There are a lot of things that are similar when it comes to doing App Store Optimization for Google Play and the Apple App Store. However, there are a few things that are specific to the Play Store.
In this post, we will show you how to do Google Play optimization for Android apps. Nobody knows the exact algorithm that Google uses to rank apps, just like with the Apple App Store, but here is what has been shown to work.
The first step is to be sure that you are tracking how your app ranks for all of its keywords. Add your keywords to the Search Rankings Tool to find out how you are doing. Without this information, it is impossible to tell if your keyword optimization efforts are working or not.
When researching keywords to target, remember R.D.T., Relevance, Difficulty, Traffic. The most important thing is to be sure to choose keywords that are highly relevant to your app, so people are more likely to download it when they find your app by searching for those keywords. Then look for lower Difficulty Scores so that your app has a better chance of being ranked. Finally, if the first two criteria are equal, then look at the Traffic Score of each keyword and choose the keywords with the higher Traffic Scores.
Just like with Apple App Store search, putting keywords into the title of your Android app can help it rank better for those keywords. However, since Google Play titles are limited to only 30 characters, you will probably be able to only put one or two keywords into your title, so choose wisely.
This is one of the biggest differences between Apple App Store and Google App Store search. Instead of providing a keyword field like iTunes does, Google takes the keywords from your app description.
There is a maximum of 4,000 characters, so be sure to use as many of them as possible. It has been shown that you should include a target keyword about 5 times in your description for best results. Using a keyword more than this hasn't shown to help. Also make sure that your description makes sense and not just a bunch of keywords crammed together.
This almost goes without saying, but if you create a great app that people love, you will get more positive reviews, which will in turn help you get better search rankings. However, if you want to take a more proactive approach to getting good ratings, you can use services like Apptentive or you can roll your own solution.
But ratings are not the only thing that you have to be aware of. Number of downloads, download growth, uninstalls and usage frequency have also shown to help search rankings.
So look for opportunities to improve all of these metrics. But the bottom line is that having a great app is the best foundation upon which to improve in these areas.
Take the time to test your app throughly and make sure that everything works before you release it. If you have to hold back some non-essential features that don't work well yet, then it is usually better to get it right, than to wind up with a lot of angry users.
Although there are signs that promo videos could be coming to the Apple App Store soon, Google Play already has them, so you should take advantage of this opportunity to get people excited about your app. The best part is that since Google owns YouTube, adding your promo video is as simple as uploading your video to YouTube and adding it to your app profile.
Be sure to keep your video very short and dynamically highlight the most important benefits of your apps. Nobody is going to watch a five minute Powerpoint presentation of why they should download your app. They are just going to move on to the next one, if they don't fall asleep first.
In addition to a great demo video, you should also have excellent screenshots. There may be times when a user has a slow internet connection and cannot view a YouTube video properly. They will then turn to your screenshots to find out more about how your app works.
Be sure to choose screenshots that are visually appealing and add text to your screenshots to communicate the primary benefit that each screenshot is communicating. Give people compelling reasons to download your app.
Also in the category of visual appeal is your app icon. It is the first thing that people see in search so it has to communicate what your app is about and look appealing very quickly.
Your icon must also be high resolution. To find out the exact specifications that Google looks for, read this post on graphic assets.
Android developers can also benefit from web search traffic. More backlinks from trusted sites means higher search rankings in Google Play Store optimization.
Therefore, it helps to get people who have influential websites to write about your app and link to your app page. Reach out to the press and consider having your own blog so people can find out more about your app.
So that is a rundown of how to optimize your Android app for the Google Play Store. To get more Google Play marketing tips, be sure to check out the Google Marketing 101 video.
Do you have anything to add? Let us know in the comments below.