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How to Optimise Your Google Play Store Listing

Here at Appifany we want to teach you how to optimise your google play store listing and generate a greater amount of traffic to your app's page, which means that more searchers can download your app! This process is called App Store Optimisation (ASO), which aims to maximise the visibility of mobile apps on the Google Play store and rank you as highly as possible on their page.

Just like SEO, ASO has on-metadata and off-metadata factors.

  • On-metadata factors– such as the app title or description – are under the control of the publisher.

  • Off-metadata factors can’t be controlled, but may be influenced by a developer. Examples of these include user reviews and ratings, as well as download volume.

Did you know that nearly three quarters of all apps are discovered through app store searches?Startups and businesses are neglecting the app stores as an important channel if they aren’t implementing ASO tactics to boost their app ranking.

At Appifany, we’re constantly seeking to boost the app marketing strategies of mobile startups we work with. Here's a list of our Top 6 Tips to Optimise Your Google Play Store Listing...

1. Market research

Conducting in-depth market research is the starting step towards developing an effective ASO strategy. In order to increase your downloads, you’ll need to have a clear understanding of your customers, who your competitors are, the strategies they’ve employed and how they’re perceived by your target users.

Start off by stepping into the shoes of your customers. Here are some questions to guide you through the process:

  • What language and terms do they use?

  • How would they describe my app?

  • How would they describe their needs?

  • What are factors that prompted users to start searching for my app?

Next, you’ll need to understand how your app compares within the competitive climate. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What is my competitive advantage?

  • What are keywords that are targeted by my competitors?

  • What are my chances of competing against other apps on the same keywords?

2. Keyword optimisation

Google Play Store adopts a more SEO-like approach where you’re allocated a maximum of 4,000 characters for your app description and the text is scanned through for relevant keywords.

The key is to focus on writing for your users, rather than stuffing your description with as many keywords as you can. What are common terms your users are searching?

When it comes to app ranking, the conversion rate is also taken into account – and a poorly written description with irrelevant keywords will fail to draw customers into downloading your app.

Keep in mind that keyword optimisation is an ongoing process. With numerous apps being published daily, your app ranking will be affected by new reviews, ratings, and downloads – so you’ll need to test and try out different keywords constantly.

3. Ratings and reviews

Ratings and reviews are often viewed as cornerstones to helping your app rank well. Ratings need to be about the customer, and app developers can reframe how they think about the review processes with the question. Frame this in terms of what a review will do to improve your users' customer experience.

Hear your customers out and view their reviews as feedback that can help improve their app. There are several ways in which ratings and reviews can serve as learning tools:

  • What are specific factors that users love about your app?

  • What are users unhappy about? What can you learn from their comments? Are these comments coming from users who don’t make sense for you?

  • How often are your users rating or reviewing your app? If you’re seeing spikes in the volume of ratings or reviews, check this against changes that you may have implemented recently.

It’s important to follow up with a timely, polite response – particularly when you’re communicating with customers who have provided negative feedback. Users want to feel heard, which is why they're willing to write a review in the first place.

Let them know that you’re listening, and are working towards making improvements to address their comments; in most instances, providing a prompt response to unhappy customers is sufficient to alleviate their frustration.

4. App updates

In the ever-changing mobile environment, app development isn’t a one-off task – rather, it’s an ongoing process that requires constant tests, experimentation, and changes.

The process isn’t that much different from a business cycle, where priorities and strategies shift over the course of the year due to changes in the competitive landscape and seasonal demands.

Similarly, an app needs to be updated so that it stays relevant to the needs of its users.

So, how often should an app be updated?

Some have suggested to update an app roughly every 30 to 40 days.Once you’ve published an update, you’ll need to follow through with strategies that’ll encourage users to download the update: update your app description, as well as the ‘What’s New’ section on your app product page to highlight changes that customers can look forward to, and notify current users through push notifications or in-app messaging.

How you communicate app updates will depend on the complexity of the changes, as well as the type of user needs your app serves.

At Slack and BuzzFeed, an editorial team undertakes the task of transforming a list of technical features and bugs into engaging release notes. And at InVision, product announcement emails contain clear, concise copy and animated images – a visually appealing format that strikes a chord with the app’s design-savvy target audience.

This also serves as a re-engagement tactic that encourages users to launch and explore the app after they’ve seen a new icon.

5. Localisation

A recent report from App Annie indicates that download growth on Google Play was heavily fueled by emerging markets. The largest contributor was India, while Vietnam and Indonesia were also key sources of Google Play’s year over year download growth. Both countries saw double-digit growth rates and were ranked 4th and 7th respectively. On the other hand, consumer spend on Google Play was fuelled by mature markets.

So, how do you get localisation right?

  • Identify areas of opportunity

  • Access your competitive landscape

  • Pay attention to the visuals

  • A/B testing

6. A/B Testing

With mobile apps, even the smallest of changes – such as making tweaks to an icon – can have significant impacts on the conversion rate. Angry Birds 2 is a case in point: the Rovio Entertainment team stated that it received 2.5 million more downloads due to rigorous A/B testing of different combinations of icons, screenshots, app description, video preview and cover.

If you’re new to A/B testing, basically most apps have a funnel or flow that is critical for achieving their key business objectives, such as a checkout funnel or a signup flow. Once you have all the stages clearly charted out, you can pinpoint the conversion rate at each stage, which then lets you immediately identify which are the most important stages to focus on. With this, you can then plan out tests for optimising the entire flow.

Lastly, keep in mind that A/B testing is an ongoing process. Developers often don’t take into account seasonalities, changes in the competitive landscape or shifts in market trends when they think about A/B testing – yet, these factors can have an impact on results. A/B testing is an ongoing opportunity to develop and optimise your Google Play Store listing.

To sum it all up…

While gaining exposure for a new app isn’t easy, we hope these tactics, expert insights and examples will help you in mapping out an effective ASO strategy. Before you go, here's a recap of the article:

  • Market research: This is the jumping-off point for developing an effective ASO strategy. There are two areas to focus on: getting a clear picture of the competitive landscape, and knowing your users inside out.

  • Keyword optimisation: Focus on writing for your users, and avoid keyword stuffing. Your targeted, or ideal set of keywords isn’t likely to be the set that you start off with, so take a graduated approach towards more competitive keywords over time.

  • Ratings and reviews: Reframe how you think about ratings and reviews. Ask yourself: “How can I make my customers’ lives better by asking them to rate my app?”

  • App updates: With a recommended update frequency of between 30 to 40 days, updating your app is an ongoing process that requires repeated testing and experimentation. Follow up with communicating the updates to your users, and employ strategies that encourage them to download the updated app.

  • Localisation: To get localization right, make sure you identify areas of opportunity, assess your competitive landscape and pay attention to the visuals.

  • App store optimizsation (ASO) is the process of optimising mobile apps to maxiise its visibility, and rank higher in the search results of an app store. The overall objective is to drive traffic to your app’s page so that searchers can download your app. along.

  • App indexing: To get your app indexed, optimise your content for app-related keywords and focus on the nouns.

// If you liked this article, check out our article on the 200 Crucial Tactics for Ranking Higher on Google SEO here.


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