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Top App Store Optimization Best Practices for 2023

In today's competitive app market, mobile marketers must improve their app's visibility to drive more downloads. 

With over 6 million mobile apps available, 70% of mobile users discover news apps through the search bar, with 65% downloading immediately after searching. 

So, how can you maximize your app to stand out among millions of others? App Store Optimization (ASO).


What is ASO and Why Do You Need It?

Your ASO strategy is crucial for getting your app to the top of the list.

ASO optimizes mobile apps for higher rankings in app store search results, making it easier for users to discover and download your app.

Let’s look at some ASO best practices to increase your discoverability in the Apple App Store and Google Play.


1. Invest in Keyword Research

Users enter keywords in the search bar when looking for specific apps, making them one of the most essential factors for your app’s visibility. 

The Apple App Store uses a specific keyword field, whereas Google Play focuses on keywords in the app description. Either way, you must research which keywords will give you the most exposure. So, what should you consider when optimizing your keywords? 

  • Competitors: Look at which keywords work best for your competitors and use them. Below is an example of competitor keyword research for Uber Eats. You can see other food delivery services like DoorDash and Grubhub also rank high for the key term “Uber Eats.” 
    (source: appfigures)
  • Audience: Know your potential users and which keywords/key terms they use to search apps similar to yours.
  • Reviews: Check your reviews to pull out keywords and phrases.
  • Testing: Keep testing keywords until you find what drives the most downloads.

Keywords can change by the week or day, so monitor them and adjust when needed.  


2. Optimize Your App Title

Your app title is one of the first things users will see, so it needs to be attention-grabbing and capture your app's unique benefits to stand apart from competitors.

Your title can be up to 30 characters long for the Apple App Store and Google Play and should include relevant keywords that communicate your app's main features.

The app, Invoice Simple, clearly states what they do, “Invoice Maker” with key benefits users are searching for, “Easy & Simple.”


(Source: Semrush)


3. Create a Compelling App Description 

Unlike Google Play, the Apple App Store doesn’t use the app description for its ASO ranking, but writing a compelling description is still necessary.

Once users find your app, they’ll look at the description to learn how it will benefit them. This is your chance to highlight your app’s unique features and selling points.

Be sure to include keywords as they will resonate with users as they skim the description.


4. Make an Impactful First Impression with Your App Icon

Your icon is the first visual impression users will have of your app and can be a major factor in attracting potential users.

The app icon will follow users through their browsing journey, so it needs to look appealing.

You can even A/B test on the Apple App Store and Google Play to see which icon generates more downloads.


5. Tell a Visual Story with Screenshots

Screenshots of your app are the “second most influential factor” when deciding between apps, so take your time here.

The first three portrait screenshots or one landscape screenshot will appear in the search results, giving users an immediate first glimpse of the in-app experience. 

Consider these questions to get your best screenshots:

  • Are your screenshots high-quality?
  • Do they display your app’s best features and benefits?
  • Will users have a good sense of how they’ll use your app?
  • Are there opportunities to A/B test with different designs and text?

ClickUp’s screenshots include headlines highlighting their main benefits with images demonstrating key features like messaging and tracking. 


(Source: Semrush)


6. Highlight Key Features with Video Previews

Videos aren’t mandatory for your app listing but are an excellent way to spotlight your app’s most exciting features, similar to a movie trailer. 

The Apple App Store and Google Play allow 30-second videos for mobile app and game previews. However, keep in mind most users will decide on an app within the first few seconds of watching a video. 

Here are some tips for creating your video:

  • The Apple App Store videos can only focus on the in-app experience
  • Google Play videos require a YouTube URL and encourage the in-app experience
  • Many users will watch with the audio off, so include text overlays


7. Encourage User Reviews and Ratings

Customers rely more on user reviews than a brand’s advertising to ensure a product does what it says. So user reviews and ratings can significantly impact your app’s downloads and ranking. 

How can you get more positive reviews and ratings?

Ask your users, but be strategic:

  • Ask new users for a review within 72 hours of downloading because 77% of users typically do not reopen apps after that time frame.
  • Prompt users for a review after a positive encounter. If you’re a mobile game, ask for a review once a user reaches a new level or high score.
  • Respond to the reviews in your app listing. Your engagement makes users feel heard and provides you feedback to enhance your app.


8. Consider Localization

If you want to make a global impact, you need to take the localization route. Localization is adapting your app to meet the needs of other languages and cultures. 

You can do this by translating text, changing the colors and images, and altering your app’s design and functionality to target users in different locales.

Here is an example of localization by VSCO. You can see the change in language and imagery to target a specific audience. 


(Source: App Radar)

Localization can take considerable work, but it’s a great strategy to add to your long-term ASO plan. 


What Is Your ASO Strategy?

There are many ways to get your app to the top of someone’s search results, so look around the app stores and analyze your app listing. 

What are your competitors doing?

Where can you sharpen your ASO?

Are you interested in optimizing your app? We can help! Contact CRAFTSMAN+ for a free consultation, to start your ASO strategy.