App Store Optimization ASO 101

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In this post I will try to give you a brief low down on what App Store Optimization is all about. As the title describes it, its a App Store Optimization ASO 101

So, what the heck is App Store Optimization & why should you care about it. Well for starters ASO gives your App an edge on the App store, which means more people checking out your app. Which in turn means more downloads. More downloads – App companies & developers love this word

The way the app store’s (Apple) algorithm works today is that it takes into account a couple of parameters in order to rank your app on the store.  These parameters are Number of downloads, Keywords (in 100 characters keywords field), Name of App / Title, Ratings & Updates. Let’s talk about each of these parameters individually

Name of App / App Title:


What’s in a Name? Apparently Lots! Words in the app name act as Keywords. This is the very first thing you should know.  The second awesome piece of information you should know – keywords in the App title are weighted more than Keywords in the 100 characters keyword field.

You might ask what the heck do you mean by weighted more? It means If you place the  same keyword in the Keywords field and search for your app then your app will rank lower as opposed to the keyword being in the title of your app name.

For example, the app in the screenshot above AnyList has Listed “Grocery Shopping List & Recipes” in its app name. So this app will rank higher for keywords – Grocery Shopping List, Grocery List, Grocery Shopping, Recipes i.e., in comparison to these same keywords being listed in its 100 chars keyword list.

Number of App Downloads:  

App Store Optimization - Effect of more downloads on rankings

Number of App downloads per day is what counts as far as the Apple store is concerned.  The more the downloads per day the higher your app’s ranking is. More downloads per day is a very relative term – meaning your app with a 400 download per day can be in the Top 200 Free apps education category, however in the games category I seriously doubt if you can make it with those download numbers.

Number of Downloads per Day is also known as Velocity of downloads in everyday App Store speak. Below is a general outline relating to Velocity of downloads:

Paid App – Needs fewer downloads than Free apps to be in top 200 of respective category

Free App – Needs way more downloads than paid apps to be in top 200 of respective category

Category – The more competitive the category, the more downloads you need to rank in top 200


Ratings :


App Store Optimization – App Ratings

5 star Rating for your app works in two ways, (well 5 star is a bit if a exaggeration lets say 4 star & above) -

1)      Download Confidence – It gives the user who is browsing the app store confidence to download your App. Given a choice between a low or non rated App & your highly rated app its a no brainer that people will choose the better rated app

2)      Higher App Ranking – The Appstore takes into account the number & quality  of ratings while ranking your app. So  apps with bad ratings get pushed down the charts & apps with higher ratings move up the charts

I am pretty sure you would have hit the download button for the App in the Screenshot above. The ratings tell you the following:

  • 5 Star ratings – The app has 80% of its overall ratings as 5 Stars
  • 4 Star Ratings – Constitutes 12% of the ratings

If you add the 2 percentage figures about its a staggering 92% of people who love this app. So the developer is doing something right! People love highly rated Apps meaning More Downloads!!



App Store Optimization & App Updates

The AppStore likes apps which keep updating & improving themselves. The whole idea behind this philosophy is to give the users the best possible experience & to keep improving this experience.

So, the app store gives you a download boost as a incentive for your long hours updating your app. Every time you update your app you will notice a spike in app downloads. This spike lasts anywhere from one to three weeks (maybe shorter).

The whole idea of giving your app a spike is so that more users get a chance to try out your app. If people start liking your app & spreading the word then more downloads follow naturally. It’s like getting a second chance, if you screwed up your last update.

Oh, one more thing – your reviews, they get reset i.e., you have clean slate to start with (of course users can see your All Time Reviews). This is a advantage as your new suped-up Interface might get you raving reviews

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