The Basics of Google Play ASO

App stores don’t fully reveal their search algorithms and only by experimenting can you uncover the best strategy for your app. In this post, we’ll discuss the basic ASO rules for Google Play Store and how you can improve your app’s ranking with each new update.

What affects keyword rankings

Keyword ranking is the position of your app in search results for a particular keyword on Google Play Store. Ideally you would like to be in top 10 or even top 5 for the keywords you are targeting. There are several factors influencing the rankings. We’ll discuss how you can keep them under control.

Keywords in the title and description: the basic rule here is to add a keyword in the title and to mention your target keywords 5 times in the description. But this often leads to the description text being too spammy. For some keywords, for which not so many apps are competing, mentioning the keyword phrase 2 times is enough for ranking in top 10 for it.

If, on the other hand, even adding the keyword 5 times doesn’t help, try to add it to the title.

The bottom line is that keywords need to be relevant. Check the top apps for each keyword, and if your app doesn’t belong there, leave it out.

Downloads: when the downloads rise, so do the rankings. If your search rankings are not yet high enough to get a lot of organic downloads, consider advertising. If you don’t have an advertising budget, try pitching app review websites. Here you’ll find some great and cost-effective tips.

Category: think of it carefully before submitting the app for the first time. During the first 30 days after the submission, your app has a chance to get into Top New Free or Top New Paid lists, and you want to enjoy these rankings in the right category. If your app perfectly fits in 2 different categories, try to test them both during the 30-day time frame.

Tools to use

This is exactly the case when Google Adwords Keyword Planner would be of great help. Unlike iOS app store optimization where this service can only be used for keyword brainstorming, here the search volume data will be more relevant as the app pages are displayed in Google search results along with the web results.

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I would also recommend Mobileaction.co. It’s amazing and even a free account allows tracking a few hundred keywords and keyword phrases. With Mobile Action, the process is very straightforward. Input all the keywords and keyword phrases that you’ve brainstormed, and pick the ones with the highest search score. If you can’t include all of them in the description, give priority to those with the highest Play Chance.

When releasing an update, try to test one factor at a time. For example, when switching categories, leave the rest unchanged and then see how the ranking and the downloads numbers changed. Otherwise, your experiments won’t make any sense and you’ll have no idea what exactly caused the changes.

In fact, not so many app developers bother to optimize their descriptions, that is why a little effort and research will make your app stand out from dozens.

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