App Store Search Optimization

How does an app become successful in the App Store? There are mainly two ways:

  1. PR + Marketing (expensive, but probably the only sure way to get to the top 25 list)
  2. App Store SEO (no cost, immediate result, good for niche apps)

Why is SEO important for all apps? Nielsen research shows that 63% of iOS users find apps just by searching App Store. That’s more than half, and it matters. In this blog post I would like to present a few simple tricks that can help getting higher in the App Store ranks:

App title

First of all, it’s important to remember that an app’s title is the single most important metadata factor for the rank machine. The second important fact is that the iPhone displays up to 25 characters of an app’s title — so make sure that this text provides as much valuable information about the app as possible.

Another thing to remember is that user searches are either categorical or navigational. A navigational search is something like, “Angry Birds” or “Evernote,” as opposed to categorical queries such as “bird game” or “note taking app.” If you focus on navigational searches, try to make your title creative, so it is more likely to be remembered. It is very hard nowadays to come up with a unique app title, but it’s worth the effort. Currently the word “flappy” produces over 2k results in an App Store search, and it all started with one simple game…

App Description

An app’s description text might be split into 2 parts:

  • Above the fold – 2 lines of text, should be used to present the top use case
  • Below the fold – read only by a small percentage of users, might be a list of other use cases and any additional information

App Keywords (100 chars)

  • Don’t use multiple-word phrases; break out to individual words (Apple can combine them for you). “Fitness tracker” should be listed as “fitness,tracker.”
  • Don’t repeat keywords that are already in your title (and put the most important ones in your title, leaving the keyword field for your secondary keywords).
  • Separate keywords with commas, and don’t use spaces anywhere.

Tools

There are already a few (free) tools, which help monitoring an app in the App Store. It’s really worth it to use them: