Complete Guide to Google Play Store Optimisation

App Store Optimisation despite much progress is still an enigma. You will find apps that have no relation to that particular keywords ranking.

There might be multiple reasons for the chaos, despite much progress:

  • Less data point: In comparison with SEO where Google has vast historical and current data points based on website’s other content, backlinks from a relevant high domain website, stay time, interactions etc, in ASO the number of historical and current data points are limited because it’s still a new field.
  • Uninstall numbers:  There is no doubt that Goole uses uninstall rate as a metric for ranking on a relevant keyword. Now, because Google doesn’t provide us with the search analytics on analytics on play store, it’s not possible to figure which keyword is sending you users who love your app and who don’t uninstall. This leads to targeting keywords blindly based on volume and competition, criteria with no guarantee for low uninstall, leading to less understanding of ranking.
  • The Risk-taking behaviour of new apps: It is no secret that app’s chances of ranking are higher on keywords used in the title and the short description. Now, a new app, generally focused on a single keyword, uses that keyword liberally in the title and short descriptions, doing so increase their chances of ranking. Sometimes, these new apps use misleading keywords with little relation to their core app feature to just get downloads, which might not stick, but nevertheless, affects the ranking of good apps.
  • The curious case of developing countries: While the tools such as App Annie, App Tweak, and Sensor Tower are good for the developing market for keywords analysis, their accuracy for developing market such as India is pretty low.

Key Aspects of App Store Optimisation

While there are many elements that affect ranking on Appstore, including uninstall rate, engagement, review, descriptions etc, following are the controllable element in short term that we can optimise:

6 key component of playstore optimisation

Other elements such as uninstall rate require huge time investment and change in the product, so we will focus on these elements only.


These are pretty standards. Just follow these guidelines:

  • Focus on all screenshots: Please note that although many blogs suggest focusing on first two screenshots, you should focus on all. Here is why:
    • When someone searched on Playstore, almost 6 of your screenshots are visible.
    • The logic behind focussing on first two screenshots is that users see those on your Plastore page by default, but as per a study of PlayStore downloads more than 40% users see more than 4 screenshots before download.
  • Tell a story without getting constrained by screenshots: The most successful app pages do not only upload screens but also tell a story. For example, consider the case of Uber – they have depicted even beyond screenshots to tell the story.
  • Make use of localization feature: If your app is localized for different languages, you should provide screenshots that particular language.

Uber screen shots in chinese for Playstore Optimisation

  • Screenshot Split Testing: Google Play store provides a feature to run experiments with different screenshots, allowing you to split-test to identify what works for you. You can then use the results Google Play results to determine iOS app screenshots as well.

If you have designer bandwidth crunch, you can use placeit to design screenshot. Placeit is extremely easy to use.

Using tools for playstore optimisation

Design tips for more scroll rate:

  • Increase the surprise element such as the position of screenshot here

playstore optimisation by increasing the scroll rate

  •  Highlight particular elements to build a story

Playstore optimisation by user to highlight certain elements

  • Use multiple app screenshots if required

playstore optimisation by removing the usage of one screen in single screenshot

  • Use connected image screenshot for visual appeal

playstore optmisation by using connected image

App Icon Design

It’s a tiny piece of branding that conveys the essence of your app and makes you stand out. The app icon needs to be unique, recognizable, and scalable (as it needs to be used a variety of places).

App Icon - The Critical component of Playstore optimisation

Some key pointers for designing app icon:

  • Generally, it’s not a good idea to use “words” in the app icon
  • As the icon needs to be scalable, design it in details so that icon also be used in full screen
  • Add borders to your icon to ensure that the icon looks great on all backgrounds
  • Test the effectiveness of icon by running pilot adds on Facebook.

Text Description

The text description is the most critical part in which the real struggle is – finding the right keyword and using it appropriately. Three step process:

  1. Collect the keyword
  2. Select the optimum keyword
  3. Write the content according to the best practices

#1 Collects keywords that are relevant to your App

The first and most important step is to collect the keywords. According to some studies, including the keyword in the title can increase the play store ranking by almost 10%.

In collecting keywords do take three factors into account – relevance to app download, the volume of searches, and competition.

