App Store Optimization: getting your apps found

Once your apps are live in the app stores, you want to make sure that people can find them. While you can tell friends and customers about it on your website and social networks, how do you make people who don't know your shop to find your apps, download them, and become your customers?

Your magic solution lies in 3 simple words: App Store Optimization. App Store Optimization (ASO) makes your app more visible to an in-store app search, helps them stand out from similar apps, and gives people more reasons to download them.


In this article, you will find ASO tips to get your apps found in the iOS and Android app stores.

To apply these ASO tips to your apps, follow the instructions below:

Updating app name, descriptions, keywords, and more
 Configuring logos, app icon, and loading screens (coming soon)
 Before your apps go live: Previewing my apps
 After your apps are live: Requesting an app update


7 Things you can improve towards a better ASO:

  1. App icon
  2. App name
  3. Keywords & categories
  4.  Feature image
  5. App description
  6. App screenshots
  7. App ratings & reviews


Simple app icon

People are unlikely to download an app with a cluttered and confusing icon design. A good app icon, on the other hand, tells the story of your shop and grabs the attention of a potential customer.

To please the eyes of your picky customers, follow these tips:

Use your shop logo.
Feel free to use your shop logo as the app icon. Make sure it is legible at icon-size.

Keep it simple.
Use the most representative element of your shop logo or name.

Use graphical elements.
You do NOT need to include your shop name in the icon - there is app name for that. If the shop name is part of the logo, make sure it's short and legible.

Try colors, if fit.
Colorful icons can attract attention. Use the main colors of your shop logo. 

Pay attention to details.
Make sure the icon looks good at size 1024x1024.

Use the same icon across platforms.
Use the same icon for Android and iOS apps, and for smartphone and tablet apps.

Try to avoid the following mistakes:

Too much detail on the icon.
Words and images will look very tiny and unprofessional.

Including shop descriptions in the icon.
There are app descriptions and keywords for that!

 Too many colors or irrelevant colors.

Icon is too small.
Your icon will look blurry on a big device.

Using different icons for each platform.
Your customers may be confused when they try to download your apps on a different device/app store.


Add keywords to app name

"Around 60% of apps are discovered through app store browses and searches."
-- According to Forrester

Your app name is the most important factor in search. According to Forrester, your app name is the most important factor in getting your apps discovered.

Feel free to use your shop name as your app name. However, adding a few keywords to your app name could greatly increase your chance of being discovered.

Try these tips when adding keywords to your app name:

Keep it short.
Use 2 to 3 most relevant keywords. Keep in mind that only the first 19~20 characters (including spaces) of an app name are always displayed in the app stores, depending on the page.

Make it interesting.
Describe your specialty products and services.

Be explicit.
Make it clear that users can buy physical products from your app. Summarize which products you sell.

Use URL-safe characters.
Try not to use accented characters or symbols like "&" or "~".

Note that a maximum of 30 characters is allowed in an iOS app name and as well 30 characters in an Android app name. For general guidance on app names, read Entering app information for the app stores


Research keywords & categories ( only)

Keywords and categories have a huge impact on search. App Store ranks your app in a search according to the keywords and categories you selected. Therefore, selecting competitive and best-fitting keywords and categories are key to get your apps found.

Follow these tips when selecting your keywords:

 Use relevant keywords only
Describe the products you offer, where and how your products are used, what functions do they serve, what makes them special, which group of people is your shop aiming for, etc. Keep in mind that there is a 100-character limit.

 Use a thesaurus to help you find alternative words
Try different keywords which may reduce competition and bring your app to a higher ranking from a search.

 Research your competitor's keywords

 Analyze keywords popularity and difficulty
Search for an ASO tool on the internet to analyze the popularity and difficulty of your keywords

A few general guidance on keywords:

 Separate your keywords with comma only
Spaces are not necessary. e.g. write "awesome,organic,farm,fruits,veggie", not "awesome, organic, farm, fruits, veggie"

 Use single words instead of phrases
e.g. use "organic,farm", not "organic farm"

 Use the singular form of a word instead of the plural form
e.g. use "banana", not "bananas"

 Use numbers instead of words
e.g. use "8", not "eight"

Be aware of these points - some of which may result in a rejection from the app stores:

Don't use names or brands from existing apps or 3rd party companies

Don't use offensive words

Don't use irrelevant keywords

Don't use app name or company name as keywords
They are automatically added by the App Store

Don't add the word "free"
This is automatically added for Shopgate mobile apps


Eye-catching feature image ( only)

Feature image is a wonderful opportunity to highlight your Android app and promote your brand in a big and visual way.

Follow these tips when creating your feature image:

Image needs to be 1024 x 500 pixels and designed to scale
Your feature image needs to look good both in a full-size web browser and on a handset.

Create fun and enticing graphics
Be bold and creative when promoting your brand.

 Use colors that stand out on a black or white background

Don't use a text-heavy advertising-style graphic

Don't overload the graphic with details


Smart description

You can describe your shop's products and services in 4000 characters. This description will help customers to understand your business in more details. Be aware, that you need an app update to change the description!

If you're looking for tips to write a good description, read these tips:

Most important info first.
Describe the most important information about your shop and app in the first 3 lines. The rest of the texts are only visible by clicking on "read more".

Explain what you sell & why should people buy from you

List features and benefits your app provides

Include social proof
Collect awards, customer testimonials, blog post reviews, recommendations from social networks, etc.


Personalized screenshots

Note: You do NOT need to upload screenshots of your own. Your Shopgate Apps Department will create generic screenshots of your app's homepage, product pages and checkout page at no cost to you.

App screenshots are your best chips to turn potential customers into buyers. If one has come so far to look at your screenshots, you need to be prepared to show them your best work, catch their eyes, and shout out "download me" on top of your lungs.

At Shopgate, we generate 5 screenshots for each device/size (iPhone 6, iPhone 5, iPhone 4s, iPad, and Android smartphones and tablets). However, if you'd like to use personalized screenshots, feel free to upload them to your Shopgate Admin at menu point Design → Logos.

If you're making your own personalized screenshots, try out these tips:

 Use as many screenshots as possible
You can upload 5 screenshots for each device size at Shopgate. If you would like to add more screenshots, send them to

 Put most relevant screenshots first
The first one and a half screenshots will be directly visible on the app's detail page. Make sure your first 2 screenshots are attractive and informative. Use your splash screen, if it has a nice design and tells a story about your shop.

 Upload a video
Made a demo video of your brand and products? Want to include additional information? Send your video to! Your video should be in the format of mp4 and should be no longer than 12-30 seconds.

 Beautify/explain your screenshots
You can spice up your screenshots by editing them in an app (i.e. PhotoShop). Frame your screenshots on a phone, use a background, highlight your products, and add a short explanation.

Please note that Shopgate automatically generates and updates screenshots for all shops when a new app design rolls out. If you noticed that we updated your screenshots, send us an email at We can reverse the update for you.


Ask for ratings and reviews

It's no secret that we human beings tend to trust apps (or anything) with good reviews and a fair amount of downloads. Once your app is live, it's in your hands to get a good start!

Try these tips here to get ratings and reviews for your apps:

 Advertise your apps to customers
Add a banner on your shop's website saying that you're now offering native apps. Or send out this news in your newsletters. Make sure to provide links to download the apps.

 Ask existing customers to review your products & services.
Ask people who have bought products from your shop to write a review in your apps.

 Tell fans and followers
Your fans and followers already like you - tell them to download and review your apps! Try posting on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, blogs, or whatever you use.

 Give a little incentive
Motivate your customers with a store-credit or coupon after they download and review your apps.


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