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Which metadata influence the search results? Which elements impact the position in the search results and are independent of a developer? Can the keywords from users’ opinions be useful in creating the list of keywords? How does the positioning of an app in Google Play look like? Read below to find out more.

Introduction to App Store Optimization (Android) – increase of the app visibility in Google Play

App Store Optimization (ASO), that is SEO for app and mobile games) is a complex process which aim is to increase the app visibility in Google Play store and to increase the conversion of the number of app installations (product website visits – > to install)

The aim of increasing the visibility of an app and a mobile game is simple. The higher number of product website visits, the higher number of users installing the app or game, and what’s more, the higher number of active users in the app or mobile game. This can obviously reflect in positive app or game monetization results.

There’s no better way of organic traffic increase than the properly run process of App Store Optimization (ASO). This part on app positioning in Google play is being devoted to the increase of app visibility in the shop. The second part, which is about to be released any time soon, will concern the increase of installation app conversion.

What’s important, App Store Optimization (ASO), as a rule, is the same as organic traffic of high quality. Contrary to the typical, paid mobile app promotion based on various advertising schemes and marketing networks, the vast majority of acquired users are eagerly interested in what a particular app or mobile game offers. The organic traffic can’t be underestimated.

Often, when looking for the exact reports and elaborations, we find relatively latest resources, in which outdated data and advice come up. In the app and mobile game market every day changes and novelties appear. Hence, constantly updated knowledge relating to the functioning of Google Play store – lists, distinctions and algorithms behind the positioning, is so crucial. It’s key to be alert to upcoming trends, and the activities related to App Store Optimization (ASO) will never end, in the end. We’ve used similar statements already, but these yet were never so true, as they’re now, with the current number of apps in Google Play store being up to date is not just a good practice, is the necessity.

Despite the fact that App Store Optimization (ASO) may be a way for free marketing of mobile apps, it may also cost us a lot of time and commitment. However, this effort will pay off with the increased traffic and higher rate of inversion. The app optimization in Google Play has to be carried out wisely and reasonably.

Metadata – fundamental elements dependant on developer, impacting the app position in Google Play search results.

Not all factors influencing the app position in Google Play store are precisely known. One of the better researched variables are metadata. These are in fact all elements that we can directly influence, i.e., among others developer’s name, app name, short and full description, app URL.

External factors, not related to metadata, are the elements which may not be directly influenced by developer and these are, among others: the number and increase of installations according to a particular keyword, reviews and star ratings, the number of app uninstallations. These aspects can be however improved, but in this case they are not the values editable in a panel, but an indirect result of a promotion and optimization of an app or mobile game in Google Play.

App name: + keywords in title (up to 50 characters)

App Store Optimization Social Casino Game

In the field: title, developer should use up to 50 characters (app name + keywords)

Very important is the app name (the brand name), which should be the shortest possible. The average word length in English is 4.7 characters – it gives a bit more than 10 words within 50 characters limit of Play store. In those several words a whole idea of the app should be included, along with the keywords. The app name with the keywords has a significant meaning in app positioning in Play store for Google algorithms. The name, as well as the app icon, is the most frontal for users. These two determiners can’t be omitted as they create a first impression. I’ve noticed that app and mobile game developers very often forget about using 50 characters (keywords) in the field title.

The name of an app or game should be the simplest and comprehensible, and the use of keywords precise – everything what’s necessary and ‘concrete’ from the competitiveness of particular data’s point of view should be included the title. The importance of the keywords in a title is the greatest, therefore its potential should be used wholly.

If we want any user to operate our app or play our mobile game, he first needs to find out one is already available in the store. Reaching users equals ‘let be found’, and the easiest way is to select right keywords. What can be called the right ones? Such that are directly linked with our app or mobile game. For example, if you market a mobile game, which is a typical slot (like Social Casino), it’s very likely to use in the title the following sequence: The app name: Free Casino Slots, Las Vegas or alike.

„The right” ones in the meaning, for a user, are the ones that answer his questions. For app or game developer the righ keywords are those that can compete with others for the gighest position rank in the store. From this business point of view, it’s important to find target expressions, also being less used ( hard to achieve). For gamer or app user, search results must be coherent and directly related to the type of game or match searched by user.