In order to collect the relevant keywords, you can use multiple channels:

Playstore optimisation

  • Playstore Reviews

Check your and your competitor’s reviews. You can use scraping tools such as Data Miner to help you out.

  • User Surveys

Either brainstorm what terms users generally use to refer the services offered in your app or just speak to few customers to figure out what terms they use for search.

  • Search Trends

Check out the Google Trend and play store popular searches that are relevant to your product. For example, if people are searching for Mutual Fund, then it doesn’t make sense to use the word “Debt Fund”. Instead, Debt Mutual Fund will be a better word.

  • ASO Tools

ASO tools also suggest you the related keywords suggestion. We will discuss the tools in details later.

#2 Select the optimum keyword using ASO tools

You want most relevant keywords that have high searches and less competition.

The basic and one of the effective tool to figure this out is to use Google Play store Autosuggest.

Tools App Keyword Optimization App Product Page Optimization Review & Sentiment Analysis A/B Testing Search Ads Optimization App Store Intelligence
App Annie
Mobile Action
Sensor Tower
App Radar
Priori Data
Keyword Tool
Raise Metrics

From keyword optimisation to review analysis to mobile app intelligence, these tools will help you to build traction.

#3 Write the content according to the best pratices

  • Developer Name

Try adding keyword in Developer name. For example, “Leap Fitness Group” for 30 Day Fitness Challenge app.

30 Day Fitness Challenge App Play Store page


  • Title 

Placing the keyword in the “Title” can improve your app’s search ranking by 10% on an average. Place the most important keyword (regardless of difficulty) in the title.

Further, you can add one title in each language to localise the app. This is can further improve your download statistics.

  • Capture
    Placing keywords in the title


  • Short Description

Google allows 80 developers to use up to 80 characters for the short description.

Using this chrome extension, you can check the short description from the desktop.

Pro-tip: Adding emoji in short-description helps.

Here are some examples:

Title Description Comment
Headspace: Meditation & Mindfulness Helpful guided meditation sessions. Focus on Meditation
Lifesum – Diet Plan, Calorie Counter & Food Diary Food tracker: meal planner, keto recipes & diet tips. Eat healthy & lose weight! Keyword heavy
Strava: Track Running, Cycling & Swimming With GPS GPS activity tracker – Track running & cycling, map training & record your route Keyword heavy
Recharge, Payments, QR Scanner, UPI, Bank Account Accept Payments, Scan QR,Recharge, Savings a/c, UPI, Book Bus, Train Ticket Brand name (Paytm) not used
Flipkart Online Shopping App India’s No.1 Shopping App – Trusted by over 100 mn Indians for online shopping! Trust builder
Acorn Hunt #1 for Making Money A new app that provides you with fun and easy ways to earn extra money. Trust builder
JioTV Live Sports Movies Shows Now Showing India-SA ckt series, Kumkum Bhagya, Kundali Bhagya,Ishq Mein..& more Frequently changes the short description
  • Description

First and foremost, if you are not ranking in the top 10 rank for the keyword, then it doesn’t matter what’s your rank is. Don’t target keywords that have no shot at ranking for.

Second, select at least 7-8 keywords and try using each keyword at least 4-5 times.

Finally, remember that play store optimization is not a one-time thing, and that’s why you need to do a lot of experiment on Google Console and keep optimising the text on regular basis.

Pro-tips Optimisation of Description:

  • Use as much space as possible
  • Talk in superlative language and brag!
  • Use tool such as Grammarly to avoid any grammatical errors
  • Use bullet points symbols such as ❖ and emoji such as 🔥
Text Play Store Comments
<font color=”blue”>Blue</font> Blue Colors are not supported in web play store
<b>Bold</b> Bold
<i>Italic</i> Italic
<u>Underline</u> Underline
<h1><b>Header 1</b></h1> Header 1
<h2><b>Header 2</b></h2> Header 2
✓☆ ✓☆ UTF-8 and Emoji are supported
&raquo; » HTML characters are supported


Check this blog for awesome growth hack trick for play store optimisation.


About the author

Product Manager at Google | Kellogg MBA '20 | IIT Delhi Graduate

I am passionate about product management, startup, and fitness not in any particular order.

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