Tag: google play

How to Pick the Right App Store Keywords

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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.

Top Five App Store Mistakes to Avoid

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The Apple App Store and Google Play Store are places where, for some, fortunes are made. However, for many other people they are places where their precious apps can sink below the millions of others on offer – dashing previously high hopes of success. As you no doubt know very well, the app marketplace is a competitive one, so we can’t pretend it’s easy to rise to the top. A good app store optimization tool is key. However, there are also a few “schoolboy errors” that are easy to avoid when it comes time to publish apps. This article discusses five big app store mistakes, and helps your agency avoid them.

1. Explaining the “What” but not the “Why”

Concentrating on benefits instead of features is straight out of “Sales 101” but getting this the wrong way around is a common error. Essentially, people choose and use apps that solve a problem or make their lives easier or more enjoyable, so app store sales copy needs to reflect this reality. Let’s take a photo app as an example: the app may have 100 filters and a dozen sharing options, but it’s better to point out that it has filters that will “enhance memories” or even “make selfies look better!” Instead of listing all the possible sharing options, it’s better to highlight that the app makes it “easy to share your photos with friends across all platforms.” If you have clients producing their own sales copy, you should be on the lookout for this, and encourage them to focus on the “what’s in it for me?” attitude that customers have when choosing apps.

2. Assuming YOU Know all the Keywords

Everyone who’s “close” to an app during development will inevitably start to form an opinion of what kind of thing people will search for to (hopefully) find the app in store. However, it’s possible to become too close and too set in an opinion. It’s therefore crucial to step back and think from an outsider’s perspective. It takes some lateral thinking (and often some specialist SEO knowledge) to really optimize an app store listing so that it attracts searches from the right potential customers. An app store keyword search tool will almost always reveal some rewarding keyword opportunities that will have been missed by people too attached to the project.

3. Ignoring Video

Adding a video to an app store listing is very straightforward and can improve conversion. App users are a demanding bunch with a tremendous amount of choice at their fingertips, so if you can quickly show them exactly what they get if they download, you should see better results that using screenshots alone. The potential mistake here is ignoring the video option due to assuming it’s a big extra job or something particularly time consuming; An annotated screencast style video takes a very short time to put together.

4. Forgetting About Google

Not everyone who arrives at an app store listing does so as the result of browsing or searching their respective app store. Plenty of people still arrive “the old-fashioned way” – i.e. by searching Google, or finding reference to an app in an online article. As such, ensure some promotional effort is going into pushing the apps outside of the app store too. A good example of this is game apps. There are simply so many of them that an app store browse isn’t always the best way to find or choose them. Many people would instead Google something like “best iPhone games for 2017” and choose from a curated list, of which there are dozens! So, don’t let the app store be the sole focus of promotional efforts. Other online avenues are often involved in the sales process.

5. Not Keeping Watch on Reviews

A run of bad reviews can be the kiss of death for an app – so it’s essential to keep an eye on what customers are saying. This needs doing on a consistent basis, otherwise bad things can happen.

One example of this is when a new operating system or device release results in compatibility issues. If someone’s not watching the reviews when customers start to discover such a thing, average review scores can plummet, along with download numbers.

The Google Play Store allows a “right to reply” and interaction with reviewers, who can often be convinced to amend their reviews if you fix their issues and provide good customer service. Apple’s store doesn’t, so it’s important to put out a new release quickly after discovering issues, which effectively “buries” the poor reviews a further click away for people browsing the store.

Obviously, however, the best thing is to keep a constant watchful eye on the reviews and respond quickly to issues that are making customers unhappy. It should therefore be agreed who (agency or client) should keep an eye on these scores and respond.

These five tips are simple but essential. If you take a look around the app store, you’ll quickly be able to find hundreds of examples where people have made these five app store mistakes to their cost.

Five essential steps for Google Play app store acceptance

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Running a mobile app development agency is seriously hard work. You spend weeks and often months ideating, conceptualizing, designing, developing, testing, launching and optimizing world beating apps for your customers, only to be left hanging in terms of when your creation will finally be accepted onto Google Play. We recently looked at the Apple App Store and five essential steps you need to consider when launching iOS apps. Now we’re focusing on Google Play. So if you’re a mobile agency developing Android apps for your clients, here are the top 5 things you need to consider to ensure a quick and painless acceptance process:

1. Determine the size of your app

If you’re developing and marketing client apps to Google Play, before you press the launch button you’ll need to specify the size of your app. The size of your clients app is liable to influence its overall design and precisely how you publish it to Google Play. As it stands the total maximum size for an APK published on Google Play is 100MB. If your Android app exceeds this size and is greater than 100MB (or if you’re attempting to offer a secondary download), Google recommends using APK Expansion Files. Google Play will then host the expansion files for free and automatically handle the download process across multiple devices.

If you’re busy managing multiple Android launches for your clients, using APK Expansion Files is an awesome way to provide a convenient and cost effective means of deploying large apps that exceed the 100MB limit imposed by Google. However, there are a few things you should consider in relation to the use of APK Expansion Files. Firstly, using APK Expansion Files will require some changes to your app binary and you’ll need to make those changes before creating your release ready APK.

