ASO Checklist

What is ASO?

ASO stands for App Store Optimization. It helps your app be more visible in the Apple App Store & Google Play Store depending where you have an app presence or plan to launch.

There are many simple ASO tips I wish I figured out sooner so here is a list I’ve compiled for you to reference whenever you need to.

Made by René DeAnda - Contact Me to Work Together

Who are your users?

You can be your first user to get started but don’t get hung up on how you think of and perceive your mobile app.

Eventually you need to think beyond yourself.

Write down who you think your user is early on & adapt along the way by experimenting with the things discussed in this checklist.

App Name - Both

Choose a unique name you can potentially rank first for.

Make it easy to spell & pronounce so you don't miss out on word of mouth and any traffic from misspelling the name.

Let go of any crazy app names you come up with & think simpler & shorter. Think searchable names.

The app name is ranked heavy in the ASO algorithms. Describe your app with additional searchable keywords preferably at the beginning of the app name.

Example if you create a flight tracker app: "Flight Tracker by {COMPANY}" Or "{APPNAME}: flight tracker, travel guide"

Google tip: You can add emojis to your app title. They help to catch attention. But be aware that if you plan to run Google UAC (Universal App Campaign) ads you may get flagged by Google for unknown characters (the emojis) and your ad may stop showing. Google Support Article

Apple Character Limit: 30

Google Character Limit: 50

App Subtitle - Apple

The subtitle for iOS is under the app name on the search results & on the app page.

It should summarize what your app is about.

Since Apple limits the main app name, you can put your important keywords from your Google app name here.

Include strong keywords in the subtitle to improve your visibility.

Apple Character Limit: 30

App Short Description - Google

The short description for Google only shows on the app page, not in search results.

It has prime real estate above your app's screenshots & is one of the first things seen.

Include important keywords here but be aware it is very visible to a visitor to your app page.

Google Character Limit: 80

Keywords Field - Apple

Keywords in your app title & subtitle have more weight, so use this field for additional supporting keywords.

Don’t repeat words - only need one mention of word either in title, subtitle or keywords.

Use single keywords rather than combinations.

Remove all spaces, no phrases, just singular keywords separated by a comma.

Look for keywords that have a high search volume, but low competition.

Take advantage of other localizations if target audience has a different primary language. May need to find a translator or use translation service.

Apple Character Limit: 100

App Description - Both

Utilize the short description before “more” link to catch user attention in case they don’t open full description.

Make easy to read, use bullet lists.

Localize your listing based on usage, where downloads/reviews are coming from.

Character Limit: 4000

App Description - Google

On the Play Store you can use rich formatting (HTML) and emojis.

Helps with headings & highlighting important words/phrases to catch a user’s attention

Try to include the most important keywords in the first 5 sentences.

For indexing in Google Play, best practice is to use a target keyword 4-5 times in the description.

App Icon

Design can seem daunting. Think simple & colorful. Look at other app's icons for inspiration.

Try to explain what the app is about with the logo.

It's recommended to use images & not text, but that's what experimenting is for.

Make the design consistent with your app and website. But easy enough that you can tweak & test.

Seek feedback from current users or target users if you have yet to launch. Read reviews.

The best way to really find out which icon works best is by using the Google Play Store A/B testing tools. Then you can adapt your Apple App Store listing as well with the best performing icon.

I recommend using Sketch App for Mac if you don't have access to a designer. Sketch app is cost effective & there are numerous great tutorials online to help create simple clean logos & graphics for your store listing.

Screenshots

Use color to make your screenshots exciting. Put screenshots on a colored background.

Screenshots are largest visuals on your app store page.

Show off your app's UI and the features the app provides explained with caption text.

Include screenshots for each device type.

I get my device designs from here: Facebook Design.

As mentioned above, I use Sketch for making my screenshots. I use the device outlines from above & emulator screenshots to make my store graphics.

Analyze competitor apps & look at apps outside your category for inspiration.

You can localize your screenshots with translated captions for each targeted language.

Apple - screenshots show in store search results so they are very important for app page visits. 3 screenshots show in search if using portrait screenshots & if using landscape screenshots only the 1st screenshot will show in the search results.

