App Store Search Optimization Tips & Tools
It seems like there’s an app now for everything. But yours is unique, and you need to get that across to potential users. App store search engine optimization has evolved into a very intricate science – and one that is changing constantly. But there are some strategies and techniques that, when abided by, will bring you as close to top search results as possible:
Give Your App a Great Name
First impressions go a very long way, and other than your icon, your app name is likely the very first thing potential users are going to see. Your name should explicitly reflect what your app does, but in a concise and catchy way. Take the Waze and Tabelist apps, for instance – both are essentially made up words, but each reflects their respective functionality in a creative way. Just like your keywords, your name needs to be relevant and unique. Also, do not include special characters in your app name. Some app stores will not display non-alphanumeric symbols in the title field, replacing it with other info (such as your ID) instead.
Employ Keywords that are Unique and Relevant
Keywords must be relevant to your product and brand, and it helps if they are unique. The more keywords you are allowed, the better. But some stores limit the amount that you can use, so compose your keywords with care. There are even tools to help you choose them – MobileDevHQ, AppTweak, Sensor Tower, SearchMan and App Store Rankings, for example – which will help you to find the keywords that will elevate your brand highest in the search rankings. Google Adwords and Google Trends can also help with this.
Invest Time and Effort Into Your App’s Description
Not only should your app description be accurate, it should also be easy to read and engaging for the reader. Word the description economically so that it is not too long-winded. Typically, the first three lines of your app description will be directly visible in the app store, so you need to make those words count. Use this space to give the best ‘elevator pitch’ you possibly can – briefly summarize its best features and functions, list any awards and/or recognitions the app has received, and make sure the copy is well-written and engaging. Many users do not read the full app description, so make sure those first three lines effectively get the message across.
A Picture Can Tell a Thousand Words
Many people prefer to look at images rather than text in order to get a sense of a product. Your app’s icon should be attractive, friendly, and communicative of the service that it provides. Screenshots of your live app will give potential users a sense of the layout. So when you are designing the user interface, keep in mind that this could be presented to the world on a very broad scale – so make it look good!
Don’t Be Modest with Good Reviews
Keep your rating up in order to stay relevant. Many search engines feature a ‘rating’ filter, which is a very popular tool for sorting through search results. Be mindful of how reviewers assess your app, and responsive to any critical feedback – if somebody points out a major flaw, work it out as soon as possible, then update users with the new improvements in your description and other communication. Good reviews and responsive communication cultivate trust around your brand. If your app is well-rated, let people know!
Market your app in all the necessary channels. Social media provides some of the best possible avenues by which to promote your product. Identify all the right social media platforms that your customers will likely be on (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.) and if you have the budget, hire a professional to manage these accounts. Also, consider translating your copy into foreign languages if there are international markets to be tapped into.
There are measures you can take to enable rich search results for your app in search engine queries that have the potential to increase your visibility dramatically. Tools like Google’s App Indexing API provide user friendly interfacing that can help you enhance your app’s ranking. The API documents actions within your app (such as video watching) that are sent back to Google’s database, which helps your visibility by enabling autocompletion and overall improved search quality.
You’ve invested a lot of effort into building the best app possible. It’d be a shame if that effort were wasted through lackluster SEO. Just follow the simple steps outlined above, and as long as your app fulfills a customer need, you will find and connect with your market.