App Store Optimizing: ASO For Your Google Play Store

by Kevin Adams March 26th, 2013 

App Store Optimizing: ASO For Your Google Play Store

App Store Optimization is our topic today. Specifically, we will look at Android Apps and how-to optimize your Google Play Store. With the Google Play team celebrating their first "birthday," consumers have gone mobile and whether you are building Shopping Apps, Gaming Apps, or Social Apps, we need to learn the tips to get a piece of the Google Play cake. This article will provide advice on testing your app keywords, increasing app installations, and tracking app metrics.

App Store Optimization

This is your first encounter with App Store Optimization? Relax, SEOs are in luck. Many of your SEO tactics are transferable skills. Let's get started, describe your store. Test your App head titles and App meta descriptions. Grab some keywords out of your Google Analytics or dig into Google AdWords to find relevant and resonating keywords under 'Tools and Analysis.' Don't forget geographical descriptions. Is your Android App specific to a city or country? Also, you'll need to market this app soon, dig into where your audience is located. We'll discuss traffic metrics later and you'll want to know how to keep your cost per acquisition in check! In the meantime, keep these ASO tactics in mind:

  • Test app store titles, meta data and app names
  • Test the search rank for all keywords
  • Keyword Frequency in the Text Body

Actionables: Google Play allows you a Developer Console for uploading your description and meta data. When writing your Store description, do your competitive analysis. Who are the top performers in your category? How have they optimized for success? I just recently updated the Sierra Trading Post Android App in the Google Play Store. Check it out as my example for using the category as a primary keyword in your description. Notice the fold? Be sure to get your keyword frequency early in your Text Body. This will benefit you in your title tags and help audiences understand what distinguishes you from the crowd.

Rank on Google Play

Establish your authority in Google Play. It may be no surprise that the most influencing factor regarding Google Play rank, GET GOOD REVIEWS! This obviously is dictated, in-part, by your developer. However, keep in mind that bad reviews and uninstalls reflect negatively on your Google Play Store ranking. This may be stating the obvious but make a good product! Google Play Store rankings are greatly influenced by the frequency of use or user retention. How do we get downloads and reviews? We have discussed some optimization tactics but let's look at marketing opportunities to increase the number of app installations. Google Play suggests:

  • Create a call-to-action banner to drive downloads
  • Device Art: App marketers should include a high quality, bright and colorful image
  • Exposure- Work with as many traffic sources as possible. (Social and Onsite)
  • Marketers should consider marketing metrics such as gender, age, location, time of the day, etc. in considering cost per acquisition for downloads

Actionables: Develop a call-to-action that messages rewards for downloads, free shipping is one way Sierra Trading Post promotes their Android App. As for exposure, run a campaign that utilizes your social channels and promote reviews by reaching out to tech bloggers who may drive traffic to your app who are more likely to review your product. The bottom line is usually the front of the pecking order. Ask yourself, "What's our ROI?" Are you targeting Android users? Have you created messaging directed towards your mobile site audience? Low hanging fruit should be a cost effective way to test the waters.

ASO Metrics for Google Play

Rank is the goal, but what are your KPIs? Setting benchmarks before you start your optimization and marketing will define what success will look like and provide signposts along the way. You have several traffic sources in mind but how do you know what is performing? Google Play allows marketers to enable a piece of tracking code called "Android Referrer." As Google Developers explains, "understanding the source of your users can help you improve the value of your marketing channels by enabling the attribution of campaigns and traffic sources to user activity within your app." Always considering cost per acquisition for downloads, KPIs will help keep cost down and increase ROI. Here are some suggested indicators:

  • Cumulative Rating
  • Daily Device Installs
  • Daily Device Uninstalls

Actionables: Remember the old saying "You don't know where you're going until you know where you've been." Establish your baseline, benchmarks, and KPIs. When you test several titles, meta tags and keywords, you should always keep a record. Google Play Developer Console tracks your changes with annotations on the timeline but you should keep your iterations in case you discover a decline. With Android Referrer, you should be able to appropriate resources to proven traffic sources to key in on exposure.

ASO Strategy

So we've discussed App Store Optimization best practices and put together an ASO play book. Time to carry it out! Remember your SEO transferable skills, marketing opportunities and metrics are essential to your ASO Strategy. I have recently applied this strategy to Sierra Trading Post's Google Play Store. We are currently ranked 211 in the Top Free Shopping category. Be sure to check back periodically and see how the ASO strategy we discussed today has impacted ranking on Google Play.

Kevin Adams

Kevin Adams is a SEO specialist with Sierra Trading Post, a Top 100 Internet retailer. His focus is on Enterprise SEO, specifically: content marketing, link building, and social media.

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2 Responses to “App Store Optimizing: ASO For Your Google Play Store”

  1. Gabriel says:

    Kevin. Good intro. May be you can also talk about ASO tools available out there for Android? and may be the importance of social signals in Google Play also?
    Good start.

  2. Kevin Adams says:

    Hi Gabriel,

    Thanks for reading. Regarding ASO tools, under "ASO Metrics for Google Play" you will see Android Referrer, this will discuss how to use Google Analytics. I see you have blog articles that discuss other options, but I haven’t gone the 3rd party route and wouldn't be the best person to speak on that topic. Regarding social signals, I think that falls in line with current SEO ruminations on traditional link building v. social signals. Thanks again!

    Kevin