App Store Optimization experts are in demand these days, that’s why I created this post to share my knowledge so you’ll become an ASO specialist yourselves. I will teach you the basics of App Store Optimization for Google Play along with some of my techniques to make your app rank in the Google Play search for certain keywords.
What is App Store Optimization?
“App Store Optimization (ASO) is the process of improving the visibility of a mobile app (such as an iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry or Windows Phone app) in an app store (such as iTunes for iOS, Google Play for Android or BlackBerry World for BlackBerry),” – Wikipedia
Consumers have gone mobile and it’s about time you learn some important tips to get a piece of the Google Play Store cake whether you are an ASO practitioner or an application developer.
Importance of ASO For Google Play
The most important factor of Google Play ASO is constant testing and updates. It’s your job to check your app’s statistics on a weekly basis as the algorithm on Google Play changes without notice.
This is why Keyword optimization is vital because it’s a process that you need to master and monitor all throughout the lifetime of your game or app.
App Store Optimization Ranking Factors
- Developer’s Reputation
- Keywords Used
- Description (Google Play)
- Editorial Highlight
App Store Optimization Factors – Things that you need to optimize
- Application / Game Icons
- Application / Game Screenshots
- Application/ Game Reviews
- App / Game’s Description
- Demos – Videos
App Store Optimization Formula
ASO Ranking Factors + ASO Optimization Factors = Downloads
App Store Optimization Process
- Keyword Research
- Optimize the App / Game Page (title, descriptions, icons, screenshots, etc.)
- Repeat, Rinse
Keyword Research for Apps / Games
Optimizing your app / game’s page plays an important role in your ASO process. That’s why it’s essential that you know how to track, research, use keywords for ASO.
Here is my personal guide for keyword research (feel free to share). It’s very similar to researching keywords for websites (SEO) with some slight differences.
- Brainstorm / Collate Ideas – I record all relevant keywords that I can think of for the app. I use Google spreadsheet and key-in my keyword ideas in column A.
Note: Keywords should be 2 – 5 words (most should be 2 or 3 words). They can be actual search phrases that people might type into a search engine.
- Make use of the Google Adwords Keyword Planner
You need to sign up for a Google AdWords account. If you have a gmail address, you can just use it to sign in. It’s free to use and the keyword analysis feature here provides an excellent indication of what people “search for” in general.
How to use Keyword Planner for App Store Optimization
Upon logging in, go to Tools and Analysis, then Keyword Planner:
Then go to ‘Search for new keyword and ad group ideas’ and enter the keyword phrases in the first box, then click on ‘Get ideas’:
Note: You can also target a specific language and/or location. On the left pane, you can change the targeting options.
Next step is to select the ‘Keyword ideas’ tab – this will provide you a list of useful information like the average number of monthly searches, keywords ideas, related keywords, etc..
Next step is to take down notes and record vital terms or keywords along with its monthly searches information. I would then add a new column (Avg monthly searches) to the Google Spreadsheet that we created earlier and record the monthly searches for each term or keyword.
I also check the suggested keywords and select some keywords that are relevant and have a good amount of monthly searches (350 or more monthly searches). Then, I would sort my list by clicking on the ‘Avg monthly searches’ column to give me an idea which keywords or terms to target [which are easier to target (low competition), and which I would guess is going to be fairly competitive (high competition)].
Optimizing the App Page
Use the main keywords in your app / game title
Choosing the right title can dramatically improve your rankings (roughly 80-100 spots). That’s why it’s important to put your app name on the app icon and use the app name for your keyword.
- 30 character limit (No Ifs no Buts) – Use your primary keywords here.
- If you’re adding localized titles, you can add one title per language.
Optimizing your app / game’s description
We already chose the title for your app / game, which is the most important thing in the ASO process. Your app icon and your app ratings play a major role as well. However, to convince people or potential users to download your app, you need to have a good description.
So, what do we need to put in the app description?
1. Short description – This is somewhat like your sales pitch. E.G.
★An action-adventure video pokies based on Greek Mythology Legends★
- 80 character limit (No Ifs no Buts)
- You can expand this text to view your app’s full description.
2. Long Description – It contains the summary of your app, features, reviews, etc.
This serves as your sales page so make the most out of it.
Things to avoid
- Keyword stuffing (don’t overdo it)
- Typos and grammatical errors (use Grammarly)
- Technical stuff
Note: 4000 character limit. It should also be Copyscape free.
Additional Reminders: Use SEO Best Practices in your Description, but be mindful of Google Play Content Policies regarding SPAM and IP Infringement (e.g. keyword spamming, impersonation, etc). Please refer to full guidelines in the Google Play Developer Program Policies.
To sum it all up, here’s what you need to do (along with the tools that you may use)
- Count letter and charts – http://www.charactercountonline.com/
- HTML Tricks – http://stackoverflow.com/questions/11071127/google-play-app-description-formatting
- Appsense / Check ios top charts – http://www.appninjaz.com/appsense/
- Check the top charts in google play – http://www.appannie.com/apps/google-play/top/united-states/game/game-casino/
- Example of an app with correct description format: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.gamelabs.wildpirates&hl=en
- Keyword density: 2-3% density use for main and 1%-2% for 2 relevant and supporting keywords – http://smallseotools.com/keyword-density-checker/
Total between 2500-3000 characters is recommended (500-600 words)
80 characters – try include all relevant keywords about the app
Recommended description format
Use Grammarly to check for grammar errors, spelling, etc..
Call to action in the end. Example:
<b>Download the new [name of your app / game] now</b>
Don’t forget to use plagiarism checker: http://smallseotools.com/plagiarism-checker/
So here are some ways to improve your app rankings on Google Play Store. As you can change it whenever you want, there’s no reason not to get started right now and to experiment. If you want to learn more about App Store Optimization, download my course here. Or, If you want the cheapest ASO service that provides good results with continuous support. Check this out!
What about you? Any other advice or question on how to optimize your app on Google Play Store?