You build an app.
Users visit the app store.
They search for an app based on their needs.
Your app appears in the search results as it matches their need.
They download and install your app.
And you start making money.
We really wish it was that simple! Building an app may have indeed become easy-peasy today, thanks to low-code/no-code platforms like Vajro, but your job doesn't end there for sure.
According to recent data, there are 1.85 million different apps in Apple App Store and 2.56 million in Google Play Store. What are the odds of your app making it to the top of this infinite list when they search for your category???
And if you’re an app store owner, you might have noticed that many of your competitor’s apps are ranking higher than yours despite being not as good as yours. So what are they doing right, and what are you missing out on?
The answer is App Store Optimization. It is your key to unlock the car, start the engine, rev it up, and zoom past your competitors in the app war.
So what exactly is App Store Optimization (ASO)?
In very, very simple words, it is the process of increasing your app’s visibility in the Google Play Store or Apple App Store and improve its conversion rates. Now though your destination is ‘better visibility’ in searches, the route to achieve it is quite different in both these ecosystems.
Not only do they use unique algorithms to rank your app, but they also use different techniques to showcase your apps.
On that note, let’s find out the key differences in ASO between Google Play Store and Apple App Store.
ASO in Google Play Store vs. Apple App Store: The Key Differences
When it comes to the length of the title, the Apple App Store allows up to 30 characters. Google Play Store earlier supported 50 characters, which was shortened to 30 following the app policy changes in April 2021.
The purpose of the app title is quite different on both platforms. In the Google Play Store, your app only has an icon and a title. This means the app title is totally responsible for explaining what the app is all about to the users. However, apps in Apple App Store also have subtitles, screenshots, and videos of the app, thus reducing the burden on the title.
Pro Tip: The name of your app is one of the biggest contributors to determining your search rank on both these platforms. The title of your app should include all the relevant and important keywords to show up at the top.
Similar to your app title, the keywords you use in your app description/subtitle play a vital role in improving your app’s visibility and rankings. Both the platforms use the keywords located in the description section of your app to index it based on certain search terms.
Now it’s natural to wonder - Is repeating keywords a good idea on both platforms? The answer is Yes and No. Repeating keywords in your app title and short description can indeed help in boosting your app’s search ranking in the Google Play Store as it greatly values keyword density for determining the rank.
However, in Apple App Store, repeating keywords is a misspent effort as the keyword density is not valued to determine the rank.
You can add up to 10 screenshots for your app in the Apple App Store. In the Google Play Store, you have the liberty to upload only 8 screenshots.
On Apple App Store, the first three screenshots of your app are displayed for every search. However, in Google Play Store, the screenshots are hidden on the app listing page and do not appear until the user clicks and navigates to the app's detail page.
Although your app screenshots do not directly influence your search ranking, good screenshots can impact your Click-Through Rates(CTR), leading to better conversion.
The primary purpose of a long description is to explain your app's use cases. However, when it comes to ASO, the long descriptions have multiple hats to wear.
On Apple App Store, long descriptions do not influence the search results. However, you can use long descriptions to explain the goal of your app creatively, encouraging users to download it.
In contrast, long descriptions significantly influence the search ranking in the Google Play Store. Hence, writing long descriptions that adhere to best SEO practices is important in this platform. Don’t forget to maintain a good keyword density(about 2%-3%) for relevant keywords.
Google takes into account the number of backlinks to your app page and considers it a good ranking signal. The formula is simple - More the backlinks, the worthier the content, the better the app, and the higher the rank.
Apple App Store does not emphasize too much on backlinks and does not use them to rank your app in the search results.
Pro Tip: Use tools like Ahrefs and SemRush to check the number of backlinks to your app’s page. Emphasize on getting backlinks from quality websites.
Other factors playing an important role in ASO
Apart from the above, some more factors influence ASO on both platforms. Unfortunately, they are almost impossible to control and entirely depend on the audience's response to your app. Here are they -
- No. of Downloads - The download volume on both platforms helps to climb the ranking ladder. Apple App Store does not show this data, but Google Play Store shows the number of downloads.
- Reviews and Ratings - Reviews and ratings generally impact both platforms' conversion rates. However, Google’s algorithm even considers the keywords in the reviews to determine the rank of the app. Now that’s almost impossible to take control of.
- Installs speed - If your app was downloaded multiple times in a shorter time span, it has higher chances of going to the top of search results on both platforms.
And that’s a wrap…
ASO should never be lightly taken when you are publishing your app on any of the two platforms. When you do not adhere to the rules set by these platforms, your ranking will be significantly impacted, taking a toll on your app’s visibility. In the end, your target audience will not even know that your app exists.
More importantly, these ASO policies are updated regularly, and it is important to keep track of them if you are an app owner or a developer to always stay at the top of the search results.
And If you are exploring options to set up your own mobile app store, be it in Android or iOS, Vajro can help bridge the gap in a jiffy. Drop us a line, and we’ll figure out what works best for you.