In optimum search various factors should be included. The match for app or game keywords will look different for the ones which have only been launched in the store and their optimization different after some tome on the market. In the first case, it’s highly recommended to select keywords on so called ‘long tail’ – i.e.: longer phrases, with the least competition. Only after some time it is easier to get around other apps by positioning using the exact and more taken phrases. The match of keywords in the app or game title depends on the volume of a particular keyword search in a certain country, the difficulty of rank list entry with a particular keyword and KEI (Key effectiveness index), which will determine whether you should position the app with use of a given keyword. Keywords in the title section should never be chosen randomly, but based on research prepared to do so App Store Optimization tools. If you mobile games is released globally, try not to give Polish name to it. In the case of below keyowrds, the research should be carried out in the target country.

If a mobile game is available on the Polish, US and German markets, the title should be formatted in the following way:

Poland, App Name (brand): Keywords in Polish, keywords in Polish

USA, App Name (brand): Keywords in English-US, keywords in English-US

Germany, App Name (brand): Keywords in German-DE, keywords in German-DE

App Store Optimization (localization in German)

Short description in Google Play store ( up to 80 characters)

Short description (Tinder)

 

Except for the app icon, it is the name and a short description that draw user’s attention. Google provides up to 80 characters which can additionally persuade the user, that he’s found what he was looking for.

Google algorithms find phrases with which they will associate our app. The significance of those phrases is great in terms of the position. Therefore many developers decide themselves for ‘optimization’ aspect, not ‘the content marketing’. Keywords in a short description are also very important, and it’s worth using the keywords already included in the title. By doing so, we strengthens the description. If you’ve prepared a list of keywords and haven’t managed to use them all in the field Title (Name), it’s worth using them in the short description. In the field short description it’s better to use keywords that will impact the organic results rather than to show the advantages of using the app. Why so? You can inform users about the advantages of your app via advertising video or e.g. first screenshot placed in Google Play.

The title, short description and description should help in increasing the mobile app visibility. The other elements, such as video ad or screenshots should account for a number of installations.

Similarly to the field Title, if you realease the app or game globally (beyond domestic market), short description must be localised through a given language and country.

Long app description (up to 4K characters)

Long description (to 4k characters)

Despite much greater capacity, this field is ‘lighter’ than the short description. However, the lesser content restraints, the greater possibilities. More capacity enables the several repetition of same, important idioms, which you don’t have to ‘stack up’ forcefully. We have to bear in mind, that besides the Google Play algorithms, description is read by users. Thus it’s relevant for the description to be created readable not only for ‘robots’, but people as well. According to various data, long description in Google Play is read by about 2% of users, so the description has no substantial impact on app installations as it’s usually a short video ad and game screenshots that do. The title with the keywords, the keywords from the short description should be also used in the long description. A crucial aspect in preparing a description ( up to 4K characters) Google Play is the prioritization of keywords, that is a keyword match which will provide organic downloads from a short and long so called tail. The relevance of such keywords can be created by using them in the title and short description.

To make long description in Google Play more attractive, you can use emoji, which are often used in mobile game descriptions.

After the title field, short description, description field, you have to localise (prepare in a given language and country) if a mobile app or game is available globally.

App URL ( bundle name)

The path you’ve chosen it can’t be missed. Unfortunately, once we select the address for our app (bundle name), we can’t change it. It’s relevant, as for App Store Optimization (ASO) URL is important in Google Play search results. Hence the address should be well thought over with concrete keywords in the bundle name. It’s worth including the most important keywords for us.

