11 Tips to Boost Your App Store/Play Store Rankings.

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11 Tips to Boost Your App Store/Play Store Rankings.

11 Tips to Boost Your App Store/Play Store Rankings.


From YMG – The Award-Winning Digital Marketing Agency in Chelmsford, Essex.


So you’ve built an amazing app. Your website has a brilliant SEO strategy, and you’re waiting for downloads to tick in. But have you considered app store optimisation?

App store optimisation is a little easier to do than SEO. However, with over 2 million apps in the Apple App Store alone, you have a lot of competition on your hands.  So it’s vital you do it properly.

Figures via Life WireApp in the app store incresed from 800 to over two million.

About App Store Optimisation.

The Apple App Store launched in July 2008. Android started their version a few months later. The first recorded use of the phrase is on the 4th November 2009. Johannes Borchardt used the term “app store optimisation”, and it’s acronym ASO in a presentation.
Since then, the popularity of apps has exploded. The algorithms inside the stores have become more complicated to sort through the hordes of apps released every day. Where there are algorithms, there is optimisation.

We know the following affects App Rank across all stores:

  • Titles.
  • Keywords.
  • Reviews.
  • Downloads.

There are a few factors that will indirectly affect App Store ranking:

  • Updates, Bugs and App Quality.
  • Clear Information on App Page.
  • Delivering What You Promise.
  • Ease of Use.
  • External Advertising Campaigns.
  • Compelling Icons.
  • Screenshot Quality.

Why do these effect app ranking? The top four factors will directly affect your reviews. The bottom two will drive click-through rates. If your app is terrible, you’re going to get bad reviews. Advertising campaigns outside of the app stores will increase downloads. If your app works, you’re more likely to get positive feedback.


Tips for App Store Optimisation.

So what can you do to improve your App store optimisation. Lets improve the important points above:


1. Titles.

Make sure the name of your app has your target keyword in it. Unless you’re a huge brand, not many people will be typing your brand name. Use keywords that your target audience will search.

The best layout for your name is App name: Keywords. Examples:


2. Keywords.

Descriptions, metadata and any other text fields need to contain your main keywords. Make sure you know what your audience will be using. Keyword research is your friend. Write your text so it naturally contains all these keywords. Be mindful of keyword density. Remember that humans read your copy, so write for the search engine and users simultaneously.


3. Reviews.

Reviews affect both ranking and the user’s decision to download the app. Asking for reviews within the app itself will help to raise review count. Be smart with your wording. Be encouraging, not annoying.

If you have an active social media community, ask them to review the app. If you’ve turned your social media followers into brand evangelists, then you can quickly gain vital reviews.

Thank users for positive comments and encourage conversation. Ask what they find helpful or who’s their favourite character in your app. Make a note of the answers to help you understand your audience better. Engagement is one step towards brand evangelism.

Getting bad reviews? Promise to fix bugs and deliver on it. Consider adding a report bug function that’s easy to find. This will become the first port of call for complaints, rather than your review section. It might help stem the flow of negative reviews.



Apps with more downloads get much higher rankings. You’re going to need to get the word out about your app to encourage downloads.
Use a well-structured launch campaign that builds anticipation. This will generate a massive bulk of downloads that will boost your ratings at the beginning.
Encouraging referrals within the app will help spread the word. You could offer a reward in return for getting their friends to download the app. A marketing campaign to keep the download rate sustainable is strongly advised. But we’ll touch on that in a minute.


5. Updates, Bugs and App Quality.

Some app owners noticed that when their app crashes a lot, their ranking decreases. Update your app frequently, keep bugs at bay and ensure your app is easy to use. A well-built, stable app will ensure your app doesn’t crash.

User experience is vital to apps. A user is more likely to recommend an app they enjoyed using over one that caused frustration.


6. Clear Information on the App Page.

People need to know what your app does. They won’t download it if it doesn’t satisfy the problem they are trying to fill. Make sure your app description explains precisely why a user needs your app and how it fulfils a need. If it hits their need, they will hit download.

Think about your ‘how might we’ statement when you’re writing your descriptions. How does your app solve the problem the user is having? Answer it clearly and carefully. Don’t over-promise, but don’t undersell.


7. Delivering What You Promise.

The worst thing is when you wait for an app to download and it doesn’t do what you want it to do. As we said, don’t over-promise. Deliver what you say you will, and keep your users happy. They are your customers, even if they haven’t paid for anything. You need to treat them with respect. If a friend constantly fails to deliver on promises would you be happy with them?

If you say your app has “hundreds of new filters to play with”, it needs to have hundreds of new filters. Also, if your app is free and 95% of those promised filters are behind a paywall, you’ll find many people uninstalling and complaining. You need to be honest and tactful. Consider offering a free trial for all new accounts that delivers on the promise for a week before restricting access.


8. Ease of Use.

Snapchat’s redesign is the perfect example of how hard-to-use apps can lose users. Make sure your app is intuitive to use, and that your user reaches their goal. If a user struggles with your app, they will uninstall quickly. If the interface is frustrating, then the user will leave a bad review. Ease of use is a great way to maintain users and inspire word-of-mouth promotion.


9. External Advertising Campaigns.

Adverts for apps are everywhere. There’s a reason for that. Games and apps with paid subscriptions tend to have long lifetime value. They can afford a high cost per acquisition (CPA). By promoting your app through other sources, you can maintain and improve your download rate.

You may want to promote your app through social media, PPC, or lead generation. You might also want to use video advertising spots in other apps. We also recommend using content marketing to create value for those who use your apps. By having a full digital marketing campaign, you can reach as many people in your target audience as possible.


10. Compelling Icons.

You need to make your icons as eye-catching as possible. Icons are the first thing that draws a user’s eye. They need to be branded but attention-grabbing. Bright colours, logos and characters work well. You’ll be surprised at what you can fit in such a tiny box.

Attractive icons are essential as they drive click-through traffic. An icon that looks attractive to your audience will drive click-through-rates from search results.


11. Screenshot Quality.

The screenshot section needs to be clear, interesting and useful. Use all slots available to you. Add text where necessary to explain what’s in the picture. Pull out features that are unique or solve a problem for your users.

Bad quality or boring screenshots may stop users from downloading. Take a look at what your competitors are doing and see which features they highlight. Think about how you can do it better than they can.

ASO is an indispensable part of your digital marketing strategy. Optimising for search could make or break your app. If you need to take the stress away from optimising your app, contact us to discuss a package that can work for you.


YMG are an award-winning and full-service digital marketing agency based in Chelmsford, Essex, and home of the Jargon Buster series, helping business owners to understand the technical terms of digital marketing.

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