How to Increase an Android App’s Google Play Rankings in 2019
The mobile market is constantly growing more competitive. Thousands of apps launch every day, and users searching for apps find a virtually unlimited number of options. The best way for an app to reach users is through search, since 70% of app discoverability occurs there. As such, marketers will want to use the best practices for App Store Optimization if they want to stay competitive in 2019.
Some key strategies for succeeding on the Play Store include optimizing an app’s metadata, designing creatives that are proven to convert users and incorporating Google Ads into the app’s marketing.
How Does Google Play Index Apps?
When Google Play determines your app’s rankings, its algorithm crawls the app’s metadata to find keywords. The crawl travels from left to right, top to bottom, with increased indexation weight given to terms at the top of the description and the start of sentences. If an app wants to index for “health & wellness,” for instance, it will want to start a sentence with “Health & wellness improvement is easy with this app.”
It’s also important to include core keywords in the title and short description, as these fields are weighted heavily for indexation. As such, including information like “Deck Builder” or “Idle Game” in the app’s title will help ensure it indexes for that term.
To get started, you’ll want to research the Google Play Store to determine keywords that are relevant to your app and users are searching for. You can do this by using an ASO platform such as DATACUBE, which provides information on the search volume of keywords, current ranking and where competitors are positioned.
Once you’ve determined your keywords, the next step is to update your title, short description and long description utilizing these keywords. Remember, the Play Store’s algorithm will find keywords based on their placement, so the description should be written with that in mind. Structure your description so the core keywords are included at the top and front of sentences in order to index more effectively.
Incorporate Best Creative Practices
In addition to properly structuring descriptions for your keywords, it’s important that the store listing is built for conversion. An app’s keyword ranking is based on its click-through-rate (CTR) on a keyword by keyword basis, so if users ignore the app when it shows up in searches, its ranking will suffer.
A key factor for conversion is the app’s creative set – its icon, video and screenshots. On Google Play, this also includes a feature graphic, which appears as the preview image for the video.
The app’s icon and title are typically the only things displayed when it shows up in a search on Google Play. This makes the icon a major asset for converting users; it should catch their eye and make them interested in clicking the app to see what it does.
Once users view the page, they’ll see your other creative assets. This includes the screenshots and preview video, as well as the feature graphic as part of the video’s image. Users may only spend a few seconds looking at the app’s listing before deciding if they want to download it, so those assets should be optimized for conversion.
Make sure your creatives are designed using best practices. For instance, screenshots should include callout text with high-volume keywords. When users see their search query in the app’s listing, especially if it’s called out in one of the screenshots, they’re more likely to convert.
You should also look into what top ranking apps in your space use for their creatives. There may be elements trending among them that you can incorporate. Since the Play Store looks at CTR when determining rankings, finding creative elements that consistently convert can be helpful.
Last but certainly not least, constantly A/B testing each asset can help determine what helps conversion. If a screenshot with a certain style or callout text has a clearly higher conversion rate than another, you’ll want to focus on the designs that perform best.
Utilizing Google Ads
Incorporating paid search can help apps aggressively target terms and focus on improving their rankings for them, as well as help established apps defend their top rankings. Running an effective paid marketing campaign can garner high quality traffic. This lets Google Play’s algorithm know that users are actively using the app, rather than installing it and letting it gather dust. In turn, that helps increase the rate at which you index for terms, so paid campaigns can have a lasting effect.
Additionally, Google Ads can be served on other Google-owned sites where you may not rank organically. For instance, an app’s ad can appear on YouTube to draw users to the Play Store.
Overall, increased installs and high retention rates indicate to Google that users like your app. This will, in return, help you index for the terms in your metadata. This makes it even more important to properly structure your organic metadata before launching a Google Ads campaign; launching one without proper metadata will mean it won’t improve its rankings nearly as much as it could with proper ASO.
If you want your Android app to be discovered in 2019, you’ll want to use App Store Optimization. The best practices include structuring your metadata to include high volume keywords, designing screenshots that help convert users, and incorporating a paid marketing strategy that bolsters your organic efforts.
The mobile landscape is growing more competitive, but it’s never too late to start. With proper ASO, an app can be competitive on the Google Play Store in 2019 and beyond.
Dave Bell is an entrepreneur and recognized pioneer in the fields of mobile entertainment and digital content distribution. He has been featured in and is a frequent contributor to Inc. Magazine, Newsweek, VentureBeat, Website Magazine, Mobile Marketer, Mobile Retailer, and numerous other publications. Dave is currently the Co-Founder & CEO of Gummicube – the leading global provider of data, technology, and services for App Store Optimisation.