Five years ago, not many would believe you if you said Google, the company known for their search engine, would bring a new product onto the smartphone market that would rival the iPhone, but now, in 2014, that exact thing has happened.
The Google Play Store is now a force to be reckoned with in the app market, and certainly a tool that developers can’t do without. Whilst it’s still a hotly debated topic whether the Android market can bring in similar revenue to the iOS app store, it’s certainly not far off from it, and there is a lot of potential in the Google Play Store.
However, just like with the Apple app store, Google’s own app market is extremely competitive, and it takes time, patience, and maybe just a little bit of luck to become a successful app developer. One of the most important aspects of improving your app’s chance in the Play Store is through Google Play search optimization.
There are certain techniques that are beneficial to use, and some knowledge that should be learned when looking at Google Play search optimization, and they should certainly be applied to your own application if you’d like to increase your downloads and revenue.
Choosing keywords is possibly the most obvious step required to optimize your Google Play app store page, but also one of the hardest. Keyword optimization involves finding words that are most likely to be searched for and applying them into your app store description.
Finding the right keywords is often the hard part, but there are ways to get help. With decent keyword analysis software you can quickly find keywords that are being searched for often but have a lack of competition from other app developers, and then learn how to apply them to your app store description as best as possible. You can also use service like AppAnnie to track your downloads and search rankings and keep an eye on how each keyword is changing results.
Whether you have the budget to invest in such software or not, you will still need to brainstorm a few keyword ideas and apply them when necessary. A good practice I use for finding the best keywords for smartphone applications is to go through a three-step process.
Step 1 – Think about the main function of the app: what will users use the app for most?
Step 2 – Think about the kind of people that would download your app: what age are they, and what culture/demographic are they based in?
Step 3 – Think carefully about what your particular demographic would search for to find the function they are looking for. Take into consideration the vocabulary they would typically use.
Use this as a basis for your keyword brainstorming. Don’t be afraid to use less popular (long tail) keywords either – there may not be many searches for a particular keyword, but the positive to this is that the competition for it could be very low.
Once you have your keywords, the next step is to place them smartly throughout your app page. Google uses an algorithm that makes it beneficial to use keywords multiple amounts of times, and it’s always a good practice to try and fit your keywords into the description 4-5 times, and spread evenly throughout different paragraphs.
Don’t overdo it though, Google has been in the search engine game for a very long time and they have many systems in place to make sure people don’t try to game their system by overusing Google Play search optimization.
One huge way to improve search ranking is to actually put your keyword within your app title. By simply putting your keyword with a dash after your app name, you’ll be ranking much, much higher than apps that don’t follow this practice. Despite naysayers, most app users don’t mind seeing the keyword within the title, as it usually explains at point blank exactly what the app can do, so it’s a win/win for both you and your potential downloaders.
Graphics, Icon and Images
Once you have your keywords set out, you’ll now need to work on your icon and app screenshots. These are two very powerful tools that can help improve your clickthroughs and downloads drastically.
The app icon is the first image potential app downloaders will see before they download your app, and it’s what they will associate your application with. A badly designed, unprofessional logo will give off the impression that your app has been shared in the same way, and even if this is not true, users will most likely skip past your app, and will never find out whether your app is actually good or not.
Paying for a graphic designer may be a smart move – now that the internet is in it’s prime, it’s pretty easy to find willing contractors who will do the job for reasonable prices, too.
The final waypoint for Google Play search optimization are the screenshots. Use your screenshots wisely; Google has given you the space to use them, and you should treat them as free advertising space in your mobile app marketing.
If you were creating an advert, you’d try your best to convince viewers that your app was something they needed, so use the screenshots to clearly show the app in action, and the various features that make it worth downloading.
If you want to play the App Store optimization game, one of the best things you can do is to reach out to other regions and put your app out there in foreign countries. The country you’re based in may be great, but you’re missing out on a huge amount of potential if you only target the language of your home country or English.
To localize an app in the Google Play store of another country, you’ll want to provide keywords and a title in the language that is used within the country. By using the same keyword techniques that we have explained, but for foreign languages, you’re reaching out to new downloads, without really putting in much effort. Basically, you can boost your downloads few times using this technique.
If you see a large amount of traffic as a result of your localization changes, you could then even take it a step further and translate your app completely, catering for the popularity of your app within other countries.
Once you’ve sorted the graphical and translation side you’re pretty much set, but the keyword game is an ongoing battle, and you’ll really benefit from using analysis software to help you. If you can’t manage with that though, keep checking back for more tips from us where we’ll go into more detail about Google Play search optimization tactics and more topics to help you get the most out of the app industry.