Most Common ASO Mistakes

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7 min read
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June 26, 2024
It’s nearly impossible to take into account all the factors affecting ASO performance, for they depend on the algorithms app stores use. But what one could do is avoid some popular optimization mistakes. This idea inspired us to describe a list of typical ASO mistakes that marketers make.
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App Store Optimization (or ASO) is a process of optimizing a mobile app’s page in order to maximize its visibility and boost the conversion rate.
Work Stages
You will come across a lot of professional terms while reading this text. If you are an ASO beginner or haven’t done that before, let’s figure out, for your convenience, what these terms mean:

  • Competitive analysis (or competitor analysis) is an assessment of the strengths and performance of competitors; a practice of using their techniques to achieve success in developing a product.
  • A semantic core is a grouped list of keywords, their morphological forms and combinations, which most accurately describe and characterize your product.
  • Suggestions are search request hints that are suggested based on the overall statistics of the most popular requests.
  • Relevant requests are words and phrases that describe the product and its central purpose.
  • Exact match is the exact form of a request that wasn’t altered by declension, case change, etc. For instance, you need the keyword “gps tracker.” This is the form that you need to use in textual metadata, instead of “gps-tracker” or “gps trackers”, since these are different keywords.
  • Metadata includes textual and visual elements of an app page.
  • A unique selling proposition (or unique value proposition) is a product’s or service’s stated value to the target audience. A correctly formed unique value proposition remains the same and effective in the long term.
  • An offer is the offer emphasizing the real value of a product or service. Unlike a unique selling proposition, offers are volatile. Marketers adapt the offer to the market context, target audience, season, demand, etc.
  • In-app purchases are extra content or subscriptions that users buy in the application.

Now let’s look into some typical App Store Optimization mistakes that we met in our practice.
1. No competitor analysis
ASO specialists carry out competitive analysis to identify demand, growth opportunities, and many other factors of interest to the development team. A detailed study of your competitors’ text and visuals is the starting point for gathering a semantic core and forming the first insights into how what your app’s metadata should be.
2. Ignoring suggestions
A suggestion makes it easier for a user to come the way from the search bar to your app’s page. Don’t forget to use them when building a semantic core and forming the textual part of the metadata.
3. Empty subtitle (relevant for App Store)
The subtitle is the second, after the title, most important factor affecting keyword rankings. You lose 30 characters when you don’t use the subtitle. These 30 characters are a bunch of relevant keywords that you could use for your ranking. Be sure to fill the subtitle with relevant keywords.
4. No relevant keywords and/or underutilization of the character space in textual metadata
Having no relevant requests in the textual part of your metadata, you lose users and use the character space inefficiently. This is a bad practice you should avoid. Build textual metadata based on the semantic core you formed and occupy the entire character space with relevant keywords.
5. No exact-match relevant keywords
Lack of exact matches chokes down your chances of being ranked well for the target keywords. Use exact matches in the text part of your ASO strategy.

Note. The App Store only recognizes English well. This lets you get indexed for a target keyword in both plural and singular. For example, if you add the keyword “cocktail” to your textual metadata, the App Store will be likely to index you for both “cocktail” and “cocktails.” It’s doubtful that this trick will work with other languages on the App Store. Most probably, the store will only index the app for the exact match.

There is a hypothesis that Google Play can distinguish between word forms, so it sometimes indexes them. Everything we told you above doesn’t work every time. Be open to experimenting and trying various approaches in the text part of your ASO effort.
6. Duplicates of relevant keywords in textual metadata
On the App Store, duplicate requests will not strengthen your app’s position. Avoid doing this on the App Store: it’s ineffective and useless.

On Google Play, however, duplicating relevant keywords might improve your app’s rankings for them. Don’t go too far, though: spamming may jeopardize your positions.
Feel free to experiment and find the most optimal solutions to mention keywords that will work for you.
7. Full description without structure
Instead of reading texts, users most often flick through and scan information, only focusing on the details. If no details are highlighted, a user has to read and think, having their attention distracted. You should structure the full description, and break it into paragraphs, sections, points, subpoints, etc. Make things simpler for the user. This will positively affect how your app is perceived.
8. No captions in screenshots
Brief captions in screenshots help translate the app features and functions, tell about the unique value proposition, unveil the benefits, and demonstrate the offer. Remember that you have a few seconds to arouse the user’s interest and urge them to download the app. Well-designed screenshot captions can boost the conversion rate. Many ASO specialists note that Google Play scans screenshot captions. There is a good chance of getting indexed for the keywords, should they have been added as screenshot captions.
9. Zero response to reviews or cliched replies
Don’t keep user reviews unattended, nor should you use canned phrases. Users pay attention to developer responses and want to see that the app is being supported, and problems resolved when occurred. Try to use detailed, rich responses. You may ask yourself what to do if a user has left a negative review and low rating. A good practice in this case is to try to resolve the user’s problem as soon as possible, and then report on the solution in a response. Once done, you can also ask the user to change their rating and update the review.

The App Store rotates reviews, displaying the 6 most helpful ones on the app page. To see all other reviews, the user needs to click “See All.” Focus on the most helpful reviews, since they are what users see first and form the overall impression of your app. Try to send rich replies and monitor reviews to make sure there are no negative reviews. You can rotate reviews on your own or delegate this task to third-party companies.
10. No relevant keywords in reviews and responses (relevant for Google Play)
User reviews and developer responses are indexed on Google Play. Try to add relevant keywords to your replies, but make sure that each reply you submit is helpful and understandable. If you involve third-party services in generating reviews, you want to agree on the text they will contain.
11. No relevant keywords in names of in-app purchases (relevant for App Store)
The words that names of in-app purchases contain are indexed. We recommend that you create the name of an in-app purchase based on your semantic core. By promoting in-app purchases, you can attract more user and boost the reach of the indexed relevant keywords.
12. Introducing all ASO changes within one period
We recommend that you implement one change at a time, and then assess it. Google Play has a kit of built-in app page testing tools. And though their results may be questionable, it’s quite telling that the platform doesn’t let you launch several tests at a time. It’s hard to interpret the results if several tests are launched at a time. Why so?

Imagine that the textual and visual elements have been updated simultaneously on the app page. Good text optimization will boost the number of impressions thanks to indexing for more keywords. The conversion rate may decrease since the app is shown to a wider audience and appears in search results more often. In this case, one couldn’t objectively assess the performance of the graphics for this period. This method can be used for applications seeing a lot of traffic.

But if your app gets a poor amount of traffic so far, you shouldn’t draw any conclusions about conversions even after successive changes. When you deal with little traffic, a traffic sample you use to evaluate the performance may be very small. For example, only users who look for your very app will install it. Your conversions in this case will be artificially high. If you updated your texts and graphics after that, it wouldn’t be correct to compare the “before” and the “after”, since your conversions before the changes would be artificially high.