How to do Google Play App Store Optimization (ASO) And Make Your Apps Rank Higher

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How to do Google Play App Store Optimization (ASO) And Make Your Apps Rank Higher

So if you don't have your own Google Play Store apps (free or paid) then you probably haven't heard of the term or abbreviation of ASO (App Store Optimization). But if you do then you may have come across the term at some point as you have been wondering how to get more downloads and installs for your app(s). In which case, you really should find out about the main ranking factors that make your apps popular on the store and on the Internet as a whole. Knowing how to get good rankings on the Google Play Store could be more important than knowing how to do SEO in Google as it could mean more downloads/installs and revenue for you.

What Is ASO and Why Should You Do It?

ASO = App Store Optimization. The process of making your apps rank higher on the Google Play store and on the Internet in a whole. ASO is very much like SEO (Search Engine Optimization) so if you've ever done any SEO at all and are fairly clued up on it, you'll have a much better chance of learning all about ASO and applying it to your apps! ASO is extremely important unless you have a viral app. In fact, it's estimated that up to 80% of your downloads will come from search users. Even though you may be advertising it elsewhere via other apps, sites or systems, the majority of your apps downloads and installs will come from search engines. That's why you need to do ASO!

What Are The Main ASO Ranking Factors?

Very similar to Google SEO, the actual ASO ranking factors aren't made known to the public for obvious reasons. And there is a lot of hear say and rumours out there on what really matters for getting good ASO rankings. But while some are hotly debated and repeated over and over, some of them are agreed upon by the majority of people of which we will discuss below!

ASO Ranking Factor #1: Keywords

Just like how keywords play a massive role in your on-page SEO of your website, they also play the same major role on your ASO ranking as well. There are some ASO experts that say that keywords don't have much weight on them as the other ranking factors like actual app reviews or amount of downloads. But we all know that in order to rank for a keyword, 9/10 you need to have that keyword on the page you want to rank for that keyword. Without it, there is nothing to rank for! So like you would do good keyword placement by placing them in the Title, the header area, the description etc of your webpage. You will want to make good use and placement of the main keywords you want to rank for in your Apps Title, headings and description area. Even if it's true that keywords don't play a major part in your ASO ranking, they are still vitally important for actual humans who use them to find what they're looking for.

ASO Ranking Factor #2: App Reviews and Ratings

Apps that have more reviews and ratings on them compared to apps that are the same that don't, will rank higher in the SERPs. This is because these reviews and ratings show how many people have downloaded and installed the app and that shows the app is more popular and a preferred app to those that don't have many or any reviews or ratings. So it would make good sense to get your app some reviews and ratings by real users of it so that the app will rank higher in the SERPs and on the App Store itself. But don't go thinking that you need to buy ratings and reviews for it because this can actually backfire on you and land you in hot water later on. Don't worry, they will come after you do the rest of this stuff!

ASO Ranking Factor #3: Encouraging App Downloads and Installs

Encouraging people to download and install your app as well as using a Call To Action on the apps description page that asks them to rate and review it are huge ranking factors because these show that your app has a lot of user engagement. And like YouTube videos (although views and likes aren't necessarily a ranking factor) the more you have the better! But to get more people downloading and installing your app(s) you need to actively promote them off-store. This can be done by using Social Media, forums, blogs and the like which can all drive traffic to your app and increase the amount of downloads and installs it has so that it ranks higher on the App Store.

ASO Ranking Factor #4: Going Local

Does your app target a specific country only? Is it for English speaking and reading users only? How about offering a localized version of your app as well for different countries? Translating your app so that it's available to different countries will mean it will get more downloads and installs but can also pay off quite well in the long run too. Most of the Google Play Store apps are available as an English version only but the competition for it could be very high. Making your app available in a different language means you can target those keywords in that language for it and generally, the competition would be much lower as well so it has a much better chance of getting much more downloads and installs.

ASO Ranking Factor #5: Quality Screenshots

Having high quality images and screenshots of your app might not necessarily be related to good ASO rankings. But they can play a large part in keeping your users happy. You don't want to use low quality images and screenshots otherwise this may put people off from downloading and installing your app. So for this reason, try to take the time to make very good high quality screenshots of your app that show the different screens of it such as the home screen, the actual play screen, high score screen etc. Let them see into the app before they install it and they will be much more likely to download and install it. And as already mentioned here, the more downloads/installs you have, the better it will rank on the App Store!

ASO Ranking Factor #6: Build Backlinks To Your App(s)

Remember, your app page is a webpage like any other. In order for that app page to rank higher in the Google SERPs (or any Search Engine), you'll need to SEO it by building links to it. But not any old link! You'll want to only build very high quality, authority links to it from respectable sites. The more related they are to that app the better! Example: If you have an app that is about dog training or is a game that's about dogs in some way, you could build links to it from sites that are about dogs too. If you have a really good app then it could end up being picked up naturally by news sites and bloggers who want to offer something valuable and of relevant interest to their readers. Otherwise if that doesn't happen, you'll need to build backlinks yourself!


Doing ASO isn't an impossibly hard task to do but doing it can really help your app(s) to rank higher. Both on the Google Play App Store and in the Google SERPs too. You may already even be doing some of these things on your app(s) already and if so good on you! But it's possible that you've not got round to it yet or didn't even know you could. However at least now you'll know what some of the ASO ranking factors are. And even if they don't make you a famous Google Play Store Appstar, they don't take a lot of time and energy to do and wont harm you in anyway either.

Over to you questions!

Do you have an app or apps on the Google Play App Store?

What other ASO ranking factors are there you know of?

What are some other good ways to promote Google Play App Store apps?


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I never knew you could increase your app ranking with your own Google App.. seems really cool. I wonder why they decided to program it like this.. This to me means that Google will use their algorithm on everything that needs to be ranked. They must have different algorithms for the different areas of their brand.

I would love to get my hands on the coding that involves the algorithms, so I can make everything rank as high as I possibly can get it. Then I won't even tell anyone what the secret is, and sell SEO related services at a hefty cost. LOL. Google you're very interesting, no doubt!

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App optimization is starting to get bigger and bigger every year. Now with so many people getting smart phones because they're more affordable, you see more and more apps popping up because the market is only getting bigger. Hell, my mom who is horrible with technology even has a smart phone now lol. I have to download all her apps, but she is now part of the masses of people who own them How to do Google Play App Store Optimization (ASO) And Make Your Apps Rank Higher

What a lot of people over look is how many downloads you need in order to jump in the rankings. It sounds kind of bad that you need XXXX downloads before you can begin to show higher in the app store search results, but it's true. Think of it as the search results in Googles search engines, you need to be seen as a popular and trusted website before you start to jump in the SERPs. To do this you do all your on page optimization and when that's done you start with your off page optimization. You build links strategically and are active on social platforms for your website. Doing app optimization is similar to this, the only thing extra is that you need to get some downloads How to do Google Play App Store Optimization (ASO) And Make Your Apps Rank Higher

Mike, I like how you mentioned to add quality screenshots. Not many people think of this because it's just an image, but they do help in the long run. A quality image will show people what your app is all about and encourage downloads by people who may be on the fence How to do Google Play App Store Optimization (ASO) And Make Your Apps Rank Higher

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That was very interesting Mike. I loved reading your post as I knew very little on the topic actually and you explained it very well. The ranking factors you mentioned make a lot of sense. Just as you place importance on keywords and backlinks in SEO, they are also important in ASO. With regards to the other factors you mentioned they will help in ranking, as well as to make the app more personalized I believe. I would prefer an app that has some local feel for instance, and user engagement matters a great deal.

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