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Apptimization – Killer Techniques to Rank Your Mobile App!

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What is Apptimization?

Apptimization is the collective organic set of SEO signals to help land your mobile or tablet app in the Top and Trending Lists of the Google Play Store. How do we do that, you ask? First we need to answer a couple questions:

  • Determine who is going to use your app. Without knowing your target audience, you cannot begin to reach them and this will muddy the ranking signals.
  • The second question is how your app will be searched with regards to device, geo-location, and time of day usage.

More and more mobile behavior studies are published throughout the industry showing the time behaviors of users and the devices used. Will your app attract users during their daily commutes? Then your app should most likely target the mobile phones. Is your app a companion travel app that operates better on a tablet? You’ll want to target tablet lovers and their nighttime usage.

Targeting your audience by device and marketing your app to the time of day will help make a difference in your app rankings.

Why is Apptimization Important for Your Mobile App?

By optimizing your app for search, you increase your chances for stronger App Store Visibility, which in turn creates higher Search Visibility.

Every month Google reports on over six million search phrases to find apps. Half of those queries are from users searching for new apps every week, and out of those users, twelve percent are searching daily. Is your app in its best SEO health?

Over 60% of app are found through organic search.

Could you improve your app’s title, description, and user expectations to help determine if your app is the right one for them?

Google Play Developer at Google IO discussed what app developers needed to help create discovery on Google Play. Anit created a webinar to help outline these specific points, and dives much deeper into the topics found in this forty minute session. You can find Anit’s Google Play Store Apptimization video here.

The Anatomy of Great Mobile App Meta Data


The most important ranking aspect to your App metadata is the title. Use the most relevant keywords to describe what the app is by keeping it short, precise, and relevant to support the brand.


As with the title, your description needs to be short, sweet, and directly to the point. Take for instance the Star Chart app. The descriptions says it all – “A Planetarium in Your Pocket.”

  • The main message of the app should be in the VERY first sentence.
  • What is the goal for the app and how does it provide value for the user?

Set the User Experience

The Little league Weather Bug App provides an exceptional app title, description, and screenshots as well as a video demonstrating the purpose of the app and how to use it. Immediately, the user knows this Weather Bug app searches for deadly lightning strikes for little leaguers and sends out warning alerts for storms.

Show your potential app user how to use your app.

Developers who take the time to demonstrate how to use their apps avoid problem areas such as poor user experience, misunderstood applications resulting in an uninstall, or worse yet – a negative review.

  • Provide screenshots of what each page showcasing the apps features.
  • Load Video Previews – Anit stated in his Google I/O video, “Developers say this single feature of apptimization is one of the most important features for user adoption. Beta users in studies have said the video usage is the most convincing feature of the app detail page.”

App Reviews and Ratings

  • Investing and ensuring users are reviewing apps help provide the strongest signals for Google Play’s algorithms.Test your app first, roll it out to a beta group, work out the kinks for each device and most important – listen to the feedback. Fix the bugs and create an awesome app.
  • Order the review ratings relevant to the user. Showing what is relevant to the potential app user, reviews from their local area, and trusted users can be critical to a successful download.
  • Reviews from people in the same city and country as the current user show relevant usage and value to the user.
  • Ultimately, think about who the app targets and the types of devices they will use at certain times of the day. If you target users on the wrong device at the wrong time of the day, it can pollute the ratings if the app does not work for them.

What Affects the Google Play Store App Rankings?

This is a great question and of course, since we’re talking about Google, this list is just a few of the main algorithms the search engine uses and tweaks constantly.

  1. Installs – the more installs your app has on devices, the higher in the rankings you’ll achieve.
  2. Uninstalls – poor user experience and uninstalls directly affect the SERP rankings in the Google Play store.
  3. Long Installs – the amount of play-through or long-period usage encapsulates data for a better overall ranking.  The better your app, the more your target audience will use it, thus affecting the rankings.
  4. Engagement – How is your target audience using the app? When? What function does the app provide the user?  If it isn’t the right match on the right device, this can hurt rankings rather than help them.
  5. User Dimension – Google is constantly slicing and dicing their algorithms to improve the user experience and geo-locations. People tend to load different apps from phones to tablets. Make it easier for users to get what they want, where they want it.

Organic search for your apps is just the tip of the iceberg!  Learn more with our article on paid apptimization.

You can always learn more search tactics to implement for your app or website by downloading our ebook!


Cited Source – – Source Google I/O 2013 – Getting Discovered on Google Play