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Stands for "App Store Optimization." ASO is the process of optimizing the listing of an app in an online app store, such as Apple's App Store, the Microsoft Store, or Google Play. It is similar to search engine optimization (SEO) but is targeted towards apps rather than websites.

The goal of ASO is to improve an app's visibility within an app store. One of the top ways an app can gain prominence is to rank highly in the search results for specific keywords. For example, the developer of a racing game might aim to have the app appear in the top results for searches like "racing," "cars," and "racing game." The developer of a photo editing app might want the app to rank highly for searches such as "photos," "photo editor," and "image adjustment."

While ASO might seem straightforward, there are often hundreds or even thousands of apps competing for the same top rankings. Additionally, each app store uses a different alogorithm, similar to a web search engines). The algorithms are frequently updated, which makes ASO an ongoing process.

Basic app store optimization strategies include:

  1. Choosing a descriptive app name or title
  2. Publishing an accurate and helpful app description in the app store
  3. Selecting appropriate keywords for the app store listing
  4. Providing useful and attractive screenshots

Advanced ASO strategies that may require more time to implement include:

  1. Building a large user base, increasing the popularity of the app
  2. Generating a large number of positive ratings and reviews
  3. Having other websites or apps link to the app listing
  4. Ensuring the app is up-to-date and stable.

Some app stores allow developers to advertise their apps within the store. Similar to paid search advertising, this provides developers with an alternative way to improve their app visibility by paying for a top search result. Paid placement is not "organic ASO," but is commonly used to boost app downloads, especially when a new app is launched.

NOTE: ASO may also aim to improve an app's ranking in the Browse section of an app store. For example, if an app is listed as featured or trending, it may significantly increase the app's visibility and number of downloads.

Updated: August 22, 2019

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