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Appstore SEO: 10 best practices.

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We (still) come across clients that have the impression that you just have to publish an app on a store and you can get millions of downloads.

That never happens. Or, at any rate, not the way they think it does.

Before we get down to the nitty-gritty of what it’s all about, here are some basic rules:

–    Contrary to the so-called ‘free’ web, the mobile is a whole ecosystem that is controlled by private firms. A store is regulated by its own ‘Guidelines’ that are determined by the editor (Apple, Google, Amazon, Windows, etc…). Those guidelines must be followed or you’ll run the risk of getting any submissions to the store refused outright.

–    Unfortunately no, 10,000 downloads of your app just isn’t going to be enough to go along and see an investor. In this world that’s nothing at all. Even 50,000 won’t be enough. Check back in when you hit 100,000 in just a couple of weeks and we’re talking.

–    Getting to the number one spot in your category means nothing either these days; except perhaps if you are in the Games and Entertainment section where it’s well-known for being aggressive go-getting action.

–    Betting your entire communication strategy around Boost ranking (mass purchasing downloads) will get you into hot water too. Apple and Google both prefer natural mobile referencing.

–    Forget most of what you think you’ve heard about SEO. The promotion of a mobile application from stores has become a complex process and it’s developed quickly recently. In a word: it’s war out there!

– No there’s more on offer than just the Play Store to download Android apps. You can also do it from stores run by Amazon, Xiaomi, Baidu, etc…

Now we have got that straight, let’s take a look at ways of improving your visibility and improving your success rate:

  1. Launch Date:

Launch an app in the middle of August and then another on December 26th and you’ll notice the difference. The launch date of an app has everything to do with influencing its popularity. It’s true to say that between the moment your app is accepted in a store and its final referencing in a category, you’ll be in that “New” app category. It’s those first few days that are decisive for targeting early adopters.

  1. Free or Pay?

To cut a long story short, a free app will attract much more downloads than one you have to pay for. Freemium consists in proposing in-App downloads and this should never be neglected.

The second reason will be because it gives you the possibility of getting into the ‘top most profitable‘ apps on Apple. This is the ranking of the free apps that have generated the most revenue.

  1. Size Counts!

Avoid at all costs going over 50Mb for your app. Over and above that mark and you’ll need a Wi-Fi connection to download anything. You should favor downloading extra content from within your app.

  1. Dont Forget Foreign Stores

Translating your app into 2 or 3 languages is a starting point for everyone. But, most people tend to concentrate on just one local store. In our particular case that’s UK. But, submitting your app to foreign stores is going to make a lot of difference.

  1. Spend more time with the logo designer than the interface man

The logo is the first time your potential user will come into contact with you. The modern-feel of an app is judged by the interface, OK, but the decision to download it is determined by the icon and the short description.

  1. Titles are Everything

Apple applies the same weighting to every word in the title. So, you need to add keywords to your title too as much as you can.

Google takes into account the number of times the word appears in the description and attributes a weighting system to each word that way.

  1. The short description goes a long way

On Android and iOS only the first few lines of the description are posted. The rest of the description appears if the user wants to see more. That’s why it counts so much to get the description right. Push the 2-3 main festures of your app and don’t go over 1,000 characters (maximum limit stands at 4,000) and always include a link to your social media page.

  1. Understand something about algorithms in stores

Keep well up to date with what’s going on in the latest developments of store editors.

On Google:

–    Repeat the keyword of the app as much as possible.

–    Hardlinking: Google takes into account the number of times the name of the application and the link appears in articles.

–    Influence of Google +: Sum of +1 gets the app moving up in the search ranking results.

–    KPI on Google is determined by:

  1. The number of downloads
  2. Engagement (or the number of times the user returns to use the app)
  3. Install / Uninstall Ratio
  4. Install time
  5. Average grades
  6. Tablet compatibility

 

On the Appstore:

– Velocity: the number of downloads over a short period of time.

– User feedback.

– Top profitability: total revenue yielded by purchases.

9. Pics and Vids

Make sure that you highlight the flagship functions of your app by keeping the same time on all screenshots. Get rid of any useless information on the status bar.

Google allows for video presentations. These can really have a high incidence of influence on the conversion rate.

10. Keywords

Forget about Meta tags. Choose your keywords wisely and choose those that describe your app best. Google even accepts long tail keywords. But, Apple will limit you to 100 characters. Think about it!

 

Good luck !!

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