In the world of mobile apps there are
two major places where you can sell your products ‐ Google Play
Store for Android apps and Apple App Store for iOS stuff. Both
markets are really competitive, so if you want to be successful on
either of them, you need to invest your time, effort and money not
only in the development of a top notch app, but also in your store
optimization and promotion.
If you are familiar with App
Store Optimization (ASO) for Google Play Store, or with SEO in
general, it won't be a completely new story for you. Apple App Store
optimization is sort of similar to ASO for Google Play Store but due
to the differences in the ranking algorithms, there are major
differences in the optimization approaches, too.
Here are the major factors that make or
break your good rankings at Apple App Store. Basically, there are 3
groups of factors you need to consider: keywords, visuals, and
While for Google Play Store many
experts don't consider keywords to be of top importance (though many
others dispute this approach), with Apple App Store (almost)
everybody agrees keywords, in addition to the number of downloads,
are the most important ranking factor.
This is so because the ranking
algorithm used by Apple App Store isn't as sophisticated as the one
used by Google Play Store ‐ in a sense Apple App Store is more like
the search engines from decades ago when no complicated algorithms
were used for rankings. Unfortunately, this opens the door to abuse.
Needless to say, it won't help if you abuse the simplicity of the
algorithm and stuff your pages with keywords.
Since you don't have a limitless text
field for keywords, you need to be very picky which keywords to
include. Quite naturally, keywords are most important in the title
and the description, so pay special attention to these areas. It
really helps, if you perform some A/B tests with these to find the
Very often your keywords come
naturally, but sometimes you need to be more creative. For instance,
if you are selling an app with lots of competition, you might have to
think about minor keywords as well. You should start with the major
keywords, but if this drives you nowhere, think a little about less
competitive keywords as well.
You can use tools to give you ideas.
There are many such tools. One of the good ones is this
If you are selling on local markets,
don't forget to localize keywords as well. Localized keywords can
make a huge difference for your popularity!
Visuals are frequently neglected by
developers but they have a huge sales potential. As a rule, the more
competitive your niche is, the more important visuals are. Visuals
include stuff such as logos, screenshots, trailers, etc. Technically
they are not part of the ranking algorithm, but their role is very
important ‐ they attract users' attention and they do help for
Your icon is the first (and frequently
last) visual users see. This is why you need to put lots of effort in
it. It's especially important you use the same icon everywhere in
your app and on your pages. This consistency helps you big time to
build brand recognition.
The same goes for the first two
screenshots. Make them as nice and informative as possible. You might
think that if your screenshots expose all your functionality this
will lead to less downloads because users can see right away your app
is not for them, but the logic is just the opposite. You don't trick
users with vague screenshots just to make them increase the number of
your downloads because even if you somehow manage to fool them, it's
almost certain they will leave you a negative rating. A negative
rating really hurts!
3 Off-site Factors
Finally, off-site factors are one more group of factors to
consider. These can be tricky because they are somehow outside of
your control. These factors include: number of downloads, as well as
ratings and reviews.
In order to increase the number of downloads, you can write good
descriptions that make users go the extra mile and download to see
your app for themselves. However, with the fierce competition at the
Apple App Store, many good descriptions go unnoticed, so don't expect
miracles simply because your descriptions are perfect.
Your second option is paid promotion. You can use PPC,
promotion, or traffic from other social networks/popular sites in
order to bring users to your app and hope they download it. However,
as you probably guess, getting a good number of downloads via paid
promotion is everything but cheap.
The second off-site factor for good rankings at Apple App store
are user ratings and reviews. What you need is favorable reviews, but
these need to be authentic because otherwise they might do you more
harm than good. However, don't pester users for reviews, though ‐ a
single annoyed user can give you such a bad review and a low rating
that it can literally kill your app. While it's great to have
numerous positive reviews, it's much better to have no reviews at
all, than to have bad reviews and low ratings from disgruntled users.
If you make the effort to optimize your
App Store pages as described above, this seriously increases your
chances to rank well there. Of course, even if your pages are superb
(in your opinion, of course), this doesn't necessarily mean you will
be successful, but it certainly makes it more likely. This is why
when you launch a new app, you should always spend time to fine-tune
its keywords, to make its visuals appealing and to promote downloads,
ratings and reviews (in an unobtrusive manner). If your app itself is
good, it's quite possible you will see good results.