ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

SEO for the App Store, an Introduction

Updated on December 18, 2019
tamarawilhite profile image

Tamara Wilhite is a technical writer, an industrial engineer, a mother of two, and a published sci-fi and horror author.


The rise of the app has not eliminated the need for SEO. Instead, apps have made it necessary to apply SEO principles to your app. App store optimization or ASO can be described as SEO for the app store.

How should you apply SEO principles to your app and the app store pages where it is found? How can you improve the searchability and discoverability of your app in the app stores?

Good App Store Optimization or ASO helps your app stand out in a very crowded field.
Good App Store Optimization or ASO helps your app stand out in a very crowded field. | Source

Key Search Terms and Keyword Density

In some respects, application search optimization or ASO is similar to search engine optimization or SEO, and their greatest similarity occurs when you’re dealing with the use of key search terms and the keyword density on app pages, descriptions and titles.

When you put high ranking keywords in your app title and description, you’re competing with every other app that contains those terms. Search engines penalize your app page when you use too many high ranking terms. Don’t neglect long tail SEO so that you use key search terms that would lead people to your app that your rivals aren’t dominating. The first choice should be key search terms that have relevant intent to your app that your rivals aren’t dominating. Your brand name or product name should ideally be the first term in the title unless the app is already well known.

Using variations of the same term repeatedly also leads to penalties by search engines. Conversely, you should use your brand name or company name in at least the app description if not in its title to benefit from how search engines now prioritize brands over keyword density. When you have more than one app, such as one via Google Play and a different one on iTunes, reference the platform in the title or description to avoid visitors who quickly bounce off while looking for the right app version.

Titles and descriptions need to have natural language or else your content will be penalized by search engines that devalue machine spun content and incidentally clunky text due to keyword stuffing.

Bad ASO is almost as bad as hiding your app from your customers.
Bad ASO is almost as bad as hiding your app from your customers. | Source

Classification and Categorization

Tags were originally used to classify content, and they are specific to each piece of content. Categories are broader groupings for your posts. For example, a personal finance blog would have categories like frugal families, retirement and college while tags would include 401ks, 529 plans, babies, teens, parties and Christmas. The combination of categories and tags help content on saving for college for teens and saving money on babies rank well in related queries.

The category you assign your app to has a similar effect on SEO. Consider your app’s purpose and where people would naturally look for your app, and then pick that as the primary app category. A bad categorization will hurt you worse than poor SEO. For example, a personal finance app put in lifestyle won’t show up in searches unless they are searching for your app by name. If you aren’t sure which category to choose, look at the categories your rivals are located and put your app there.

Poor categorization will lead to bad ASO as people browsing that category visit your app page and quickly leave. If in doubt, ask your customer base or theoretical ideal customer where they would look for your app, then put it there.

Put images related to both the app's purpose and your brand on the app page.
Put images related to both the app's purpose and your brand on the app page. | Source

Images and Graphics

Icons are one of the first things people see when they go to the app page. Your graphics need to communicate how the application is used. Where possible, have the first images people see for your app includes your business logo or logo for your products. The best app icons have three or fewer colors and simple graphics that clearly communicate usage.

You should post high quality screen shots of the app in action so that it looks like it meets the user’s needs. You can use previews as well. Don’t create cluttered pages, since this is a turn off to would be users.

URLs for Apps

Include your business name or product name in the title of the app, and ideally in the webpage URL for the app store link to the app. And don’t change the title often, since this will hurt keyword rankings and confuse those who already had it bookmarked. Changing titles along with URLs also kills backlinks to the app’s installation page.

Another reason not to change the title unless absolutely necessary is that doing so can change the download stats, essentially resetting the counter for the app. Now you lose your ranking among the most popular downloads and other app stats.

The value of back linking to your app’s SEO is not to be underestimated. When you release an app, share it via social media outreach (SEO). Sharing the link to the app’s app store page gives it weight with search engines. Share the app title along with the mention of the company name or brand and a synopsis that doesn’t exactly copy the app description counts as references to the app and links it to your brand.

Put links to the app on your company home page. Consider putting links to the app’s installation page on any press releases you send out about the new app or its latest iteration. Don’t forget to mention the new version of your app when released for Android or iTunes and share the links to each one separately.

Appstore Webpage Design

Webpage design affects SEO, and the same is true for ASO. Google app indexing is a minimum, so that search engines can index your app content via deep links. You need to include keywords related to searcher intent and your brand or company name among the app page’s tags.

Feedback and Reviews

Local SEO is greatly impacted by user reviews of businesses, while product searches are significantly affected by customer reviews. In that same vein, the reviews your apps receive from customers have significant impact on your app’s rankings and even whether other people see it in search results. And app updates that correspond with good reviews improve your ASO even more.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)