Google - use Pixel 3 or Pixel 4 (when released) for your Android screenshots.

Apple - up to 10 screenshots per device size (5.5" iPhone, 6.5" iPhone, 12.9" iPhone)

Google - up to 8 screenshots per device type (phone, tablet, tv, watch)

Feature Graphic - Google

I don’t believe this shows for most apps anymore at the top of their listing. Instead the feature graphic is most important when you have a promo video to showcase. It will show first as your video thumbnail so it is one of the first things a potential user will see in the screenshot carousel.

A/B test your feature graphic & update when you reach important milestones to share with potential installers.

Video Preview

Present your most interesting features early on in your videos to catch a potential user's attention.

Google - allows you to include a link to one YouTube video. It will show before your screenshots in the app page.

Google - there is only one version for all localizations so keep content clear and universal.

Google - offers a lot of flexibility but keep videos short (30 sec to 2 min).

Apple - allows 3 app previews (short video clips up to 30 sec long) for each localization you plan to support.

Apple - app previews are more influential because they show in search results like app screenshots.

Apple - just like your screenshots if you add landscape videos only the first video will show alone in the search results.

Ratings & Reviews

The biggest advice to get more ratings & reviews is to actually ask users in the app for them.

Few users will go out of their way to rate your app, but will if prompted to.

Good tip is to ask if they like the app first with an initial popup. Then show the rating popup.

Otherwise, you can provide a way for them to give feedback. I personally still use a link to a Google Form.

With enough feedback, you will see trends to help uncover quick user experience improvements and plan for new features people want.

For developers - there are a few different rating libraries that exist but once you uncover what they do you can write your own and have better control over the code to tweak it as needed.

Reply to negative feedback immediately with a fix (if possible) and direct them to email you directly with additional input if less than a 4 star review.

Even if people never email you or respond to your review, prospective users visiting your page can see your replies. It shows you are active and helpful if they have any issues.

One thing I notice a lot reading reviews for other apps are tons of the same automated messages with support links that are ridiculously long. Even if you use automated ticketed tools, try to make the messages more personal and friendly with links & support email addresses a person can easily remember.

Website / SEO

Buy a domain for your company/app if it is more than a hobby. Otherwise, save some money on the domain.

Google - A landing page with matching keywords can improve your app's visibility.

Google - As with SEO, backlinks to your landing page help with your app's visibility and ranking for keywords.

Use smart banners at the top of your landing page to drive installs (for mobile discovery of your page).

Misc Tips

Update your app regularly to add new features and increase your chances of being featured.

Apple - you can only update your app name & listing every time you release an update.

Apple Promotional Text Field

> The keywords used in the promotional text will not rank your app in the search results.

> Appears above the long description in the app page.

> Good for highlighting promos, new features, and other new content.

> Apple Character Limit: 170

"What's New" Field

> Keywords in this section won't help ranking.

> Use the field for new features and updates.

> Try to tell a story about new features and improvements.

> Ask for feedback and reviews.

Optimize your Developer/Seller Name

> More visible in Google Play as it shows in search results.

> Keywords in the developer/seller name do rank, providing an opportunity to increase your app’s visibility on your main keywords.

> Optimize your package name before launching a new app too, especially for Android. I believe keywords in your APK package name help your ranking.

App Reliability

> Use Firebase Crashlytics to track crashes & fix bugs in a timely minor for high impact issues.

> Google for sure tracks app stability, consistent poor performance will result in lower rankings.

Retention Tips

> Retention is very important for your ASO and would require much more detail but here are a few simple tips.

> Add a push notification feature - either local reminders or remote cloud notifications to remind a user to use the app.

> Provide a welcome / onboarding flow in your app to explain the app to people and help them complete a task in the app.

> Continue to listen to user feedback and tweak the app to retain current users and improve the experience for future users.

The Bottom Line

The most important thing you can do is actually do it.

It's a continual process. Keep learning & experimenting.

Be patient to see results.

Made by René DeAnda with GatsbyJS

I am currently looking for remote fulltime or freelance work.

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Thanks for reading!