How to Get the Definitive Guide of Google Play ASO

How to Get the Definitive Guide of Google Play ASO

In this guide, we will be looking at Google Play App Store Optimization and how to adjust your strategy to its own distinctive environment. In its basic sense doing Google Play App Store Optimization is a bit closer to doing SEO. So, before delving into doing Google Play App Store Optimization, let’s have a look at what we have in common with SEO and borrow from SEO to enhance our ASO strategy.

Table of Content

SEO vs ASO

Without getting too much in detail, let’s have a basic look at differences between Search Engine Optimization and App Store Optimization.

How Does SEO Work?

SEO (Search Engine Optimization), is the process of increasing the rankings of websites on the search engines. For that matter, ASO and SEO are quite similar. However, SEO is much more complex and there are so many more different practices to learn when doing SEO.

So, how does SEO work? Similar to ASO, SEO aims to increase your rankings in the search results through ‘keywords’.

The basic strategy is to tell the search engines which keywords and phrases are relevant to your website and how popular your keyword is. So, basically, you indicate some of the keywords you want to rank for and based on your popularity the search engines will rank you in a spot for those keywords.

Seems familiar?

Well, that’s probably all that SEO and ASO have in common. The ways they get to those ends is drastically different. ASO is done only inside the app stores whereas SEO is much much different.

But, there are a couple of practices that are shared between SEO and Google Play App Store Optimization.

Google Play Store, SEO for Mobile Apps?

Doing ASO in Google Play Store Optimization is quite different from doing ASO for the Apple App Store especially in terms of increasing visibility.

Unlike the Apple App Store, there isn’t a Keyword Field to put your keywords in. Instead, you will be ranking for some of the keywords in your Long Description. Thus your Long Description plays a crucial role in your Play Store Optimization strategy as it is directly indexed for keywords.

The way that Google ranks you for the keywords in your Long Description is where ASO for the Play Store resembles SEO.

As the Long Description can be as long as 4000 characters, there’s no way that Google is going to rank you for every keyword you use in your Long Description. At least not equally. That’s why we will borrow a term that is native to SEO, Keyword Density.

Keyword Density is a simple term that refers to the number of times a keyword is repeated in a body of text.

When doing Google Play Store ASO, you will encounter this term quite often.

When you are going to target some keywords for your ASO strategy, it’s imperative to have a good keyword density for those keywords in your description.

Repeating your most important keywords is the best way to show Google which keywords are the most relevant to your app.

Increasing Visibility in the Google Play Store

You probably have heard these dozens of times before but the ranking factors in both app stores are drastically different. Many claim that increasing your visibility in the Play Store is easier than the App Store.

We both agree and don’t agree with this statement. Firstly, it’s easier because there are fewer factors that affect your rankings and you are not limited to a 100 character long Keyword List.

It’s harder because most of the keywords you target should be spread across your Long Description in a way that it still makes sense to someone who decides to read it.

Before delving deeper into how to increase your rankings in the Google Play Store, let’s have a look at what factors have an impact on your rankings.

Ranking Factors in the Play Store

App Title

The App Title just like in the Apple App Store has the biggest impact on your rankings.

Unlike the App Store where the app title is limited to 30 characters, Google Play Store allows for up to 50 characters in your app title.

As the App Title is your strongest ranking factor, having  20 more characters to use in your app title can be considered an advantage.

Description (Short & Long)

The App Description is your second most important ranking factor and is the only other place where you can put keywords you want to rank for.

The first 80 characters of your Description are often referred to as the Short Description. It is important to write an attractive short description where you can convince visitors to download your app. It would not be wrong to assume that most people do not bother with your long description. Thus it is very important to write a catchy short description which will increase conversions.

By repeating your focus keywords up to 5 times throughout your entire Description, you will indicate to Google that those keywords are related to your app and people searching for your app will use these keywords.

Download Numbers & Velocity

The same story with the Apple App Store. The more downloads your app has, the more credible it’s considered by Google. Thus ranked higher.

In addition to that, the increase in download numbers over a period of time is also quite important for your rankings.

Retention Rates

Google has been trying to combat Black Hat ASO for quite some time.

