keywords in the first line of the app description
- Use the most important copy in the short description, the text that comes before the cut off on the page (around 80 characters)
- Repeat keywords 3-5 times in the full description
- Write a short, one-line description of the app experience
- Use keywords related to your brand, app features, or gameplay
Graphic and Image Assets
- Using quality app icons, screenshots, and videos can help your app stand out in Google Play search results, categories, and lists
- Including three or more 16:9 screenshots and video on your listing page can help increase your conversion rate
- These creatives should show users what the app experience is like
- You can find the exact file type and size requirements on Play Console Support
Category & Tags
- Choose the right category so Google Play can promote your app properly
- App categories: Dating, Finance, Entertainment, Health & Fitness, etc.
- Game categories: Action,Casino, Puzzle, Racing, etc.
- Choose up to 5 tags that are the most relevant to your app and will provide more insight to unfamiliar users
- A car racing game shouldn’t have the tags “motorcycle racing” or “truck racing”
- A/B test variations of your listing page to find the best icon, description, and imagery to increase installs
- Only test one of the listing page elements at a time, like app icon, to get the best results
- Check out more of Google Play’s A/B test ideas and best practices
Localize the Listing
Your app and its Google Play listing page should both be localized for global markets. This ensures that all users, no matter where they live, can enjoy your app to the fullest. The happier your users are, the more Google Play notices and increases your app rank. Localization includes steps at all stages of the app lifecycle, from development and testing to launch and post launch, so check out Google’s full localization checklist before getting started.
User Experience Is King
Listen to your users. We can’t stress this step enough. If you want quality users to install your app and stay engaged, be mindful of their wants, needs, and pain points to create the best user experience possible. The Google Play search algorithm factors in your app’s experience based on user behavior and feedback from ratings, reviews, and number of downloads. You can increase your rank by creating a strong user experience with regular app updates, asking for reviews and ratings, and responding to both positive and negative reviews. On average, users who receive a reply from developers increase their rating by +0.7 stars. Use feedback from users to make improvements to your app and it won’t go unnoticed by Google.