ASO vs SEO: Why & How They Are Different

Alexandra De Clerckby 
CMO at AppTweak

4 min read

App Store Optimization (ASO) is often referred to as ‘mobile SEO’ or ‘SEO for apps’. This analogy comes in pretty handy when understanding the overarching principle of App Store Optimization. However, the app stores and the web are two very different ecosystems, hence there are quite some differences between ASO and SEO.

ASO vs SEO: Definition

ASO Definition: ASO, or App Store Optimization, is the process of improving an app’s visibility in the app stores with the objective of increasing organic app downloads. Apps are more visible when they rank highly on a wide variety of search terms, maintain a high position in the top charts, or get featured by the store.

Discover what exactly ASO is and the essential role it plays in growing your app

SEO Definition: SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the practice of increasing your web pages’ rankings in the organic search engine results pages with the objective of driving more qualified traffic to your website.

ASO vs SEO: Objective

ASO Objective: In general, the objective of ASO is to increase an app’s rankings on high volume keywords with the ultimate goal of increasing downloads. As discovery gains importance on both app stores (iOS & Android), ASO experts are now also starting to focus on strategies that help increase their app’s visibility in editorial content, stories or similar app cards.

SEO Objective: The ultimate goal of SEO is to drive more qualified traffic to your web pages through the organic search engines and help people find answers to their questions or discover new products or services.

ASO vs SEO: Search Intent

Search Intent on the App Stores: Search queries in the app stores are generally shorter than on the web. People tend to search for specific apps by their brand name or are looking to discover new apps that can serve an exact need. Search queries therefore tend to be more functional and are related to specific features of an app.

Search Intent on the Web: Due to the abundance of information on the web, search terms tend to be longer and more specific. When searching the web, people generally seek answers to specific questions or they make transactional queries looking to make an inquiry or buy a certain product or service.

ASO vs SEO: Ranking Factors

ASO Ranking Factors:

On-Page ASO Ranking Factors:

  • App title (iOS & Android)
  • App subtitle (iOS) and short description (Android)
  • Long description & keyword density (Android)
  • Keyword field (iOS)
  • In-app purchases (iOS)
  • Publisher name (iOS & Android)

Off-Page ASO Ranking Factors:

  • Total number of downloads and download velocity (iOS & Android)
  • Conversion rate (iOS & Android)
  • Retention and engagement (iOS & Android)
  • Reviews and ratings (iOS & Android)
  • Crash rate (iOS & Android)
  • Backlinks (Android)

Learn more about the most significant ASO ranking factors outside of keywords

There are also important distinctions between ASO ranking factors on the Apple App Store and on the Google Play Store. Read this blog to discover the main differences to consider when developing your ASO strategy.

SEO Ranking Factors:

On-Page SEO Ranking Factors:

  • Keywords in the title tag
  • Keywords in header tags
  • High quality and relevant content
  • Content structure and length
  • Optimized URLs and meta tags

Off-Page SEO Ranking Factors:

  • Page speed
  • Backlinks
  • Domain authority
  • Click-through rate and bounce rate
  • Time spent on page


Just like SEO, ASO is an ongoing process and one-time-shots or magical tricks don’t exist. A successful ASO strategy focuses on careful monitoring and gradual improvements with the fundamental aim of building a high-quality app. Detailed keyword research can help you understand user behavior in the app stores and uncover opportunities to increase your app rankings gradually over time. Below we have listed some of the metrics you should use to measure your success:


  • Organic downloads and installs
  • Conversion rate
  • Keyword visibility and rankings
  • Average ratings and reviews score


  • Organic sessions
  • Conversion rate
  • Keyword visibility and rankings
  • Bounce rate
  • Pages per session
  • Average session duration
  • Page load time
  • Number of backlinks and domains

As ASO and SEO are two different eco-systems serving different user intentions, it is very important to optimize your user acquisition strategy accordingly. AppTweak’s ASO tool provides you with all the data and insights you need to find new keyword ranking opportunities, research competitors and monitor your app’s performance in the app stores.

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Alexandra De Clerck
by , CMO at AppTweak
Alexandra De Clerck is CMO at AppTweak. She is responsible for developing AppTweak's marketing strategy and brand recognition across the globe.