Previously, the download numbers were one of the strongest ranking factors. So, if you bought downloads you would rank high. However, as Google Play ASO evolved, they also started to value the retention rates of those downloads as well.

Basically, if someone downloads your app and uninstalls it in a couple of days that won’t be as near as effective as having them use the app for extended periods of time.

Reviews & Ratings

Again, another way to show Google that your app is a credible and renowned one.

If your app ratings are high and you have a high number of positive reviews Google will consider your app high quality and will rank you higher for relevant keywords.

Developer Name

Not much to say here, if you have some well-known apps, Google will rank you for search queries that contain your developer name to allow you to appear in the search results when someone searches for your developer name.

Crashes, Bugs, Battery Life & File Size

All of these are rumored to be considered by Google when ranking your app. So, if your app has problems with these factors you probably won’t rank very high as these are indicators of a bad app.

These factors are also quite important in a different way to your Android App Store Optimization. All of these factors affect your retention rates and reviews as well.

As retention rates are an important factor too, even if they don’t directly affect your rankings, they will have an indirect impact through influencing your retention rates.

Optimizing Your Ranking Factors

Even though there are fewer factors affecting your rankings that you can control in Google Play Store, optimizing them can be quite complicated. So, let’s have a look at the ways to optimize those factors.

a. Optimizing Your App Title

As your strongest ranking factor is the App Title, you should pay close attention to your App Title.

Thankfully, Google has increased the character limit of the App Title to 50 characters. This allows you to rank for more keywords in your App Title. You can add a couple of your most important keywords to your App Title to ensure that you rank higher for your focus keywords.

Keeping your App Title short and precise on the other hand is also suggested. As you don’t want your app to look like a bad quality, spammy app. So, don’t just stuff keywords in your App Title. Instead, use those extra character limits to use keywords that also explain what your app does.

So, you have two options here. First, you can go for branding over ASO. You will only use your brand name in your App Title. This is a practice followed by big brands who are already at the top of the Top Charts.

You can see that Clash of Clans has decided to go for branding over ASO. As they are a well-established brand they don’t need the extra ranking from additional keywords. Instead, they go for branding to further enhance their brand identity.

As the second option, you can go for the more ASO friendly route. You will aim to include your most important keywords in your App Title without making it look spammy!

As you can see, Big Fish Casino has gone for the ASO route as they are still trying to increase their rankings. You can see that they have added a couple of relevant keywords to their App Title in addition to their brand name.

b. Optimizing Your Description

Now, this is probably one of the most important parts of Android ASO. Other than your App Title, your app description is all you have got to show Google which keywords are related to your app. That’s why you should take your time when preparing a description.

With everything about App Store Optimization, always test! Don’t just stick to the first description you come up with. Test different versions, try to pinpoint useful keywords that will help you rank higher.

Your Description is split into two parts: the Short Description & the Long Description. While not confirmed, it is accepted that the keywords in your Short Description rank higher provided that they are repeated also in your Long Description as well.

Before delving into the details, let’s have a look at how Google indexes the keywords in your description.

When Google ranks your app for keywords, it follows a process similar to that of the search engines in SEO. You provide the algorithm a body of text that is full of keywords that are relevant to your app/website and based on their density the search engines associate your app/website with those keywords.

After that, the search engines look at the credibility of the website by viewing the number of visits. If they are visited often, the search engines take that website as a credible one, thus they rank those websites in a higher rank for those keywords.

This process is quite similar in the Play Store too. By repeating your most important keywords in your description you tell the Google Play algorithm that your app is most relevant to those keywords.

After that, the algorithm looks at your download numbers and app reviews & ratings to measure the credibility and quality of your app. Based on those it ranks you in a certain spot for the keywords. Finding the proper keywords to include in your metadata is also important.

When you are preparing your description, keep these points in mind but do not forget that the description should be written for the users, not the search algorithms.

Do not under any circumstances stuff your keywords into your description. Your app will not be approved and you might get banned from the Play Store for spam content. Even if you manage to elude Google, your app will leave a very bad impression on potential users and they won’t download your app.

