Updated: March 2, 2016
We’ve been talking a lot about App Store Optimization on the blog. While some posts have some advice that is for both the App Store and the Google Play Store, the focus has been mainly been for iOS app details pages.
Since Android apps are definitely not something to ignore (in fact, there are some good arguments about why you should start developing on Android first) here is a wrap-up of the tips to optimize a Google Play Store app details page and be found more often by potential users.
Search is Important (Duh!)
First, here is why optimizing your app details page for search is critical on the Google Play Store: search represents 80% of high quality organic downloads. I’ll admit that “high quality organic download” is a pretty vague criteria, but still.
How to Optimize Your App Page
The good news is, there are several things you can do so that more users find your app:
- Putting your main keyword in your app title. According to Fiksu, this could dramatically improve your position (80-100 spots). They even recommend to put your app name on the app icon and use the app name for your keyword. I have mixed feelings about that, because I believe it’s not such a good thing to have words on an app icon and because it poses a branding problem. I’d rather think of an app name that contains the main keyword.
- 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.
- 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. The more people use your app on a regular basis, the better it will rank.
- Focus on the first 167 characters of your app description, for web search. The first part of your Google Play app description also becomes the meta description on your app’s public webpage. Be aware of the web search terms you want to rank for and add them to the beginning of your description. Here’s an example from Boom Beach.
Finding the Right Keywords With a Google Play Keyword Tool
Now that you know where to put your keywords, you are probably wondering: how do I choose a good keyword? What makes a good keyword?
A Google Play keyword tool will give you the metrics you need, to understand which keywords your app has a good chance of ranking for and which ones are too competitive. There are several out there, but one example is Mobile Action.
You can get the keyword history of your app’s keywords, estimated downloads and revenue for other apps and metrics that will help you chose the right keywords….
When choosing keywords to target for the best Google Play ranking, keep in mind three things:
- Download relevance – Will people actually search for this keyword, to download your app?
- Keyword ranking difficulty – Can your app rank in the top 10 for this keyword?
- Search traffic – How many people are searching for these Google Play keywords?
They are in order of decreasing importance, so focus on #1 first, then #2…then #3, if the first two are equal. To get the complete guide on choosing your first Google Play keywords, read this post.
A Little More About the Google Play Store Rank Algorithm
Just like Apple’s App Store search algorithm, the Google Play Store algo is also a closely guarded secret. But here are the optimizations that are currently understood.
- 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)
- 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)
Differences Between Google Play App Store and Apple App Store Optimization
Some advice about ASO (App Store Optimization) is valid for both app stores. But there are some differences that you need to know about.
- Google is now checking apps before publication, but the process is much faster than the Apple App Store. It is usually on the order of a few hours, while Apple can take a few days. This allows you to optimize your app faster.
- The keywords for your app are pulled from your description, not from a dedicated keyword field.
- Google gives you much more freedom, in terms of what you can include in your app promo video on the Google Play Store. Take advantage of this and get creative!
Here is an example:
So that is how to optimize your Google Play app. Obviously, there is a lot of information here and a lot to master.
But use this post as a checklist and go through each step to be sure you have done the best you can, at this point in time. Then test your work and learn how to make it better on your next update!
Anything to add on how to optimize an app page on the Google Play Store? We’d love to hear about it in the comments!