App marketplace optimization strategies: How to improve your app’s search visibility, downloads, and user engagement

How to increase app downloads for startups using app store optimization

Users are always looking for new apps on stores like Google Play or the App Store. One of the most common ways to find these apps is through the search function. The higher your app is on the search results, the more people see it and the more downloads it gets because most people only look at the top-ranked apps. So how do you get your app to the top? The answer is simple — App Store Optimization (ASO). It’s super important for your app’s success, and without it, you could miss out on a lot of potential users. We help our clients with pp development services for startupsa and in this article, we explain how to increase app downloads for startups using ASO and share optimization tips.

What is app store optimization?

App store optimization is a strategic necessity for developers and publishers interested in developing a successful app. ASO is the process of refining an app’s objectives, targeting user appeal, and increasing visibility in the app stores to boost app downloads. This improves the app’s ranking and relevance in the most popular app stores, such as Apple’s App Store for iOS and Google’s Play Store for Android, and helps to increase app downloads for startups.

How does ASO work?

App store optimization works in a similar way to search engine optimization. To begin with, users browse app stores, using search terms to locate apps and games they are interested in. During this process, the App Store or Google Play may also suggest other apps that might appeal to the user based on factors such as their preferences and the popularity of the apps.

Increase app downloads for startups in the App Store and Google Play

ASO focuses on improving the app’s ranking in the app store search results and click-through rate (CTR). A high CTR is achieved by convincing people to click on your app store listing if they come across it. Typically, optimizing CTR involves focusing on your app’s name, title, icon, screenshots, and user ratings.

The main goal of ASO is to increase the number of downloads and loyal users. By optimizing your app for discovery in the app store search engine, its visibility increases, triggering more impressions. These impressions then convert into actual traffic and ultimately increase app downloads for startups.

Why optimize apps for the App Store?

In the third quarter of 2022, the Google Play Store outpaced all app stores by offering 3.55 million apps for Android users to select from. The Apple App Store was next with about 1.6 million apps for those using iOS. Even though Apple and Google often take off poor-quality apps, the total number of apps keeps growing year after year, meaning that getting and keeping high app rankings has become tough for startups.

Increase app downloads for startups and overcome competition in the stores

App downloads and active user base growth are key performance indicators (KPIs) for app marketers. This can be achieved in two primary ways: by running paid app campaigns or by optimizing your app for organic traffic. Both tactics are important, but mastering ASO is key for long-term success as paid advertising requires an initial investment and might not always be feasible for beginners.

With the help of ASO, your app can get found more easily by the relevant audience and stand out from competitors. Optimization can help to increase the number of people who download your app without you having to pay for ads, thus, saving you money and growing your user base at the same time. ASO can also boost your income by improving your app’s page so more people download your app. Finally, by making your app available in other languages with app localization, you can reach people all over the world. In short, ASO can help your app get found, downloaded, and used by more people.

ASO techniques play a significant role in the success of an app and help to increase app downloads for startups. Without it, you are risking losing thousands, if not millions, of potential downloads. Given its benefits, investing time and effort into regular app store optimization can dramatically improve the chances of organic app downloads.

App Store and Google Play ranking factors

Each platform has its unique algorithm variations, keyword searching protocols, search result displays, app page listings, audience behavior, and app update procedures. Let’s look at key ranking factors to increase app downloads for startups.

Increase app downloads for startups with ASO: App Store and Google Play ranking factors

App title

Keywords in your app’s name or title are indexed by both App Store and Google Play. These keywords often possess greater ranking strength compared to those used in other areas, such as app subtitles. In essence, incorporating relevant keywords in your app name can significantly boost your chances of achieving higher rankings. There’s room for 30 characters in the name for iOS apps, while Google Play allows up to 50 characters.

iOS subtitle and Android description fields

The Subtitle field was a feature ushered in by iOS 11. Apple lets you use only up to 30 characters for this field, so use it wisely because keywords incorporated here are indexed by the App Store’s search algorithm.

