How does apps metadata optimization help to promote at App Store and Google Play?

App Store Optimization - meta-data optimization of the app, which aims to increase search positions at stores. To install the application, the user needs to find it in the search results. ASO makes it possible to occupy leading positions in the searches and obtain additional installations and a new audience. It is not enough just to find the application, it is also necessary to catch the interest. Otherwise, the user will download an application of other developers.

ASO changes become noticeable not immediately. You shouldn’t expect the spasmodic growth of organic traffic. Changes in the search will occur gradually and the growth of installations will also be smooth.

Elements of ASO optimization

Name of the app

Every app has two different names – the visible one, which is seen by the user and the name in the application store. The name for the store is used to promote the application. Google Play limits this name to 30 symbols, while App Store has no limitations. However, this doesn’t mean that you should add all key words in a row.

Adding key words to the name of the application adds value to the app. By using these words, customers will see a shorter version of the app, so you need to create the name according to users’ interests. A person should understand what the app is about and what functions it has simply by reading the title.

The name of the app on the detailed page has a lot more allowed symbols. Here you need to provide a full information on the app – the most important key words. Placing the name of the app at the beginning of the sentence is logical only for a well-known brand. If it is not so popular, the best solution is to use the available space for more important key words. You can add the brand name close to the end of the title.

It is also possible to add a key word to the name of an app. In such a case, you need to evaluate its importance and place the name of the brand at the beginning.

Application’s icon

Icon is the first thing the user sees at the application store and it influences three main factors:

— Clickability of the search results;

— Number of app’s installs from the store’s page;

— Quantity of times the app is started on the device.

Considering a personal style of the app, one should draw the icon depending on the top applications of the niche. For example, App Store administration evaluates whether the icon’s font matches the style of the store.

Work with the keywords

When working with application’s meta-data, key words become the most valuable object of optimization. Keyword functionality is implemented only at App Store. Recommendations on filling:

— One app has 100 symbols for the key words;

— Exclude all the spaces from the line – key words should be separated by commas;

— The most important key words should be placed at the beginning of the line –they gain more value during ranging;

— Words from the name of the app and the name of the developer should not be written in the field of the key words. During search this data is used automatically;

— When writing, the usage of the word is important – in plural or singular. App Store has problems with processing requests in Russian.

For optimization tasks in Google Play you can use app’s description - inclusion of all the keywords to the text in proper forms and sequences will help to promote the app. Obvious spam in the description does not work – you shouldn’t simply enumerate key words.

Before starting working on the app’s promotion, it is necessary to create a semantic core – to pick all the key words.

After adding amendments to the meta-data, it is necessary to track the effectiveness of these amendments – whether application’s positions have grown or not. Application’s positions can be checked manually or by using special services. Periodically it is necessary to arrange a manual check up - to confirm app’s positions.

App’s screenshots

The first screenshot of the app is the most important for the user. The first thing the user sees is the app’s screenshot. He makes a decision – to install, to read the details or to continue the search. At the moment, App Store shows two first screenshots of the app.

Adding a short description to the screenshot aims to explain what the app’s functions are. Non-target screenshots have a negative impact on the number of installs because they don’t have any value for the user.


App Store allows videos of 15 or 30 seconds long, which demonstrate apps capabilities. A quality video is useful for gaming apps – when you need to involve the user to the process. For a paid application, you need to have a video clip - an interested person should understand what functional he is paying for.

On the screen of the search results, screenshot of the video occupies the first place. You need to diversify the display - the screenshot should not repeat the image on the video.

General recommendations on how to design the application’s preview can be found at Apple's recommendations.

App’s description

Text about the app tells about the tasks, which this app is solving. Entertaining apps point at popularity and offer to enter the circle of "enlightened". Rarely people read the description from beginning to the end – if it is interesting, the app is downloaded.

General recommendation – to make first two-three sentences interesting and then add an optimized text with key words.

What’s new

Section of corrections and description of the new functionality of an app is one of the first elements, visible to the user. Majority of developers describe changes and updates quite briefly. However, you can attract the audience by describing these updates in an interesting way: using sarcasm, self-irony, connecting the changes with important events of the real life. Indirectly this method will gain additional audience.

Rating and reviews

Users’ feedbacks influence two aspects of app’s life:

— Rating influences app’s positions in the search results;

— Users evaluate the app according to reviews – negative feedbacks scare the audience away.

It is necessary to work hard on the reviews. At Google Play, the developer can answer people’s reviews. Competitors may try to flood the app with negative reviews. In such a case, it is necessary to contact App Store’s and Google Play’s administration.