If you’re an agency looking for a slick way to minimize the size of your app binary, try running the ProGuard tool or something similar that can obfuscate your code when bundling together your release-primed APK.

2. Create your platform and screen compatibility ranges

Before launching your latest Android app to Google Play app store, you need to specify your ranges for platform and screen compatibility. This means that your Android app will be optimized to run properly on the Android platform versions and applicable device screen sizes that you wish to target.  

In terms of overall app-compatibility, Android platform versions are neatly defined by API level. You’ll also need to consider confirming the minimum version that your app is compatible with <minSdkVersion>, as this will influence how your app is distributed to Android devices once it’s published.

In terms of screen-size compatibility, you need to confirm that your Android app is capable of running properly and looks awesome on the exact range of screen-sizes and pixel densities that you’re aiming to support. However, if you’re unable to provide scalable support for multiple screen sizes, you can declare the minimum screen size supported by your apps using <supports-screens>. Google Play can then intelligently restrict the availability of your apps, ensuring they can only be deployed to devices with your specified screen types.

Obviously this approach could be bad news, particularly if you can’t control the devices that the ap will run on. All good for a business app where the device the app is running on is known. Not good if it’s a consumer app as it could considerably limit who has a chance to see and download the app.

3. Choose if your Android app will be free or paid

When launching apps to Google Play, you can decide whether they are set to be downloaded for free or priced. If you’re developing a free app, it will be available to any Android user accessing the Google Play app store, whereas paid apps work slightly differently. If you’re developing a paid app for Android, you’ll need to be aware that your app can only be downloaded in countries that support paid app downloads and possess an authorized form of payment within Google Play (debit/credit card etc).

This might seem like an obvious consideration when launching your client’s Android app, but making the right choice is fundamental. Making the call on whether to make your app free or paid is essential because once you dictate that your app is set be free, it must then remain free and you won’t be able to change it in the future. This means that you cannot launch your app as free and change it to being paid in the future. However, if you set your app as being free, you can still roll-out in-app products and subscriptions at a later date through Google’s in-app billing service.

However, if you set your app as being paid when it’s launched, you can then change it at any time and revert back to being a free app. But, if you’ve changed your app from paid to free, you cannot then revert it back to being a priced app. Confused slightly? Don’t worry we’ll keep you on top of things. Basically you have to consider whether your app will be priced or free well in advance of launch and build your development/launch plans to suit. If you haven’t already considered it, and are developing a paid app to sell in-app products, you’ll need to set up a Google Merchant account before you proceed to launch to Google Play.

4. Get to grips with the Google Play review process

The acceptance process for Google Play has altered considerably since it was first launched so it’s essential that as an agency, you’re constantly on top of all the latest changes to the rules and regulations surrounding the Google Play acceptance process. If you’re a mobile agency developing a new app and trying to meet a launch deadline for a client, it’s essential to keep ahead of the game and always stay on top of the rules to avoid missing a crucial client deadline.

This means that if Google shifts the goalposts, as it does consistently in order to provide a better experience for developers and app consumers alike, you’re always one step ahead and positioned in the best possible place to deliver maximum value for your loyal app clients.

So back in March 2015 Google changed the way in which apps are accepted to Google Play and changed to a human-driven app store review process. As a mobile agency, this represents a fundamental shift in the way you design, develop and ultimately launch your apps to the store. Understanding the review process will influence every aspect of your mobile app development project in terms of being able to launch on-time, bug-free and keeping your customers sweet. It’s not just timing that’s a fundamental consideration when it comes to acceptance. You’ll also need to focus on the quality of the apps you develop for customers as Google continues to improve the app store experience for developers, businesses and consumers alike.

5. Test, test and test again

If you’re an agency developing apps through an MVP methodology framework, the temptation is to launch your app to Google Play before it’s actually ready. Balancing a ‘lean’ philosophy with quality control is a constant balancing act for all mobile agencies so it’s essential to plan your launch date well ahead of schedule. The whole point of developing an MVP is to optimize your Android app once it’s been launched, not to use potential app users as guinea pigs to test an app that is full of bugs and does not work properly.

If you’re developing mobile apps for Android there are a bunch of solutions you can consider using to maximize your chance of a successful submission: HockeyApp, Appaloosa, TestFairy, Play Store and Apphance. These tools offer a variety of features for your Android project including support for continuous deployment, mobile version support, support for individual permissions for testers and distribution list permissioning.

The final word on Google Play app store acceptance

If you’re an agency in the business of launching mobile apps for your clients, it’s always beneficial if you can increase your chances of a speedy submission. Please be aware that the above is not a complete list of things you need to consider before submission but more of a guide on how to get you started. In actual fact, there are tons of things you need to consider in order to maximize your chances of a quick approval and the five tips we’ve listed above will only act as a starting point. The reality is that understanding how to ensure your clients apps are approved quickly comes with first-hand experience of the process.

If you’re interested in learning more about generating new streams of monthly recurring revenue for your mobile agency, then you may find this recent blog series useful.