Google Play looks at your app’s description to find keywords, with the early lines being the most important. There are two types of descriptions: short and long. The short description is especially important because it appears in a prominent position on the Google Play Store. It helps with keyword rankings and attracts users, but you need to ensure that your app’s purpose is clear within the 80-character limit. The long description can be up to 4,000 characters and should include your target keywords 3–5 times. This one helps Google understand what your app does and which search terms to connect it with.

iOS keywords and Android SEO backlinks

Apple’s App Store features an exclusive element not present in Google Play — the keyword field. You have an allowance of 100 characters in this hidden field, invisible on your public app store listing. It provides an excellent opportunity to incorporate keywords that haven’t been used either in the App Name or the App Subtitle field.

Unlike the Apple App Store, Google Play checks not only your app description itself but also links from other websites that direct users to your app. These backlinks can help your app show up higher in search results in the store, but getting them can be hard. Usually, it requires active work with social media, guest blogging, and sponsoring events, among other ways.

In-app purchases

Optimizing the in-app purchases field is an integral part of app store optimization for both the App Store and Google Play, as it’s going to be indexed, too. These platforms enable users to see your in-app purchases directly on your app page, showcasing your app’s premium content and features to potential users. An attractive yet precise description of these purchases with relevant keywords can increase app downloads for startups.

Ratings and reviews

It seems quite obvious that higher ratings result in better rankings, and requesting reviews at the right time can encourage positive feedback. Google’s algorithm aligns better ratings with improved keyword rankings. However, Apple limits review requests to three times a year and allows resetting of the app’s ratings with new updates.

App ratings and reviews also directly impact your install conversion rates, which are crucial for ASO. Achieving a 4.4+ star rating is considered optimal. Promptly responding to reviews can improve your brand image and user satisfaction. Lastly, avoiding excessive off-store initiatives like email prompts for ratings is advised as it may negatively impact the app store standing.

Regular updates

Regular app updates attract better reviews and help apps rank better on both Google Play and App Store. Balancing the frequency of these updates is vital for ASO. New apps often receive an initial boost and are likely to rank higher for popular keywords. For existing apps, regular checks on keyword rankings and periodic updates are advisable. Google Play updates should be done every 6 to 8 weeks, while the App Store accommodates faster adaptation with updates being possible every 4 weeks.


To maintain a high standard of apps in their stores, both Apple and Google have put in place an app review process. While there is a similarity in the review process of both platforms, the duration it takes definitely varies. It would be wise to allow for at least a 3-day buffer for Apple’s review process. As for Google, the review can take up to 7 days or even longer in certain cases.


Your app’s spot in the app stores depends a lot on how many people download it. The faster your app gets new downloads, the higher it gets ranked. To increase app downloads, startups need to find out where most of their downloads are coming from. If most of your downloads come from people who clicked on your app from the app store rather than from search results, you should focus on improving keyword rankings, bettering average app rating, and refining text and visuals for optimization.

Usage metrics

Usage metrics in app stores demonstrate how users interact with your app once it’s downloaded. These metrics include factors like session length, user retention, and churn rates, daily and monthly active users, and user engagement in terms of in-app actions. High user engagement and frequent use of an app signal to the app stores that your app delivers value to users. Thus, strong usage metrics can significantly improve your ranking in app stores. That is why it’s important to continuously monitor these metrics and optimize your app’s user experience based on the insights.

App performance

If an app works well and is fast and easy to use, users will likely give it good reviews and ratings, which can help the app appear higher in app store rankings. But if the app is slow, crashes, or uses too much data, users may give it bad reviews and low ratings, which can make the app appear lower in rankings. That’s why it’s important to always check how your app is working and improve its performance if needed.


Apps that are low quality, fraudulent, or have a lot of bugs, risk being taken down from app stores. Consequently, Google and Apple have become more discerning about the apps they permit on their platforms. Regular maintenance and monitoring are key to a sustainable presence in the app stores. Another crucial tip to avoid the app from being removed from app stores is adhering to the specific guidelines provided by each platform.

How to use ASO effectively?

In addition to the above-mentioned points, to increase app downloads, startups should pay special attention to the following factors when planning their app store optimization strategies:

  1. Start early

    Start thinking about ASO even before launching your app. It is an integral part of the product development lifecycle, and embedding keywords into your app from the start gives you an edge.