In the work of the application, it is necessary to embed an algorithm for motivating users to leave a feedback - users are a free source of reviews on the application.

Peculiarities of ranking algorithms:

— To increase the value of target words it is necessary to duplicate them in the title and in the field of the key words at App Store;

— The most valuable key words should be placed among first 13-14 symbols;

— To improve app’s position at a certain request, it is necessary to obtain its uploads from the search results on the request;

— Changing app’s category may give additional traffic – after updating the app in a new category, it may gain more installs. However, you should be attentive when choosing another category – it must be directly related to application’s tasks.

Tracking changes

In the process of promoting the application, it is necessary to fixate any works, which aimed to improve positions. Fixating changes and improvements may help to understand which methods work, and which are meaningless.
For a better understanding of the niche, it is necessary to mark 2-3 competitors and watch their work on optimizing the application – in such a way you can avoid repeating other people's mistakes.

Choosing a strategy

Before starting the work, it is necessary to determine how it is planned to attract the audience and understand whether the chosen method will work. If the current level of application’s optimization is low, it is necessary to work in all directions:

— Adding new key words to increase visibility of the app;

— Raising the app in the search results by using keywords;

— Increasing the number of installs at the same number of views.

If the application is already well ranked and receives organic traffic, it is necessary to work iteratively - this will help to understand what actions work better.

Analyzing the current state

It is necessary to analyze all the components of the application that will be changed in the future:

— Name and description;

— Screenshots, video, icons;

— Current positions on the main keywords;

— Analyze competitors’ ASO;

— Reviews and ratings.

Competitors’ analysis is the most important. Competitors’ applications already receive installations from the search, so they have a strategy and have already done optimization work.

Selection of semantics

The collection of requests is the main step in promoting. The frequency of phrases in the App Store and Google Play searches is unknown, so you need to conduct an indirect analysis:

— Search tips when typing queries at Google Play and App Store;

— Use services of showing the requests’ frequency in the results of search engines - Yandex.Wordstat and Keyword Planner from Google;

— Ask questions.

Services for selecting keywords:

— Sensor Tower;

— Search Man;

— Mobile Action;

— AppTweak.

As a result, there will be 30-40 unique words for search requests. For applications, it is possible to use several languages. For example, Russian and English.

The quantity of apps in the search results on a request indirectly points on competition. It is necessary to track positions of the app and competitors’ positions at every stage of the development.

A big number of competitors’ apps will help to understand what words they use for optimization. It is necessary to determine where a certain key word is used – in the title, in the name of the developer or main words.

Compiling the title and keywords

App's title should contain the most popular words. The words of lower frequency will be indicated in the key words. At Google Play the length of the title shouldn’t exceed 30 symbols, at App Store title in English can contain 255 symbols, in Cyrillic – 125 symbols.

App’s name should be clear and understandable. The user will see only a first few words, the rest is optimization. Simply listing the keywords in the app’s name won’t work - the administration will not accept such an application.

App Store has a separate field for indicating key words – its length is 100 symbols. That is why it is necessary to make the most of this field. When changing app’s name it is necessary to make changes in the list of the key words to expand the coverage of semantics and remove unnecessary duplication.

App Store’s functionality allows to expand key words, offering a separate field for a second language. For European countries – in English, for USA – in Spanish.

Making a description

First two-three sentences should be clear and laconic, explaining the main tasks of the app, its peculiarities and advantages. A long description will be difficult to read, using a smartphone. These recommendations can be applied at both stores.

Screenshots preparation

It is necessary not only to add screenshots but also to make descriptions on a single-color background, as decorated screenshots increase app’s conversion. However, adding a lot of text to the screenshot will be a mistake. Small font is almost impossible to read on smartphones and previews.

The mobile operator should be hidden on the screenshot, the battery should be full. The screenshot of the application should be adapted to the user's device; the first screenshot of an old iPhone’s version can reduce conversion.

Video preparation

Video’s impact on application’s conversion can be positive and negative. It is necessary to conduct a separate test.

When preparing videos for App Store, you need to consider additional requirements:

— Video’s language should match the selected language in iTunes settings;

— It is necessary to create a video for every screen resolution. The video for iPhone 5 will stretch and will look blurry on iPhone 7 Plus;

— The video should contain only app’s abilities – actions and sequence of screens. Transitions to other applications within the video are not allowed.

Creating an icon

The icon influences download conversion and restarts. The icon should also be tested – the weakest icon (in terms of design) can be the most conversable. Before creating an icon, it is necessary to analyze competitors – maybe potential customers are already used to a certain standard.

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