Answer to the million dollar question
You’ve just turned that fancy idea into an android app, what next?. Though much time or effort you’ve invested in writing code, you’re successful only if you’re getting downloads – lots of them!. You’ve to focus more on ranking your app at the top of the Play Store. And there is no easy way to accomplish this unless you have the budget to contract with full-service search engine optimization company. Most people think that you actually need to sell your two kidneys to afford a top Google Play ranking for your pretty android app. Well, this is not necessarily the case! Given the clear fact that the success of your android app can be measured by how many downloads its getting, and how many people are satisfied by the use experience, here is everything you need to know to improve app rankings on Google Play.
How Does Google Rank Apps?
Before you can even get started doing all those frantic things to secure a top position, it is important to understand how the marketplace ranks android apps. And even though the exact algorithm that Google employs to govern ranking on the Play Store is a very safe secret, years of experience and keen observation has made it possible for us to grab the most important factors featured in when determining an application’s position on the ranking ladder.
i) Launch Duration
New android apps rank much easily than old apps. Why? Well, users want to try out applications that they don’t already have on their devices – new ones. The marketplace thus gives you a small window of opportunity during which time you can easily rank your android app, otherwise it’s very hard to rank an application that has been on the marketplace for more than a month.
Keywords are of course important in determining what your android app is all about and thus helping it rank for the right crowd.
iii) Download Rate
The number of app installs your app is garnering collected on a daily basis. Usually, assuming that a user has already found his/her way to your app page, an impressive marketing copy, fitted with the right keywords and an honest promise of what users should expect will help enhance your click-and-download numbers (Long sentence. Difficult to follow. Can we list them in bullets?).
iv) Retention Rate
Although there is no sure way to get into the formula that Google uses to calculate the retention rate, it is basically the number of users who download and keep your android app vs. those who delete it within a month’s time. Well, a sure way to ensure that your retention rate remains high is by making sure that your description does not over-deliver (it should simply state, in the best way possible, what users should expect from your android app).
Although the impact of the review scores on android app rankings is often exaggerated, they still count. You’ll want to get very positive review scores for your android app. Of course that means that users like your android app, which in turn will also increase the retention rate.
Strategies to Improve App Rankings on the Google Play Store
Tip 1: Keywords & Conversion Optimization
Keywords are the key to getting your android app to rank in front of the right audience. Use a keyword research tool (Google AdWords) to find out what people are searching for in regards to your app. Include the main keyword in the title, and at least four times in the android app description. Be sure to include other relevant keywords in the app description. Google also advises against the use of variant android app names (app names that are variants of other popular apps). Be creative and detailed with your android app name. Before the user even sees the description, the name should tell them what this android app going to be all about so that users fall in love at first sight.
ii) Conversion Optimization
Using the right keywords alone is not enough to get you volumes of downloads. If only a small percentage of the users visiting your android app page, downloads and install it, then you’ve got a conversion problem. Here is how you can increase the app’s conversion rate and thus improve app rankings on Google Play:
- Graphics – graphics are crucial to encourage users to download your android app. Use the right images (compelling) and demo videos to create curiosity in the users so that they may go ahead to download the android app. You may also want to have a YouTube video promoting your application.
- Make the app description its best – How? Use simple and easily understandable language. At the very least, and in addition to including the right keywords, your app description should compel users to download.
Tip 2: Increasing Downloads
If you’ve gotten the keywords and conversion part right, you’re already two steps in the right direction as far as increasing the click-to-download rate is concerned. The marketplace team uses downloads data in their ranking algorithm, and it’s important to ensure that you’re doing everything to get the most possible number of android app downloads. The widespread fragmentation of android can actually have positive implications for the android app download rate.
a) Hardware declarations in your android app should be made in your manifest optional using android. Also, don’t leave out devices that don’t offer support for this function.
b) It doesn’t make a lot of sense to have various formats of your android app for the different versions of android. All android devices (whatever version of android they’re running) ought to be served from the same APK file.
c) The same codebase should extend support for many versions of the android OS.
Tip 3: Enhance User Reviews
Since the total number of user reviews is featured in when determining where exactly your android app should rank, you need to do everything within your capabilities to increase your android app reviews count. Users will often download an android app that has more reviews (especially positive reviews). This way, getting more reviews not only increases your ranking but also promotes your click-to-download rate. There are several tools you can use to build on your android app reviews. Two most useful app has been listed below:
- AppBoy – a mobile app Customer Relationship Management offers an integrated support platform and gives you the right info on usage and diagnostics that’ll help you digest user feedback. Basically, this app segments users based on their usage and profile, so you may reach out to them via email or in-app communication channels.
- AppTentive– an SDK tool that makes it possible for you to ask users whether they’re satisfied with app. This way, you not only get more users for your app but also get a unique chance to improve your app for better performance.
Tip 4: Build your PageRank
Pagerank is still important to Google, and it’s one more thing you need to consider in order to improve app rankings on Google Play. Basically, all you need to increase your PageRank is effective, consistent SEO that’s aimed at enhancing the number and quality inbound links to your android app page. Here are a few things you may want to do:
- Submit your android app to highly authoritative app review sites
- Guest blog (or ask bloggers to blog about your android app)
- Link to your app page from your website or blogs
Tip 5: App Quality
The marketplace will judge the quality of any android app based on the frequency of user engagement, and the number of uninstalls your app is getting. Here are a few things you could do to continuously increase your android app quality and maintain a high retention rate:
- Take care of bugs as soon as you are aware of their existence. The Google error-reporting facility should provide a good way for you to collect app crashes and error reports.
- Keep improving your UI – learn from disgruntled users and make changes to enhance the responsiveness of the app’s UI.
Generally, the quality of your android app can be improved as much as you keep listening and learning from users.
Tip 6: Maintain Analytics for your App
Maintaining analytics for your android app is the best way to keep an open eye for what users are doing with your app. The Google Universal Analytics hyperlink? is a good place to get started monitoring the performance of your android app. You can also try Flurry Analytics. By understanding how users are using your android app, you can make design improvements, fix bugs and thus earn more positive reviews and a higher retention rate – which in turn boosts your Google Play rankings.
The first and most important thing you should do with your android app is make sure that its high quality even before it hits the market. By the time the first user downloads the app, they should keep it, rank it 5 stars, keep engaged and more so recommend it to their friends on the platform. The feedback mechanism is how users give advice to each other, borrowing from the popular marketing truism.
Nothing convinces a prospect more than a recommendation from a trusted friend
Once your android app is published and ready for downloads, keep fixing bugs and following all the other tips and strategies outlined in this post. It doesn’t necessarily have to be easy; just keep doing everything right and eventually you may rank at the very top. Essentially, getting to the top 10 position almost always gets you more than 20, 000 downloads in a single day – and that is the goal that you ought to be fixated on. If you have any special tips or approaches that have helped improve app rankings on Google Play, feel free to contribute and share with the rest of the community in the comments section below.