By Paul Morris
App Store SEO, or ASS for short is yet another black box algorithm that in this case Apple created.
The October iOS6 redesign has made ASS even more difficult as the new laborious search ‘flipping-through-an-app-at-a-time-like-I-have-nothing-better-to-do’ feature has replaced the old skool/ sensical scroll down a vertical list of 25 results. This results in people tiring of search quicker making ranking highly in the SARPS (Another acronym I just made up; similar to Google SERPS but standing for Search App Result Pages) even more important.
Well I would like to offer some advice on how to develop ASS:
NOTE: As eluded to above, IOS 6 hit in October and included a Chomp (Apple bought out Chomp; an app search specialist, earlier this year) inspired rethink; I have accounted for this development in the below however as its ramifications are still being felt I cannot pretend to understand all of its nuances.
App Store SEO Optimisation Advice:
Due to the new iOS 6 layout users will spend less time searching through the SARPS; instead adjusting behaviour and utilising more specific keywords.
As a result (and to be frank it was already the case) it is super important you target relevant search queries. I cannot advice if you should go after Fat Head, Chunky Middle or the Long Tail as I do not know your business however just think carefully about your targeted keywords.
Also be careful with your category selection. Not only does this play a part in the ASS algorithm relevance score but some categories are easier to rank in than others hence if your app is relevant to several categories pick wisely based on search volume, competition, potential to gain a top 3 ranking, etc.
2/ Social ASS
A tailored version of Social SEO for the App Store is required, particularly for smaller developers, as Social promotional activity is key to draw attention to your app so you do not just rely on in app keyword optimisation to get your app noticed.
Your logo and first screenshot are key to aid CTR; particularly now due to the new visual-centric Search functionality. Get this right and pay reasonable bucks (sorry; turned American there for a moment) for great design. I list 3 good digital resources here that you could use for sourcing visuals
The volume of ratings obtained and the out of 5 score plays a part in where the app ranks.
As a result build a great app (kind of obvious I know but otherwise it will rank nowhere) and encourage early adopters who are likely to leave positive feedback e.g. brand advocates. Also make sure you ask for ratings as if you don’t ask you don’t get.
Use relevant keywords in your app title (particularly key) and the keywords section. Spelling mistakes and plurals can also result in significantly different results (just sayin; do not go out and start placing 15 misspellings of the word ‘Casino’ in your 888 Poker app keyword field). Make sure you also optimise keyword PHRASES; particularly after recent algo amends saw some developers, such as this one, disappear of the face of the app earth.
6/ Descriptions and Images
Less for ASS but certainly for ultimate ASS (as more downloads aid, hopefully, the number of good quality reviews you receive). The first bit of text (description field) and the screenshots are key to generate downloads. If you have great reviews from well known titles then use these to assure consumers you are worthy of being put on their phone.
7/ Do your research
Don’t just read this article and think you know it all.
Also watch out for the beta version of Google Analytics that will aid your mobile app understanding.
And finally check out the lengthy Apple Developer page to get under the skin of app submission
IOS Summary: Ultimately it’s a watch this space notice. The acquisition of Chomp and Apples determination to fix its average algorithm and UI will continue to play out over the coming months and you need to keep your ear to the ground to keep ahead of the other ASS’es.
Google Play Store ASS
And here is a great link to a post about optimising apps for the Play Store.