Google Play ASO: What You Need to Know

February 1st, 2020

Google Play ASO: What You Need to Know
David Quinn

by David Quinn

VP of Strategy & Partnerships at Gummicube, Inc.

Google Play ASO requires different techniques and strategies than ASO for the Apple App Store. As the stores use different algorithms and have different rules, the same optimizations cannot work on both. App developers ready to launch their Android apps should know how to optimize them for the Google Play Store.

Google Play Keywords

Keywords for Google Play ASO are not declared in a keyword bank. Instead, they are drawn from the app’s title, short description and long description.

As the title is weighed most heavily for keywords, developers will often include title tags. These convey the app’s functions to users while targeting the keywords in the title. For instance, the YouTube TV app’s full title is “YouTube TV – Watch & Record Live TV.” This is designed to target terms such as “Live TV” and “Watch TV.”

Google Play’s algorithm crawls the description to identify keywords. ASO best practices recommend beginning each line with a keyword near the front. These must still be written properly, both for conversion and to avoid getting flagged for keyword stuffing.

While bullet lists are good ways to target keywords, it’s also important to not use them to the point of keyword stuffing. For instance, if an app that lets users watch TV shows wrote a description to say:

  • Watch The Simpsons
  • Watch Family Guy
  • Watch TV Shows
  • Watch Cartoons

It would very likely get flagged and the update would be rejected from the Play Store. There is a delicate balance to strike between integrating keywords, maintaining readability and avoiding keyword stuffing, but finding that balance is important for optimization.

Google Play Creative Sets

Google Play allows up to eight screenshots. These can be either landscape or portrait mode images and are not seen until the user clicks on the app. You’re not confined to specific dimensions, although Google has a minimum and maximum width (320px-3840px) and the ratio cannot be greater than 2:1.

It is important that you test your screenshots to ensure they perform well. Some App Store Optimization screenshot best practices are consistent across stores and include:

  • Utilizing callout text that incorporates keywords
  • Using colors consistent with the brand
  • Focusing on features in order of importance

A Google Play promo video can be a useful tool for driving conversions. Videos on the Play Store link to YouTube, so they are all in landscape mode. This may require videos for apps played in portrait mode to add borders to the videos. Unlike videos on the Apple App Store, Google Play promo videos can be longer than 30 seconds and can use footage from outside the app.

Promo videos are displayed before the screenshots in the app’s store listing. Each video includes a feature graphic that’s displayed before the video starts playing. These should be visually engaging, display the logo clearly and convey the theme of the app.


Developers should consider running Google Ads to supplement their Google Play ASO. Every paid install can help an app gain 1.5 more organic installs, as it helps build keyword relevance and name recognition as the app appears in paid ads.

Google Ads (previously Google AdWords and Google UAC) is Google’s advertising platform. It displays advertisements across Google’s websites, including the Google Play Store. Paid marketing through Google Ads can help Google Play ASO by driving organic growth. Clicks and conversions gained through ads provide traffic that improves the clickthrough rate (CTR) and keyword indexation.


Google Play ASO requires specific designs and techniques for keyword usage, creative sets and marketing. By following the best practices and understanding how the Play Store indexes and ranks apps, developers and marketers can drive their apps towards greater success.

Want more information regarding App Store Optimization? Contact Gummicube and we’ll help get your strategy started.

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