In this article, we'll discuss ASO's metadata and the differences when it comes to optimizing listings in the App Store and Google Play, for maximum visibility and download conversions in 2022. ASO starts (and ends) with lists, and it's very important that they are 10/10 optimized. But before that, let's start with the basics as below.
What are on-metadata optimization and off-metadata optimization in ASO?
Anything that is under the full control of the app publisher is in the metadata group. These elements can be altered to improve keyword rankings and increase visibility and conversions on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
Metadata factors that can be changed via App Store Connect or Google Play Console are as follows: app title and subtitle, short and long description, keyword field and promotional text (app store only), app icon, category, URL/package, video preview, and screenshots.
Uncontrollable things about your app belong to the group of off-metadata factors. These factors are usually the result of your optimization efforts and are not directly affected.
Off-metadata factors include ratings and reviews, number and speed of installs, speed of downloads, app size, bugs, etc.
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ASO on-metadata optimization: iOS app store vs. google play store
The ASO ranking factor is the text and visuals of a mobile app or game's store listing that can be modified directly on the App Store Connect or on Google Play Console. You can find them below:
App title / app name
In the Google Play example, the title field currently has 50 characters, and the most important ASO metadata field, we should include the item's most relevant keywords and the keywords we want to rank for the highest. Also, the title needs to be descriptive and catchy. Soon, Google Play plans to update its guidelines and the field will be limited to 30 characters.App Store:
In the case of the App Store, the App Name field contains 30 characters, for Google Play you need to add the most relevant keywords in this field, along with the keywords you want your app to rank for.
Short description / Subtitle
Google Play is 80 characters long and should include the main keywords of the project (you can even repeat some keywords in the title to give them more relevance) and a brief description of the main function of the application. This post will see the user for the first time in the list, so it will directly influence the user's decision to install the app.App Store:
In the app store, the subtitle field contains 30 characters and should include the main keyword of the item and a brief description of the main function of the app. This field appears right below the application name, which means they should be complementary, and they should not repeat the same keyword.What we can do for your app growth?
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There is no such field on Google Play, but there is a similar function for short descriptions.App Store:
The Promotional Text field contains 170 usable characters. It is the only field in the App Store that can be updated without releasing a new version of the product. Apple recommends using this field to "share the latest news about the app, such as limited sales or new features."
The description field on Google Play contains space for 4.000. When ranking your mobile app or game, this description must be used correctly to fully utilize its potential. You need to be careful about "over-optimization": abusive keywords in the description can be the reason for Google Play rejection, or in the worst case, app suspension.App Store:
In Apple's case, this description was not taken into account in the search results. However, the field needs to be used as a marketing tool to sell the app and its main features, benefits, etc.
There is no keyword field on Google Play. Google keeps track of titles, short and long descriptions (as well as developer names and other fields) to know which are keywords or themes/topics for an app or game.App Store:
In the app store, there are 100 characters that can contain keywords for the app. We remind you that you should not repeat keywords that are already in the app name or subtitle fields, and only separate keywords with commas without any spaces (like "Keyword 1, Keyword 2, Keyword 3", etc.). Apple's guidelines make it clear that using a competitor's branded keywords can be a reason for dismissal, even though it's a common practice in the industry.
App store category
Google divides apps into two categories: "Apps" and "Games," which are also different categories. You have to make sure you choose the right option.App Store:
Apple allows the inclusion of a primary category and a secondary category in case an app fits into both categories, but the primary category always needs to be considered the most important one.
On Google Play, you can choose up to 5 tags, which will help Google better understand what an app or game is. This selection is done on the list of existing tags, which means you cannot invent tags.App Store:
Tags do not exist on the App Store yet.
Icons need to clearly and creatively define the main function of the app. We recommend that you use the same icon across all app stores to reinforce your branding. Additionally, the icon on the Google PlayStore has a direct impact on organic traffic, as it affects CTR, search rankings, and browsing visibility.
You can add up to 8 screenshots.App Store:
You can add up to 10 screenshots.
In both App Store & Google Play store, screenshots directly affect CTR and CVR (conversion rate to download), especially the first one shown.
Design screenshots that will help you generate the download.
Google Play offers the possibility to publish videos on YouTube in the application list. This video can be descriptive or promotional.App Store:
In the case of AppStore, you can upload a maximum of 3 videos, even if they only show app content and are 100% functional. Promotional videos are not allowed.
On Google Play, you can edit and customize the developer's name that appears publicly on the list. There is a 50-character limit and we recommend that you use keywords to improve their rankings.App Store:
In the App Store, the developer's name cannot be edited, but we still recommend adding some keywords there. To do this, your company's name (or your name as a natural person) will need to contain keywords...but that's not very common.
Package Name / Bundle ID
On Google Play, you can edit the App ID (URL) before launching the app, the keywords in it will be indexed by Google and will help us rank with ASO keywords. Important: This field cannot be updated once the application is launched.App Store:
App IDs cannot be edited and have no effect on keyword rankings.
How to optimize Apps for App Store & Google Play Store?
The App Store and Google Play Store have many similarities. They both use complex algorithms and do similar things with the search results displayed to visitors. However, each store has its own system and evaluates some parts of the metadata differently. Understanding their feature, we can easily optimize Apps on App Store & Google Play Store.
Use brand name: key features as keyword
When choosing app names for both stores, the technique of "Brand Name: Key Features as Keyword" is recommended. The keywords extracted from the application name will be used for keyword indexing. Combinations of keywords are also indexed when visitors are browsing.
Unlike Google Play Store, App Store apps also have subtitles. The app store app name and subtitle together correspond to the Google Play Store app name. It’s important to note that keywords that appear after the brand name (or app store subtitles) must have a reasonable sentence for both stores. During the review process, adding functional keywords only after the brand name may result in the application being rejected.
App description: a key role in the ranking algorithm
The app description plays a key role in the ranking algorithm. It provides visitors with information about the app and its features. Both stores have a 4000-character limit for app descriptions, and there are some differences between them.
The first difference is that the app store does not index keywords from app descriptions. This is the main reason why app descriptions in the App Store are usually shorter than those in the Google PlayStore. Also, as mentioned earlier, keyword repetition under the app description is also crucial for the Google Play Store. The emoji in the description are also indexed in the Google Play Store.
The second difference is that the AppStore provides a "rote promotion text" field, and the Google PlayStore provides a similar "short description" field. There is a 170-character limit for "promotional text" in the app store, and likewise, no keywords are indexed. Its only use is to get a brief overview of what the app does without reading the full description. On the other hand, the Google Play Store "Short Description" has a limit of 80 characters, and the keywords are indexed again.
Choose the most attractive screenshots as the first 3 screenshots
Screenshots of your app also have a profound effect on conversion rates. Both 2 stores have a 10 screenshot limit, but you can only see it by clicking on the app details. Depending on the store and device, you may only see up to 3 screenshots in the main search list. Therefore, the top 3 screenshots should be selected from the most attractive ones. Also, the filenames of screenshots in the Google Play Store help with keyword indexing.
A common way to prepare a screenshot is to take an in-app screenshot of the most privileged screen and add a short description to the top/bottom of the screenshot by design. How the app is presented in the store is entirely up to the designer, which is why there is no clear way.
Provide a successful app preview
The app preview is a video preview of the app that precedes the first screenshot. It is an optional metadata element that applies to both stores. It can be up to 30 seconds long and plays on silent automatically while browsing, so it must be fairly noticeable at first glance.
The key to a successful app preview is to show the real experience of the app, i.e. what visitors can expect and want to know about. The first 5 seconds should be attractive as visitors typically spend 3 to 5 seconds watching the app preview.