What Can You Do to Rank Higher in the App Store?

The app economy has become formidable in size. Mobile app revenues are forecast to exceed $150 billion by 2017, up from a projected $111 billion this year, according to the recent ACT report.

Likewise, the number of apps available in an App Store is skyrocketing. Apple App Store has reached 1.5 million apps, Google Play numbers are even higher at 1.6.

All of this makes the entire industry very appealing in terms of business opportunities. However, it also means more competition makes it harder to stand out. And let’s be honest, with App Store discoverability issues, standing out is already hard.

But getting found in the App Store is absolutely critical for any app startup or an indie developer. Currently, general browsing in the App Store is the key driver of new app downloads.

Your Title Matters The Most

According to Ankit Jain, who was the Head of Search at Google Play, the title is the ‘most important’ piece of metadata. So you definitely want to pick a great title.

But what makes a great title? From the marketing point of view, a great title makes it clear what the app is about and it’s memorable. You definitely want it to contain a keyword, yet keep it unique.

Firstly, apps with a keyword in the title rank better than the rest. However, when it comes to ranking among multiple apps all using the same or similar keywords, the uniqueness of the title as a whole is what matters the most.

That’s because most searches are either categorical or navigational. That means people either search for a ‘note-taking app’ or they search for ‘Evernote.’ If your title isn’t very unique, it gets pushed down with all the other apps with generic titles.

However, it’s important to not to get spammy with the keywords. If you use too many of them, you will not only appear dubious to potential users, but there’s also a likelihood you’ll get suspended.

According to Apple, repetitive and/or irrelevant use of keywords in the app title, description or promotional description creates an unpleasant user experience and can result in an app suspension.

And what about keywords in the description? They definitely matter in Google Play as it ranks apps based on the entire context and the general consensus is that they matter in App Store too. What you want to do is, again, avoid being spammy and focus on the natural incorporation of keywords into your app copy.

Ratings and Reviews are Also Important

Another important factor is app reviews. According to Apptentive, most of the top 100 apps have 4+ ratings. Obviously, they’re imperative in convincing users to download your app. But how do you get better ratings?

There are few things that can be done. Firstly, you want to eliminate the negative 1-star ratings, as they have a huge impact on the total average. And data show that unhappy users are more likely to leave a review than the happy ones.

So the best place to start is to make sure you either make fewer people unhappy or solve their problems before they get to rate your app. Having our app well tested for bugs before you get it out is the place to start.

Then, you want to have a support forum and a customer service to respond. The majority of negative ratings and reviews can be prevented just by responding to complaints promptly.

Lastly, you should segment your users. The way that’s done is that instead of asking for a review, ask your users if they like the app. If respond negatively send the to customer service or support forums. If the response is positive, ask them to rate your app.

Obviously, this is just a part of the game. Successful apps are great in nailing all aspects of raising their appeal in the App Store. They have an excellent copy, icon, screenshots, video, etc. So there’s no hack to success. However, diligence pays off.