Apple App Store ASO, or app store optimization, is the process of optimizing a mobile app's App Store listing for maximum discovery and conversion from a targeted and relevant audience.
We want our app to be found, installed and used.
Here is what we know about how Apple indexes mobile apps for their app store search results.
Apple App Store Indexing
- The app name and the app keywords fields are indexed
- Quality of ratings impacts ranking
- Reviews are indexed and have significant impact
- The description is indexed but does not have the same significance as the app name or keywords field
- Publisher name is indexed
- Downloads and velocity of downloads impacts rankings and top charts
- Category selection impacts keyword relevance
It is important to note that while app publishers, marketers and developers do control a lot, we cannot control everything that affects how Apple indexes and ranks a mobile app. Of the above, only ratings, reviews and downloads are not part of an app listing - meaning somewhat out of our control. An app can try to make it easier for users to review the app, or channel customer service issues to support instead of using Apple's review system, but there is no direct control of receiving ratings and reviews.
App Store Optimization for Discovery
The elements in an app listing that impact how an app is indexed and ranked in order of importance are:
- app name - see the complete guide to app names here
- keywords field - this field is not visible in the app store and is only used by Apple to index apps. Selecting which keywords to target in the app name, keywords, description and which features to promote in the screenshots is a big part of ASO
- description - serves 3 purposes - reinforce features and keywords, for indexing, and to sell. Read more here.
Go through each of the short guides to get a better understanding of how each element is viewed and our recommendations and best practices for each.
App Store Conversion Rates
Optimizing an app for discovery only positions an app for viewing in search results. To acquire users from being well positioned in organic search traffic, apps need to be optimized for conversion. A mobile app's creative elements including the app icon and screenshots have the biggest impact on conversion. Both metadata and creative elements should work together. Screenshots support targeted keywords, the icon and app name should align. Click the links to learn more about creating and testing app icons, and what to show and how in app screenshots.