Instead, make a simple, easy to read and descriptive description. It should communicate with the users well and describe the app in detail. It’s called the description, after all, isn’t it?

The first 80 characters of your Description which is often referred as the Short Description is also vital for your app. It arguably has a higher impact on your rankings and it also has quite an impact on your Conversion Rates as well.

You can see that Blizzard Entertainment has decided to use the Short Description to use it for Conversion Rates rather than Visibility.

That’s why getting the most out of those 80 characters can be one of the most delicate steps you should take when doing Google Play App Store Optimization.

c. The Importance of Retention and App Quality

Google pays extra attention to the quality of the app while ranking the app. Just as we have discussed in the chapter dedicated to SEO vs ASO, when Google ranks you for the keywords you want to rank for, it looks at your download numbers, reviews, ratings and retention rates to measure the quality of your app. Reviews are particularly important here.

As the rate of the total users and the ones who leave a review is quite low, if an app has a high number of reviews it means that people are taking their time to write a review for the app. If this doesn’t signal a high-quality product for an algorithm, I don’t know what does.

Optimizing these factors might seem quite hard to do, but you can have a saying over them by having a good product, responding to user requests, fixing bugs and crashes while also letting the users know that you are working for them, creating content constantly can help you to prevent these factors for becoming an obstacle to your app growth. Developers who respond to feedback spread a positive image about the app and themselves, impressing new users who visit the product page.

Increasing Conversions in the Google Play Store

While the ranking factors and way to optimize them are drastically different from the Apple App Store,the factors that affect your Conversion Rates are quite similar.

The most notable difference is on the search results page. Unlike the lively results page where you show most of your creatives in the App Store, the Google Play Store is much more simplistic than its counterpart.

One the results page only the App Icon, App Title, Publisher Name and the Rating of the apps are displayed. All of the other assets are shown on the listing page.

So, to show the other assets users must tap on your app name on the search results. This makes Google Play App Store Optimization a bit less complicated in terms of conversion rates.

So, let’s have a look at the assets you have that have an effect on your Conversion Rate and how to optimize them.

So, let’s have a look at the assets you have that have an effect on your Conversion Rate and how to optimize them.

App Icon

The App Icon is probably the first thing that the potential user sees about your app. It appears in the search results, the app listing page and basically everywhere related to your app. Therefore, do not hesitate to work with a good designer to create an awesome App Icon for your app!

Even if the App Icon can be viewed as a creative asset of your app there are a couple of points that are important to keep in mind when creating a good App Icon.

The App Icon should be a simple, easily recognized image that shouldn’t be too detailed. It should be something people can notice quickly and forget slowly so that your brand identity is strong.

Try to avoid having words in your App Icon. Make sure that when people see your App Title they will get an idea of what your app is about. Always make mobile app a/b tests your App Icons, don’t stick to the first good version you find. Use social platforms such as Facebook to ask people for ideas for your App Icon.

App Title

The second most important factor affecting your Conversion Rates is the App Title. After people see the App Icon the next thing they see and read is your App Title. That’s why it’s crucial to have a clear and simple App Title.

Your App Title should be easy to read and should have your brand/app name in it (obviously). Also, it’s quite helpful if you can spare a couple of characters to tell a little more about your app.

You should pay very close attention to your App Title as it’s one of your most important assets. It both influences your Rankings & Conversion Rates. Furthermore, it’s one of the most important factors that affect both.

Reviews & Ratings

In the Google Play App Store Optimization, Ratings play a much more important role than in the App Store.

As they are one of the few things that appear on the search results page they have a profound effect on your Conversion Rates. That’s why it’s important to have a decent rating (a rating higher than 3.5) to tell the users that your app is a good one.

A rating below 3.5 is often viewed as a signal for a bad app.

That’s why it’s important to ask for ratings from your users. But it’s more important when you ask for those Ratings. We will discover asking about reviews later in this guide.

App Reviews play a more secondary role as they are visible on your product page. Users who visit your product page, most of the time, check your reviews as well. That’s why having positive reviews or responding to negative app reviews is always good.

To view more related app promotion blogs: What does it mean when consumers were spending 34% more on video and photo apps?

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