What Every Android App Creator Should Know About Google Play Keywords And ASO

March 19th, 2016

What Every Android App Creator Should Know About Google Play Keywords And ASO
David Quinn

by David Quinn

VP of Strategy & Partnerships at Gummicube, Inc.

Using the right app optimization techniques can mean the difference between a highly successful app and one that is only moderately successful at best. Following are some important tips that can help a marketer promote his or her app in the most effective manner.

Choose the Right Google Play Keywords

Because Google Play limits the number of characters that can be used in the title, short description and long description, it is imperative to choose the right keywords. In a perfect world, a good keyword would get a lot of app store search volume but not have a lot of competition. But the keywords that make up your app listing don't exist in vacuum. Relevance, how a specific word fits into the keyword matrix, and the value of the traffic as measured by intent or lifetime value all impact the value of a keyword. It is also extremely important to ensure that any keywords evaluated are highly related to the app's content. If the keyword is not related to what the app has to offer, this can result in poor conversion rates, low app usage and a high number of uninstalls, all of which are sure to damage your long-term Google Play ranking. In Google's developer center, they specifically state that the best practices of SEO apply in creating a good app listing for Google Play. What they don't say is that even if Google indexes the app listing content similar to a website - the search traffic you are attempting to optimize for is not web search traffic but Google Play search traffic. Further, while app indexing shows some promise for a deeper lever of indexing, websites have more than one page that is evaluated in search. In Google Play, your app listing serves the same purpose in ASO as an entire website does for SEO!

How, When and How Often Keywords Should be Used

If possible, the main keyword being targeted should be used as part of the app's title. The general rule for Google Play ASO is the more constrained the field, the more weight given in indexation. The app name field is limited to 30 characters - so words used carry the greatest weight compared to the short and full descriptions. Using feature or function based phrases is a proven approach as a majority of app store search is for specific features. That said, the goal of selecting keywords for your app listing is not to rank higher, but to acquire more high LTV users. Finding features-based phrases that have a strong potential to convert viewers into users will ultimately help your app store rankings while bringing in more valuable users. In practice, this means when drafting the content of your full description - avoid writing as if for a search engine. Overusing the keyword does not increase search engine benefits and is likely to even be counterproductive if the description sounds like it was written for a search engine rather than a human.


Google Play app pages, much like websites, need inbound links in order to reach a larger audience.

Note: This is unique to Google Play as Apple does not currently include "social signals" in their app store ranking algorithm.

Links to your Google Play app page should be built naturally and ideally come from a wide range of websites. Developing channels outside of the app stores

  • from corporate websites to social media sites and on YouTube (by uploading the promotional video mentioned earlier) can really pay off in better rankings on Google Play. Building user acquisition channels, finding the right mix of keywords and phrases, using the best converting phrases in the app name - all of this takes time. With user acquisition costs above $2 per install, an optimized app listing and app store funnel can create a defendable, long-term asset.

Similar Articles

ASO Weekly - Gummicube at App Growth Summit 2022

ASO Weekly - Gummicube at App Growth Summit 2022

Posted on October 21st, 2022

App Growth Summit (AGS) in San Francisco is a once-a-year event where some of the biggest names in the app marketing and mobile marketing industry come together to share industry insights.