Tag: app store

How to Pick the Right App Store Keywords

pick-right-app-store-keywords

With over two million apps in both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store, it’s important to do all you can to maximise the chances of people finding your clients app(s). A crucial part of App Store Optimisation (ASO) is selecting the correct app store keywords to use to show both the stores, and your apps potential customers, what your app is all about. This task is much like the Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) that’s so important to the success of a website – and just like that takes effort, research and expertise.

The article puts forward five tips to help you with your keyword planning and give you the best chance of your app being discovered via searches.

Obey the guidelines

Before you start, you should familiarize yourself with the guidelines both Apple and Google make clear regarding listings for their stores. (You’ll find information for the App Store here, and the Play Store here).

The guidelines Apple and Google set have many similarities, and both companies strongly advise against grey / black hat optimization techniques, particularly involving excessive “stuffing” of keywords into app names and descriptions. However, it’s just as important to learn the differences between Google and Apple’s approach as it is to learn the similarities.

For example, Google Play Store indexes descriptions, so keywords within descriptions are key there (within sensible reason). Apple, meanwhile, focuses on a specific keyword field where you must select keywords up to a 100-character total limit.

As such, it’s well worth taking time to optimize your listings for each store individually. Broadly speaking, there are no big “tricks” you can employ here – algorithms are generally sophisticated enough to reward those who do good research and optimise their listings whilst obeying the guidelines.

Do your research

With the above in mind, it’s clear that research is the key, and it begins with a well-conceived list of the keywords you think you need to target.

Your objectives should then be to:

  • Learn how many people are searching for those keywords.
  • Ascertain what the competition is like for each.
  • Choose which subset of your app store keywords is most likely to bring you traffic.

As with traditional SEO, the idea is to find keywords where there’s a healthy level of search traffic AND a low enough level of competition to stand a chance. Very general keywords such as “camera” may have vast traffic, but will also be so hotly contested it’s hard to stand a chance.

It’s best to use a combination of tools to conduct this research. Traditional SEO tools such as Google’s Keyword Planner are helpful for starters, but dedicated App Store Optimisation tools are a better choice, and will allow you to look at both your chosen keywords and those being used by your competition.

Find your niche

Hopefully you will already have a clear niche in mind for your app, but the keyword research exercise above will quickly reveal if the niche is too broad. With so many apps in the marketplace, yours needs to be different enough to throw up some keywords that hone in on where the app is unique.

These will end up being the search terms that lead people to your app rather than your competition. ASO tools can help you find new keyword inspiration, but it bears repeating that a USP for your app that you can play into some of your chosen keywords is crucial too.

Consider localization

This may not apply to all apps, but if the intended audience spans different countries and languages, you can make use of localization to give you more space for descriptions and keywords – one set per language. Investing time in professional translations of descriptions and keywords can pay dividends if you think it’s likely people could search for the app using keywords in other languages.

In the case of the Google Play Store, “machine translated” localizations are added automatically, but if you’ve used Google Translate you will know that these are sometimes amusingly inaccurate. For a small investment, you can give a professional impression to customers who speak other languages AND give yourself extra space for local keywords.

test different app store keywords

App store optimization isn’t a one-off task. It’s vital to continually monitor both your clients and your competitors’ apps to see how you are ranking for various keywords, as these rankings will never remain static for long at all.

In time, the chances are you will begin to finesse your app store keywords strategy, but in the early days it’s likely you’ll want to do plenty of experimentation with different keyword sets and descriptions. One feature to look for in a good set of ASO tools will include keyword tracking – which will allow you to monitor how keywords are doing over time.

Equally important is to leave them running long enough to extract meaningful results. App store ranking algorithms will always be something of a mystery, but many factors will play a part, from reviews to uninstall rates, to the authority of incoming links to your app. It’s a good idea to do some A/B testing on the app listing – to try out possible keyword variations.

With so many things playing a part, it’s important to work to ascertain what changes are helping or hindering – do too many at once and you’ll struggle to work that out!

In the end, picking the right app store keywords is both an art and a science – but, with a little practice and testing – you’ll soon be able to get your clients apps found in no time.

Five Ways to Avoid Bad App Reviews

avoid bad app reviews

The best way to avoid bad app reviews is simply to plan. A set of bad reviews for a mobile app can seriously undermine the chances of your client’s app succeeding. People are simply less likely to download something with a low average rating, and it’s both difficult and time-consuming to push the ratings back up once a number of poor reviews already exist.

