Over the last few decades, there has been a digital land grab for website domains, social media handles, and the limited space at the top of a search results page. Mobile app development is one of the booming industries.

In the last decade since the app store was first introduced, established businesses have competed with new businesses for an even smaller piece of screen real estate—mobile devices.

Today, search engine optimization (SEO) is a standard practice for businesses. Why then, as mobile devices proliferate, should app store optimization be any different?

Optimizing your app store presence is a key aspect of app marketing. It impacts your rankings in the app stores’ charts, how easily users can discover your app, and your app’s downloads.

What is App Store Optimization?

App store optimization, ASO if you are hungry for more acronym soup, is the practice of attracting users to download an application based on the title, keywords, ratings, and other ranking factors.

App discovery continues to rely heavily on app store search and featured app results, which makes it more important than ever to show up at the top for related keyword searches.

To maximize your ASO, you should pay attention to both the technical backend features and the user experience (UX) factors that determine how visitors browse and acquire new apps. These may be different for Google Play and the Apple App Store, though.

Here are 5 things you should know regarding ASO for Google Play vs. Apple’s App Store:

  1. Google Play now more closely resembles the Apple App Store: The focus of the redesign was to make apps easier to discover. In the end, Google Play appeared more like Apple’s App Store. The update to Google Play’s app product page lets app publishers show screenshots to visitors without requiring users to scroll down the page. The featured video now sits at the front of the screenshot section, but still doesn’t auto-play.
  2. Apple App Store doesn’t rank for app description text: App description text impacts your app store ranking on Google Play, but not on the Apple App Store. Apple relies on just the search engine optimization (SEO) strings in the app name, subtitle, and app ID field, plus all relevant keywords. Google Play looks at all those ASO ranking factors, but its crawlers also look at both the long and short app descriptions. Both Apple and Google Play allow a 4,000 character app description, but only Google seems to care for a long-form explanation. Google Play also allows the use of rich formatting, emotions, and special characters in the description. Apple does not.
  3. Google Play emphasizes user experience in rankings: Google began to pay closer attention to user engagement statistics. Once installed, Google Play tracks an app’s performance in terms of stability, engagement frequency, and the number of crashes. Apps with a superior user experience (UX) will rank higher than those that perform poorly. Google Play’s emphasis on UX encourages app developers to engage with and implement feedback from app reviews. According to a recent survey, most businesses (63%) read app reviews and actively implement the feedback.
  4. Apple App Store allows ratings reset with new version: App ratings are driven by user reviews. They’re also weighty ASO factors and essential to persuading visitors to download your app. App ratings in the App Store are the average of all user ratings given since the app’s release. Meanwhile, Google Play only counts the user ratings given to the most current version of your app. Companies that start with a strong app rating will benefit from Apple’s policy, whereas those with fewer ratings or a recently successful app release can rank higher on Google Play.

The App Store also gives you the option to reset your total app rating when you release a new version of the app. The reset is not mandatory, so app owners can choose to maintain their positive reviews and rankings. This option to reset benefits app publishers with unfavourable reviews because it lets them refresh their average rating and move toward an improved ranking in the App Store. Since a single negative or one-star review can only be offset by 10 positive reviews, releasing a new app version is appealing for many companies.

Why App Ratings and Reviews Matter?

App Ratings Affect People’s Decision to Download Apps

App ratings and reviews matter a lot when it comes to user acquisition. They play a massive role in a person’s decision to download an app. Research shows that mobile users won’t even consider downloading an app that’s rated lower than 3-stars. Moreover, 79% of people will read at least one review before they install an app.

App Ratings and Reviews Influence App Store Rank

You need not only positive ratings and reviews, but you also need a large number of them. Ratings and reviews influence another important user acquisition factor: the Google Play and App Store ranking algorithm. That’s right, your app rating and reviews largely affect your app store rank, be it iOS or Android. The question is, Why?

Well, imagine that you are Google or Apple. You want to curate the best products for your customers. By highlighting a low-rated product or an infrequently rated one, you’re telling your customers that you don’t care about the quality of the products in your store. The Google Play and Apple Store algorithms think in this way. Getting a steady flow of positive ratings and reviews needs to be a big part of your App Store Optimization strategy. You’ll rank higher, increase app store impressions, and convince more people to download your app.

More so, your app has a better chance of being featured in Google Play and App Store when it has good ratings and reviews.

Knowing the differences between App Store and Google Play Store, and the importance of reviews and ratings, one should know what kind of features should be put into apps that can hold the app in the market for the longest time possible.


The best way to not get negative reviews is to let unhappy users reach you directly. Whether they experienced an app crash, a minor bug or think your app is good but need a new feature you want them to tell you and not the whole world.

Within your app description and app website

  • Include some contact info at the end of your app description. It can be an email address, a twitter/fb account, etc.
  • Google Play and the iTunes Store lets you put a link towards your website on your app page so be sure to do it. If you don’t have one, consider creating your app website or landing page and make sure your contact info is easy to find and not hidden somewhere.
  • Add a Review Bar to your app website with a tool that invites visitors of your website to give you feedback. If feedback is positive they’re suggested to leave a review on the App Store. If feedback is negative or average they’re suggested to send you a message.

Now that users who have something to tell you or complain about can do it in several ways, you’re probably going to get several emails a day. Some of them will congratulate you…and some of them might bring on to your nerves.

You need to listen to what your users are saying and answer them as fast as possible, to thank them for writing to you, and letting them know you’re working (or will be working) on resolving the issues they have with your app. If possible, let them know when the problem should be corrected and keep them in the loop along the process.

  • Keep your responses concise and clearly address feedback.
  • Strive for a friendly tone that’s consistent with your brand voice.
  • Personalize your responses when possible rather than being generic.
  • If you can’t respond to every review, consider prioritizing those with the lowest star ratings or those mentioning technical issues with the current version of your app.
  • For negative reviews, acknowledge the reviewer’s feedback and let them know you’re working to address the issue.
  • Reply to older reviews that specify relevant technical improvements when you release an app update.
  • Reply to new and updated reviews following a major release of your app so that you can have a dialogue with users when they’re most interested in sharing feedback.
  • Keep responses respectful and informative.

And while you’re sending them an email, include your app website and social accounts in your signature, to socialise and market your organisation!

  1. Release Frequent App updates

Your app ratings should reflect the improvements each time you release updates. You know that the changes you’ve made and the problems you’ve fixed are working when your app ratings increase or improve after an update.

Carefully track your app ratings. If they were to get worse or decrease in number following an update, you need to react fast. Read through your newest reviews to see what users didn’t like about the latest update and work quickly to amend the issues. It’s never too late to rescue your app store ratings.

  1. Find new app keywords and rank higher in the app stores

Believe it or not, app user reviews are a goldmine for keyword ideas. The aim of keyword optimization in ASO is to use search terms that people are using to search for your app. An effective keyword strategy doesn’t rest purely on search volume and difficulty values; you also have to understand how your target audience behaves when they search in the app stores.

Your current users will use specific words and phrases to describe your app in the reviews. Examine reviews that come from users who are return users. These are people who say they come back to your app time and time again, they love your app, or they’ve recommended your app to their friends and family. Feedback along these lines signals that these users are entirely in your target audience. More importantly, it’s necessary for you to build these functions, they help you stand out in a sea of competitors and make sure your app doesn’t end up in the boneyard. PlusInfosys  is here to help you build a perfect blend in apps that can run in the market as long as possible.