Hitting the app store is sink or swim time for your app. And you don’t want to watch as your app disappears into the deeps.
There are over 2 million apps available on the Google Play store right now. Competition on the app store is fierce, with the vast majority of apps failing to capture even a small core audience. But that doesn’t have to be your fate if you know what you’re doing, even in a crowded future.
Below are out 8 killer tips for optimizing your Android apps for the app store.
- Know Thyself
Most of the tips on this list will be technical stuff, so let’s open with the non-technical.
Before you go any further, you need to answer the question: “what the heck?” What the heck is your app? What the heck is your target audience?
It’s amazing how few people in app development and promotion can answer that question. But if even you don’t know what your app is, then you won’t succeed in selling it to anyone else.
Likewise, knowing your customer base will affect the screenshots you use and how you word descriptions, among other things. Knowing who and what you are will form the foundation for everything else.
- What’s in a Name?
There’s a lot of power in names, and an app store is no exception. What you name your app could decide your place in the rankings.
Your app name is like any title: it needs to evoke something. It’s the first chance you have to capture interest, so make your title clear and to the point.
For instance, a health app called Heartrate Tracker will have an advantage over something like The Ol’ Ticker. The latter might be poetic, but it obscures what your app actually does.
An effective title also plays into user searches through keywords. In this example, “heartrate” and “tracker” are both words your audience may be searching for.
You can also attempt to follow the leader to capture a larger app’s audience. This is why you’ll see apps with the words clash, clan, crush etc in their titles. But this strategy can cause you to drown among other similar clone titles, so it’s not always a winner.
- The Key to Keywords
There’s a tricky science to app SEO. Your keywords should feature in your app’s description and are also recommended in your title.
But overdoing keywords can sink your app, too. Keyword stuffing is anti-consumer, so don’t expect it to elevate you above the competition.
Let your keywords serve an organic role. If your description is on-point, they’ll emerge naturally in the language. But do keep a short list of keywords nearby so you don’t forget to hit the must-haves.
To paraphrase Boromir, a little thing can make a big difference. Your app’s icon is an excellent example of that.
In theory, you could throw an icon together in seconds. But your icon is your app’s face. You should take the time to ensure your app is showing its best side through its icon.
Keep your icon clean and to the point. If you can come up with a simple logo that’s both memorable and communicates the purpose of your app, then you’re on the money.
Take your time to get it right, and don’t be afraid to go through a few logo iterations before you launch. Remember to include your logo in the mobile app development process — don’t treat it as a quick job to handle at the end.
- Screen Your Screenshots
Humans love to look at some pictures, and your screenshots are one of the few opportunities you have to scratch that itch on the app store.
Choose a few clear, high-res images that show off some of your app’s coolest moments. Include some captions to highlight the features on show and increase the information density of your screenshots.
- The Showreel
If you want to go beyond screenshots, you can also feature a video on your app store page. This gives users a chance to see your app in action.
Your video should include a high density of information, so your viewers can get some in-depth knowledge that screenshots can’t offer. It also keeps your video from being humdrum.
A quick reel of your app’s best features, for instance, will win out over a slow demonstration of just one of them. This isn’t the time for tutorials. Give your video energy.
- Cut to the Chase
If you’ve brought your audience onto your virtual car lot, then it’s time for the hard sell. But unlike a salesman, you don’t have the luxury of a two-way conversation.
That’s why your description needs to get it right. You need to make what you’re offering clear and predict the questions your audience will ask about your app.
Write down pretty much everything you could ever want to know about your app. Then go through it to highlight the key information. You can start transforming that into the core of your description.
How you present your description also matters. A wall of text without formatting will drive most customers away. Stick to clear headers, bullet-points, and short paragraphs to make your description legible.
- Review Your Reviews
Reviews are one of the trickiest elements of your app store optimization, but they matter in a big way. A low review score is enough to ensure your potential audience never even visits your landing page.
To begin with, you should only launch your app when it’s ready. Rushing it out the door will only guarantee a slew of bad reviews thanks to bugs and incomplete features.
We could write a whole separate article on the psychology of reviews. But one common method of capturing positive reviews is to ask for feedback at an emotional highpoint in your customer’s engagement, such as after they achieve an unlock.
You don’t have many tools to directly manage bad reviews. But you can respond to them with positive, forward-thinking comments to reassure your customers.
Android App Optimization
By following this Android app optimization guide, you can capture the largest possible audience for your app, recouping the time you spent in development and giving you the best possible chance to become an established name.
Looking to optimize your web game, too? Check out our SEO section.