ASO Ranking Factors Outside of Keywords
Keyword optimization is one of the main factors impacting your app’s ranking and visibility in both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. But, what are the other ranking factors you should not neglect? Discover here which elements other than keywords impact your app’s ranking and visibility on the stores.
App stores use complex algorithms to index and rank each app, relying on many factors that impact your app’s position in the search results and that can be influenced to improve your app’s visibility.
There is no direct way to control the number of downloads an app gets but the more downloads it gets, the better its ranking in the stores.
Apple & Google focus more specifically on download velocity, meaning that the app with the best ranking is not necessarily an older app that has accumulated a large number of downloads over time, but one that is being downloaded more every day. For instance, Mario Kart Tour was launched on September 25th, 2019 and ranked #1 in the Games category in the first week after its launch because of the high number of downloads it got at that moment.
Page Conversion Rate
Another important aspect of ASO is to maximize your page conversion rate, meaning the percentage of users that download/install the app once they have seen the app in the search results or visited the app’s page. Optimizing your app icon, screenshots and app preview (video) on top of your app title and short description will not only help convince users to download your app, in the long term it will help increase your app rankings as both the Apple App Store and Google Play take conversion rate into consideration when deciding which app to show in the search results. Let’s take a look at each type of creative and why they are important:
Icons play an extremely important role in the Click Through Rate (CTR) of an app. It is the first element the user sees when looking at the app or game, as it does not only appear in the product page, but already in the search results. Therefore it is crucial that your icon stand out from your competitors.
Screenshots are the most visible element on your app’s page, and are also displayed in the Apple App Store search results. They give the users a sense of what the app is about and what to expect from it even before downloading it. It plays a significant role in converting users as they would rather look at the screenshots than read the long description, which is read by less than 5% of page visitors on average.
App Previews (Video)
App Previews (Video promo) even more so than screenshots offer the possibility to show what the app is about. So the more the video is engaging and using targeted high-volume keywords, the better are the conversion rates. However, using them can be a double edged sword, as a bad video can also have a significant negative impact on conversion.
Last but not least, videos are autoplaying in the Apple App Store but not in Google Play (this should change soon but it’s not yet the case), making videos much more impactful in iOS than Android.
Visuals play an important part in conversion rates of an app. In order to fully take advantage of them, it is recommended to A/B test them to improve them and increase conversion rates.
User Ratings & Reviews
User ratings and reviews are important ranking factors as they have a direct impact both on the App Store search rankings and the conversion rate of the app. In fact, according to our data, on average apps with high ratings rank 25 positions higher than medium-rated apps, and 60 positions higher than low rated apps.
Furthermore, the rating is one of the first things people see on the app’s page as it is located right under the icon in both the Apple App Store and Google Play, which gives it an important role for convincing users to download your app.
This means ratings and reviews can either help your app or break it: people trust other people so they will download an app if it has a lot of positive reviews and vice versa. Positive ratings and reviews give credibility to an app and the better they are, the more relevant the app is on the stores and higher is the ranking position. So it’s important to prompt happy users to leave a rating and/or review, or simply to reply to users to address their concerns.
Being featured in either store means increasing visibility among potential users which can lead to higher rankings and a positive impact on conversions. For example, when you are featured in a story, the story can appear for weeks in the search results making you stand out from the competition and giving you more visibility.
Also, the apps and games being featured are featured in specific tabs or themed lists and are presented to users based on their preferences and previous data. Thus, featuring helps target the right users for your app/game, which leads to better conversions.
Apple App Store Tabs: Today, Apps, and Games
If you want to be featured, keep in mind store editors are more likely to select apps/games that have good visuals and are doing well (well-rated, high volume of daily downloads and good conversion rate).
In-App purchases can appear in the App Store search results by themselves, but also your app can rank on the exact match of the title of your in-app purchases. For example, when searching for the long-tail keyword “animal jigsaw puzzle”, both the in-app purchase and the app Magic Jigsaw Puzzles rank Top.
Search results for “Animal jigsaw puzzle
So just as an app’s metadata is optimized, so should an in-app purchase: title and description. The title should attract the attention of the users and encourage them to make the purchase, while the description should let them know what they’ll get out of it and why they want it. For more visibility, it is necessary to optimize the title for long-tail keywords your app can rank on, specifically long-tail keywords that are combined of terms from the in-app purchase title and the app title.
By effectively promoting and optimizing in-app purchases on the stores with the right titles, visuals, and descriptions, you can increase your app’s visibility within the search results. Also, it does not only boost the sales but the downloads of the app itself and conversions as well. So for the apps that offer or will offer in-app purchases, it is crucial to effectively optimize them to encourage more users to download the app/game.
It is important to update your app regularly (1 to 4 times per month) as updates keep users engaged. Frequent updates make the app show up in the updates list of both the App Store and Google Play, thus keeping them in users’ minds. Also, algorithms in both stores take updates into account, which can lead to higher rankings, and even some featuring in editors’ lists in the Apple App Store.
Overall, optimizing your app goes far beyond Keyword Optimization, as these ranking factors can significantly impact the ranking position of your app in the app stores. Do not forget to invest time optimizing creatives to improve conversion rates, working on reviews & ratings to improve your app’s visibility on the stores and get more downloads, as well as optimizing your in-app purchases to increase your app’s visibility within the search results if you are offering any.