Guide to App Store Optimization (ASO)


Creating an app is one thing, but how can you increase its visibility to users as they search for particular products, services, or tools in app stores? App Store Optimization (ASO) is the process of enhancing a mobile app with the intent to improve searchability, ranking, and ease of use within a specific app store. With over 2.8 million apps, it’s never been more important to ensure ASO efforts meet specific guidelines and recommendations for both Android and iOS.

While the guidelines for each platform differ, the elements of proper optimization are consistent. Follow along as Sage Digi discusses basic ASO guidelines, best practices, and pointers!

Elements of ASO

So, what exactly goes into app store optimization? How do I know which parts of an app can be optimized – by me? Whether you’re building an app from scratch, giving it a facelift, or are planning a relaunch, ASO encompasses a number of key features for both Google Play and App Store. Guidelines for each platform differ, but the elements for optimization remain consistent across the two.

Let’s break each element down:

App Title

  • The app title should not exceed 30 characters on Google Play, and ideally 23 characters on the App Store.
  • The title should not be truncated and is properly displaying on Google Play at the App Store. Hold on – what does truncated mean? Basically, you want to avoid your title being too long and trailing off with “…” at the end.
  • The title includes the primary keyword, and of course, the name of the app itself.

App Description

Your app’s description is a brief, yet enticing, summary of your app, what it does, and what it offers. Your app’s description is a brief, yet enticing, summary of your app, what it does, and what it offers.

  • It should not exceed 80 characters on Android and 5 lines on iOS.
  • In both app stores, the description length is limited to 4,000 characters.
  • The description is concise, easy to follow, and includes the unique benefits the app offers.
  • Be sure you incorporate keywords when appropriate, but re-read your description to make sure it doesn’t sound spammy, sales-y, or over optimized.

Include Keywords

Oh keywords – we can never escape them! Nor should we forget about them when we’re working to rank for pretty much anything. Check out similar apps to yours and identify which keywords they’re going after. What are the main features of your app or game? What are the synonyms describing the features? Which terms do people commonly use in this category?

App Category

You can assign two categories to your app — a primary and a secondary category. You can assign two categories to your app — a primary and a secondary category.

  • The primary category is particularly important for your app’s discoverability within the App Store. It should reflect your app’s purpose and match natural search intent.
  • Secondary categories are totally optional and simply further support your app’s theme, purpose, offering, and functionality.

Unsure which category your app falls into?

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Include App Icons and Screenshots

It’s no secret that we, as human users, are big on visuals. App stores give developers the option to add custom icons and screenshots of their mobile app, and you should definitely take advantage of this.

Adding an icon is a great way to create a familiar connection between a brand or product to your app. As far as screenshots, these allow users to get a preview of what your app actually looks like when being used. Think of these screenshots as visual pitches that should excite users to download the app.

A Helpful Tip: The majority of people will look at your screenshots before making the decision to skip over this!

Are you in the middle of a mobile app refresh? Still have questions about the specifics of app store optimization? We’re here to help you bring your brand to the next level.

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