  2. Balance the budget

    As a startup, you may have a limited budget. Balance it between paid advertising and organic growth strategies such as regular updates and improvements based on user feedback.

  3. Know your competitors

    Understand who your competitors are within the app market, how they position their app, what keywords they use, and what makes their apps successful.

  4. Use analytics

    Make sure to rigorously track and analyze key ASO metrics including keyword rankings, download conversion rates, user ratings and reviews, user engagement, and retention.

  5. Invest in marketing

    Add more creativity to your marketing efforts, such as leveraging social media platforms, content marketing, influencer marketing, or PR activities to create buzz around your app.

  6. Focus on user experience (UX)

    Apart from all the SEO and keyword tactics, ultimately your app’s success will depend on how user-friendly it is. Ensure an excellent UX to improve retention rates.

  7. Iterate and test

    Finally, remember that ASO is an ongoing effort. Regularly experiment with your app’s metadata and continuously monitor the results to improve your app’s position in search results.

At Ronas IT, we help to increase app downloads for startups. To begin with, we provide detailed business analytics for clients and help them build a development strategy to meet the budget and deadlines and make their business grow. When designing apps, we follow Apple Human Interface Guidelines for iOS and Google Material Design Guidelines for Android to guarantee that the product will look good on each platform. Our designers also focus on user experience and make the interfaces convenient and simple. We build high-quality apps and use QA testing to make sure that the product has as few bugs as possible. After the release, we maintain the apps and improve them when needed. We also help our clients to submit apps to the stores and get approval.

If you need any help with optimizing your app for the stores, you can contact us to get a free consultation. We will analyze your request and find a solution that fits your needs.

Wish to increase app downloads?

Useful ASO tools

Although it’s possible to manually review the rankings of your keywords in each app store, this process can be time-consuming and resource-intensive. A more efficient alternative is utilizing an ASO tool, which can systematically track your keywords, providing insights into the ranking history and progress.

ASO tools are an indispensable component of an app store optimization strategy that can increase app downloads for startups. These tools help to optimize your app store presence, enable you to conduct market research, manage your app efficiently, acquire paid users, and implement advanced ASO tactics.

App Radar

Increase app downloads for startups with App Radar, a popular ASO tool

App Radar is an ’all-in-one’ tool that combines ASO & paid-user acquisition while offering functions like market research and app management. It offers reliable permissions, clear communications, and secure data handling.

App Radar supports your app’s growth with features like direct listing updating and AI-driven keyword optimization. You can receive useful insights to improve your app’s roadmap and ROI and take full control of rankings, conversions, and keywords. Their starter pack costs $41/month, there’s also a 7-day trial.


Increase app downloads for startups using AppTweak, an app store optimization tool

AppTweak features advanced tools that help you formulate unique user strategies using social media insights and compare your app’s performance against competitors to identify potential markets. With the tool, startups can increase app downloads and visibility by monitoring competitor moves and harnessing key growth strategies. BI tools help to improve app performance with customer feedback, target growing markets, and create personalized performance dashboards.


Increase app downloads for startups with MobileAction, a tool for app store optimization

The tool is centered around competitor analysis and market intelligence data. MobileAction helps to gain quick insights using a simple search tool and access data on over 3 million keywords for better app visibility. You can explore reliable revenue forecasts, download rates for better decision making, and improve user acquisition strategies with access to multiple ad networks and creatives. This ASO tool lets you understand competitor strategies, drive conversions, and discover ways to boost engagement.


Increase app downloads for startups using AppFollow, a tool that optimizes app for the stores

This ASO tool primarily targets app store ratings, review management, and analysis. With AppFollow, you can plan your strategy by using the latest Android and iOS sources, and specific keywords. Track your app’s performance and key results directly from your account. Also, it helps to keep an eye on graphic changes, competitor ranks, app updates, and any changes in wording.

You can get early alerts about your app promotions in Google Play or App Store. You can receive these alerts via email and Slack and learn about any weak areas in your app to fix them with AppFollow’s help.

