Android vs. iOS: App Store Optimization

When it comes to making your app stand out, which store makes it easier: the iOS App Store, or Google Play? Both have more than 1 million apps in their marketplaces, so app store optimization (ASO) plays an important role for any app.

Many skirmishes in the iOS vs. Android platform battle don’t have a clear winner. But when it comes to the arena of ASO, it’s easier to get your app ranking higher in Google Play than the App Store. As an expert in ASO at Sourcebits, I’ve helped many of our apps land in the top 10 results for targeted keywords.

Whether you’re already in the store and trying to rank higher for a search term, or you’re about to launch an app and you want better discoverability – this post can help you.

What is App Store Optimization?

In a nutshell, ASO is the process of creating content that helps your app rank higher for specific keywords when people search the app stores. ASO is a very important, but often overlooked, app marketing technique. It can have a huge impact on how easily people discover (and download) your app in the stores.

App Store Optimization Rules for Google Play and App Store

5 Ways of Comparing ASO Rules for Google Play vs. App Store:

1. How Easy is Updating the Title and Description?

Google Play: Just as you can publish an Android app any time, without pre-approval, the same is true for app information. There is no review process to update your app’s meta data – the title and description. You can also update the keywords in the app title, and all content within the description, at any time – which makes it far easier and faster to optimize content.

App Store: Apple reviews every app’s content – including the title, category and keywords. The app description doesn’t require approval. You’re also only allowed to update the app title and the keyword fields when you originally submit the app or an updated build (when the app is in an editable state).

2. How do keywords impact the search algorithms?

Google Play: The keywords in the app title and description are considered by the search algorithm. The app description can be optimized to improve search rankings for various keywords, but there’s no dedicated keyword field.

App Store: Keywords in the the app description are not considered by the App Store search algorithm. However, there’s a keyword field in the metadata that is used by the search algorithm. Unfortunately, it only allows up to 100 characters for keywords so developers must be selective.

Keyword inclusion in the App Title and Description should be natural. Do not stuff these fields with excessive keywords, include only carefully chosen keywords.

3. How long can the app title be?

Google Play: There is a 30 character limit in the app title.

App Store: App titles can be 255 characters, which gives you a little more flexibility when it comes to including keywords.

4. How do social media and external links impact rankings?

Google Play: Just as Google’s search engine leverages social media sharing and external links to impact webpage results, the same holds true in Google Play results. G+1s especially have weight, as they generate recommendations from friends and family on a dedicated “people” section of the store launched in April, and also show up on individual app pages.

App Store: External links and social signals do not affect search rankings.

5. How do search results appear in the stores?

Google Play: When a user searches for an app, the results screen shows 5-6 apps per page. This provides better visibility for lower-ranked apps without requiring a screen swipe.

App Store: Only the first app result is fully visible in a search. The user has to swipe left to view additional apps.

Curious to learn more about App Store Optimization? An upcoming eBook from Sourcebits will provide more details on using ASO to improve search rankings and generate more downloads for your app. If you want an early copy, email and we’ll send it to you first.

Syed Shahzad

Syed Shahzad is the Senior SEO & ASO Analyst for Sourcebits. He has been working in the internet marketing industry since 2004, with extensive experience in developing search engine optimization strategies for companies of all sizes. He loves both the technical and non-technical sides of SEO. As an ASO expert, he conducts in-depth competitive analysis and keyword research to provide strategic ASO recommendations that help clients achieve top rankings and improve their organic download rates.