How to Optimise Your Mobile App for Higher Installs

Make Your Mobile App Rank Higher in Search Results and Attract More Installs

When optimising your mobile app for search results in app stores the principles stay the same as with SEO for websites but tactics are slightly different. Application stores’ search algorithms have still some catching up to do when it comes to relevance and complexity of algorithms themselves, therefore optimisation tactics resemble old style search engine optimisation, when keywords were the single most important factor.

The formula remains the same: you need to optimise your on page elements and get social proof which serves as a popularity signal and determines the rank of your app.

Here is an overview of the most important factors for app optimisation in both Google Play and App Store:

Google Play

  • Keywords in the app title. This is the most important element of Google Play rank, so it is important to use relevant and high volume keywords here. There are certain limitations, of course. You can use about 10-12 characters including spaces to fit it under an icon. Don’t forget to include your brand name too.
  • Keyword frequency in the app description. When a keyword is used several times in the app description, the app’s rank is increased by up to 20 spots. Don’t over optimise, it still needs to be readable. It is also recommended to use the name of your app in the app description as it’s also searchable in Google Play. App description is very similar to a website page description which appears in the Search Results. Include a call to action and talk to your target audience to encourage higher CTR.
  • Choose the most relevant category. Some categories might appear more attractive than others but if you have a niche product you might have less competition within your category, so consider this as an option for your app.
  • Number of net installs counts. Not only number of new installs is important but also how many people uninstalled your app. The more “net” installs your app has the higher its rank is. Google tracks uninstalls and only takes into consideration installs which are still active.
  • User reviews. The more reviews the better; and this is also considered as one of the ranking factors. Positive reviews are great for both search engines and convincing real people to install your app.

Apple Store

Pretty much the same principles apply here but unlike Google Play the search algorithm in App store is quite primitive.

  • Choose the right keywords. The search engine doesn’t take into consideration synonyms, plurals or typos. If your high volume keyword falls into one of these categories you need to include it separately.
  • Separate your keywords with spaces or commas but not both. For example, “keyword1,keyword2,keyword3” or “keyword1 keyword 2 keyword 3”.
  •  Start your app name with first letters of the alphabet or a number. Search results in iTunes could be ordered alphabetically, so it can help your app appear higher in the list.

These are some simple, quick to implement tips on getting your app rank higher but you also need to consider off page optimisation factors and promotional tactics. Link your app from as many places as you can: your own web properties, user reviews websites and partner sites. Ask your existing users to review the app with push messages. Happy optimising!