Sensor Tower

Use ASO tools like Sensor Tower to increase app downloads for startups

Sensor Tower provides ASO tools coupled with market intelligence data and ad platforms. With this tool, you can find good keywords for your search campaigns and see which ones perform well to find new opportunities. Use this data to make your app stand out and improve its description and screenshots. Sensor Tower’s App Profiles let you see your app’s performance data on both Google Play and App Store. You can also see recent downloads and user feedback.


ASOTools is a popular app store optimization tool to increase app downloads for startups

Another powerful tool in the toolkit, offers access to over 50 million keywords and over 6 million apps, giving you an unprecedented insight into the App Store and Google Play trends. Updated daily, ASOTools helps you stay on top of the game by providing valuable data for shaping your growth strategy, including information on downloads, revenue, search volumes, and user activity.

Selecting the right ASO tools can significantly enhance your app’s visibility and performance in the app marketplaces. The key is to thoroughly understand your needs, your budget, and the special features that each tool offers before making your choice.

Checklist for successful app store optimization

Here you can check our list of optimization steps that can help to increase app downloads for startups.

  1. Research your target audience: Understand who your potential users are, their challenges, what they value, and how your app can meet those needs.
  2. Research keywords: Identify the most relevant and highly searched keywords that relate to your app and the solutions it provides.
  3. Optimize app title: Ensure that your title is unique, descriptive, includes the main keyword, and highlights the purpose of your app.
  4. Optimize app subtitle for iOS: Use this section to enhance your app title’s message. Ensure it contains a secondary set of keywords.
  5. Optimize app description for Android: Write a powerful and engaging description, ensuring it explains the app’s functionality, benefits, and features. Make sure to naturally incorporate keywords in.
  6. Localize content: Make sure to localize the app’s metadata and visuals to fit different languages and cultures in your target regions.
  7. Optimize in-app purchases: Include attractive and clear descriptions of in-app purchases with relevant keywords to encourage user downloads.
  8. Encourage ratings and reviews: Foster users to rate and review your app. Positive reviews enhance your app’s ranking.
  9. Keep your app updated: Regularly update your app to ensure a bug-free experience, prompt user feedback, and keep your app compliant with the newest OS updates and requirements.
  10. Monitor downloads: Work on improving keyword rankings, average app rating, and refining visuals for optimization to attract a higher number of downloads.
  11. Ensure optimal app performance: Regularly check how your app is working and improve its performance if needed.
  12. Balance budget between organic and paid growth strategies: As a startup, use your limited budget wisely by dividing it between regular updates, user feedback improvements, and paid advertising.
  13. Provide excellent user experience: Regardless of SEO and keyword tactics, the app’s success will ultimately depend on its user-friendliness.
  14. Test and iterate: ASO is a continuous process, regularly experiment with your app’s metadata and monitor the results for improvements.
  15. Leverage useful ASO tools: These tools can save time and resources in monitoring keyword rankings and gaining insights into your app’s visibility and performance.
  • Research target audience
  • Research keywords
  • Optimize title, subtitle, and description
  • Localize content
  • Optimize in-app purchases
  • Encourage reviews
  • Update regularly
  • Monitor downloads
  • Take care of app performance
  • Balance budget
  • Focus on UX
  • Test and iterate
  • Use ASO tools

You can use our checklist to make sure your app is optimized for app stores, or you can contact us to get a thorough consultation. At Ronas IT, we know how to increase app downloads for startups and provide services to help entrepreneurs launch and grow their businesses. Click the button below to get in touch with us.

Summing up

To wrap up, app store optimization is a critical strategy to increase app downloads for startups. With so many products in the App Store and Google Play Store, ASO helps your app stand out. It makes your product more visible, gets more people to click on it, and increases downloads. You have to focus on things like your app’s name, what it’s about, how often it’s updated, and user reviews to succeed. It’s important to keep testing and improving your app. ASO tools can make this whole process easier and more effective. While succeeding in the app market isn’t quick or easy, but with a constant effort in ASO, your app can certainly achieve its goals.

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