It doesn’t help that apps for almost everything are so readily available. Users lose patience very quickly and don’t hesitate to move on and try something different to meet their needs.

It also makes little distinction if the app in question is free; Whether or not it’s completely fair, people can be just as savage about free apps as those they’ve paid money for. Therefore, ensuring reviews are solid is equally important for both free and commercial apps.

But it’s OK, you’re there to help your client deliver that awesome app and equally awesome in app experience for downloaders. So, what can you do to help your clients minimize their chances of bad app reviews?

Thankfully there’s plenty you can suggest to help:

Testing = Good.  Testing Paralysis = Bad

Testing Paralysis is a condition where you just don’t know if your app is ready, so you keep testing and testing and testing. You want perfection, you don’t want to risk bad reviews and you know you only have one crack at getting it right. Well the reality is that no app is borne perfect first time. There will always be things that just don’t work as you expect. But that’s OK. It’s about striking a balance between getting your app out there and learning from real users experiences and making if function well so the user experience is awesome. Learning and Refining is the way to go. But, and it’s a big but, make sure that the core features and functions of your app, the things that you expect users to get most value from, are up to scratch.

The key way to make sure an app makes the grade is really understand your Product MVP, and with that they most important features of your app and then test these as extensively as possible.  The defining with your client what’s really really important within the app and the pre-release testing phase are some of the most important parts of the development cycle. Testing carefully against the MVP in particular should never be treated as a superficial part of the process.

With all this in mind, when you are planning the project make sure you avoid project crunch, and if you need to crunch, make sure that testing isn’t the first thing to go.

Make Sure App Users Know What to Expect

Sometimes, poor app reviews are less about fundamental problems with the app and more about users misunderstanding what to expect from it.

It’s therefore imperative to build in ways to ensure app users have realistic expectations. This begins with the store descriptions, but also involves including useful introductory pop-ups that explain how the app works, and easy access to concise documentation so people learn what they’re doing before losing heart and ranting in a review.

Take a look at these App Store readiness guides for more useful information about getting this right for iOS and Android.

Also video overviews are becoming increasingly used and are powerful ways to get the essence of the App across, so downloaders will know what to expect from the app. We can help show you how it’s done, just get in touch and ask about our App Explainer Videos.

It essential to encourage clients to step back from their own knowledge of their app and their business and see things through the eyes of someone expecting the app to solve a specific problem. “Oh, but that’s not how it’s supposed to work” should never be a reaction to a bad app review. If it is, an opportunity’s been missed to properly inform the user. One way to really dig into that with clients it so ask the right questions up front. Here’s the 20 most important questions to answer up front with your clients.

Keep Communication Open With Users

One way to avoid bad app reviews is to actively encourage contact if downloaders are struggling to make the app work as they need.

If downloaders are, for example, proactively and politely persuaded to contact a support team who will efficiently help them, this could stop bad reviews in their tracks. In fact getting this bit right turns doubters into fans instantly.

It’s also worth noting that while app producers have a “right to reply” to bad reviews in the Google Play Store, this is a little like closing the stable door after the horse has bolted, because not that many people are likely to retract a bad review.

Test. Test and – yes – Test

Yes, this refers back to testing, but it’s important enough to warrant a mention of its own.

It’s especially relevant to Android apps, because the huge number of device and operating system options can frequently throw up unexpected anomalies. However, it’s still important with iOS too, as there are plenty of iPhone and iPad variations out there.

Realistically, you won’t be able to arrange for your client to test on every device out there, but the general rule should be that the app should be tried out on as many device types and screen formats as possible.

Don’t Rush

It’s hard to beat the natural inclination to get the app “out the door” and into the store.

In fairness, clients and developers often have an equal sense of haste regarding this. The clients want to see their app on the virtual shelves as soon as possible, and developers often need to free themselves up for the next project.

However, an app launch delayed by a couple of weeks that results in decent reviews is always preferable to a rushed launch resulting in a nasty average rating in the app stores.

Urgency to sign off is often self-inflicted, so it’s worth considering if there’s really any commercial damage that will be done by delaying until final issues are ironed out. This is one situation when good things come to those who wait.

Avoid Bad App Reviews

Hopefully these tips will help avoid bad app reviews. Some are inevitable, as some people are simply impossible to please – but many are easily avoided. Poor public perception of an app reflects on the developer and the client alike, so it’s essential that everything possible is done to avoid it.