8/18/2013

Optimizing your App Store Page for discovery

Turns out this isn't so different than the regular SEO world...


Search Engine Optimization Secrets 

You start by making sure that it's properly optimized for search. Very simple. After all, the page is text and images, and Google got where they are with their search engine, didn't they?

Optimize Your Google Play Store App Details Page

How to optimize your app page

The good news is, there are several things you can do so that more users find your app:

  • Using your keywords 5 times in your app description. Unlike on the App Store where the app description is not searchable, on the Google Play Store you want to make sure to repeat with a good frequency your main keywords.

Search OptimizationSearch algorithm and recommendations – source: Fiksu
  • Having a beautiful design and screenshots. Just like on the App Store, you want to have the best screenshots possible to convince potential users to download your app.
  • Having a demo/promo video. That’s an awesome thing on the Google Play Store: you can add a youtube video to promote your app. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to really show what your app is worth. When looking at an app’s page on an Android Smartphone,  the video is in the first screenshot slot.
  • Getting (good) reviews. Since ratings are part of the rank and search algorithm (see below), you want to do everything you can to get positive reviews.
  • Increase usage frequency: have an awesome app that users will be addicted to and use on a regular basis.
Next, you have to know that they run this a bit like Amazon with reviews. (Well, not thaaat bad...)
Optimize Your Google Play Store App Details Page

A little more about the Google Play Store rank algorithm

Just like Apple’s, no one knows it. But people do try to understand it better. Here are the main criterias:
  • Number of ratings: how many people have rated and reviewed your app.
  • Ratings: how high (or low) they are
  • Amount of downloads: how many app downloads
  • Downloads growth: the growth of downloads over the last 30 days
  • Uninstalls: how many people uninstall the app
  • Usage: frequency with which your app is used (reported by some developers)
  • Update 2/9/12: Links to Play Store page: “Getting people to write about your app improves your search rankings in the Play Store” (Google I/O June 2012)
Some advices about ASO (App Store Optimization) are valid for both the App Store and the Play Store, but there are some specifities to the Google Play Store like a searchable description and the fact that you can display an app demo video.
Which means they are counting in-bound links. With that being the case, you can then do all the other usual actions for SEO, including a video which gives your app's Play Store link in it's description. Like a boxing video - and then put that video on the App Store page itself, kind of a feedback loop. But you also put the video on your blog, Pinterest your screenshots with a link to the App, etc. etc.

In addition to running various SEO functions on your site, you'd also then create an app to drive traffic to your app as well. The more popular your app is, the higher it will go on the Play Store and be easier to find.

This research started because I was seeing Play Store apps show up in the search standings from time to time. As well, there were rumblings about how it's going to be about the app instead of the O/S as it has been for years. (Microsoft may be a dinosaur already, who doesn't know it's extinct. Google has the Android market, Apple the IOS. Microsoft plays 3rd or 4th fiddle while people are steadily getting rid of their desktops in favor of tablets. Windows 8 was another one of their disasters...)

Google Play: Tips & Tricks for Developers | Rock Health
 
Search is much more important for app discovery on Google Play than it is on Apple’s App store. In fact, a study by Fiksu found that search drives 75% of organic downloads – so it’s critical to optimize your app for such downloads.
While the actual details and weights of Google’s ranking algorithm are a secret, there are a number of important factors to optimize your apps appearance in search:
  • Downloads, including total number of app downloads and download momentum
  • App quality, including percentage of users who keep the app after installing it and stickiness
  • User reviews, including total number of review and average review score
  • Page rank, including number & quality of in-bound web links 

Downloads

There are four factors to consider when reviewing how many downloads your app gets:
  1. Keywords driving how often your app appears in searches
  2. Fragmentation issues to  which may prevent widespread availability of your app
  3. Optimization of conversion rates
  4. Paid marketing efforts and PR
Google Play: Tips & Tricks for Developers | Rock Health

Optimizing conversion rates

Once a user finds your app, you want to ensure they download the app, which means:
  1. Translating the app description into foreign languages
  2. Providing high quality screenshots
  3. Making it easy for users to understand what the app does from the description
  4. Offering promotions, e.g., ‘free for a limited time only’
  5. Providing a video; SimpliFilm did a great job for me, you can watch it here
Google Play: Tips & Tricks for Developers | Rock Health

User reviews

Both the total number of reviews and their quality are important for your search ranking.  At a very minimum, you should be prompting users to review your app after they’ve tried it a couple of times.  One product that takes this a step further is AppTentive.  They have an SDK that allows you to ask your users if they are happy with your app or not.  If they say they are, they get taken to a page that asks them to rate your app. If they say they are not, they are given an opportunity to give you feedback about the app.  This is a great add-on to help you improve your average review score and at the same time get valuable feedback from users about how to improve your app.

Page Rank

Google also uses Page Rank to assess your ranking, which refers to the number of inbound pages pointing to your App.  There are many traditional SEO activities you can do to generate links to your app, but here are some of the low hanging fruit:
  1. Make sure you include a link to the app on all pages on your website, blog, etc. Put the link in your website footer.
  2. Reach out to media outlets or ask bloggers to write about your app
  3. Submit your app to app review sites, example: iMedicalApps,
  4. Find relevant pages on Wikipedia where you can include a link to your app
I recommend monitoring your ranking in each market using a tool like AppAnnie, and monitoring your ranking for individual keywords using MobileDevHQ and AppNique to keep track of your progress.
So there's your old SEO scene again. Keywords in the title and repeated on the page in the description. In-bound links to increase the page rank. Prompting users to give you favorable reviews (shades of Amazon.)

There are similar scenes for the iPhone app store...

A Guide to App Store Optimisation (ASO)

Summary:
The world continues to turn according to the same laws. Getting your app found (so people can find your site) is not all that different from getting your site found through the web. Both leverage search engine optimization to get'r'done.

It still means lots of video's, images, docs shared, and blog posts in order to get the word out about whatever valuable produce or service you are providing.

Just makes life more interesting when you do...
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