Backlinks leading to apps in Google (linking from external services)

Backlinks from Websites

External linking for mobile apps is not as well researched as in the case of classic SEO in Google browser. It’s easy to find scenarios in which the user reaches our app from elsewhere than Google Play. Users often search for apps for android via Internet browsing on their PCs. Websites are full of lists, comparisons and ‘TOP’ ones, such as:

“10 best clickers for mobile phones”, “Must-have for a tourist with Android” and the like, as well as reviews on topic platforms contain the app URL. It however turns out that external links have a direct impact on results in Play store, and some outcomes are unforeseen and unobvious. The influence of external links on results in Play store is probably related to the fact that Google creates a whole ecosystem of platforms, services and devices. It’s worth building up a great number of links from entrusted platforms with a high coefficient of domain quality ( for analysis you can use Ahrefs or Moz). It’s worth analysing which platforms your app uses. Thanks to this, you’ll be able to create a list of platforms, which can be helpful in launching your mobile app on the market or its marketing.

Elements influencing app’s position in Google independant of developer or within limited capabilities

There are elements influencing an app position in Google Play search results, which are not necessarily dependant of the mobile app developer. Obviously, one can associate some actions with a certain attribute, but, as we mentioned earlier, these are not values you can simply change.

Number of app installations

Number of installs

Increasing number of installations through App Store Optimization (ASO) can become a so called perpetuum mobile for reaching higher position. The higher position, the greater visibility in the store. The more visibility in the store and rankings, the more app or mobile game downloads. A mobile app or game which have been downloaded numerously gains its credibility in Google Play, consequently getting higher in rankings. When launching a mobile app on the market it’s worth combining App Store Optimization with paid acquisition of users. Now, we observe that one paid installation provides 1,5 of organic installation of a mobile app or game.

Installation by keyword

Another interesting ‘perpetuum mobile’ mechanism in Google Play store, which should be included in ASO optimization, is installation by keyword. If a given app is being searched by the user with a particular keyword, and the search is finalised with installation, the keywords goes higher in ranking.

User ratings

Mobile apps eagerly ‘ask’ their users for reviews or star ratings in Google Play. Actually, in most of the listed products, there’s a certain mechanism, whether it is push notification or incentive linked with match mechanism in the game. Developers strive for good ratings not only because of image purposes.

In the case of app ratings, research show that product download of an average lower than 3 is marginal – users are simply not interested in such items. Conversely, a higher rating enables the app to appear in ‘top’ rankings in various categories, greater visibility and better conversion. If comparing two similar apps per exact keywords, the higher rating for one of them would mean higher position on the result list, too.

Reviews

Reviews, besides being a perfect source for credible information, are a sign of users’ commitment for Google, and algorithms love commitment. Active users more willingly buy in Play store, from whom the company takes 30% commission – thus it’s obvious that Google entrust those who are committed. What’s more, using the keywords in reviews influence the positioning. In the case of Play Store algorithms also work there and their presence improves rankings.

When you’re looking for the keywords to the title, short description, description, it’s worth taking a look at those in user’s comments. We often observe, that keywords with a high volume search are often included in app or game reviews. If you find it difficult matching right keywords for your app or game, have a look at users’ reviews. One of the most importants aspects in app user service quality is the interaction in reviews and responding to users and players’ issues. I know by experience that negative opinions can become positive ones, if you show you really care about users’ opinion and react vividly to the comments. Always try to interact with your user even though his opinion can be none to reality, or you disagree with it. We’ve noticed that majority of mobile app developers neglect or have no interaction with their users. To enhance the interaction you can use AppFollow tool.

Number of app or mobile game unistallations

It can be concluded a lot, observing the data concerning the number of app installations and uninstallations. This type of metrics can provide us the concrete ‘insight’ into our app users.
Findings can be derived from their behaviours. If some app or game developer doesn’t pay attention to this aspect, Google does it for sure. Algorithms carefully follow the number of installations and uninstallations, putting up front those mobile apps and games that, according to Google Play store, have best ratings. Number of mobile app or game installations seems to be an obvious determiner in higher ranking. But as we mentioned earlier, Play store ‘doesn’t like’ the apps which are owned short time (weak mobile app or game retention). High number of uninstallations impacts the decrease in app or game position in organic Google Play search results.

In the second part „App Store Optimization in Google Play – how to improve app installation conversion?”, we’ll explain which elements influence the high conversion of mobile app or game installation number. See you next time.

App Store Optimization for Android – how to increase of the app visibility in Google Play? (part 1)
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ARPU Brothers Founder, App marketing agency for mobile apps and games

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