February 10, 2014: If your organization is submitting a mobile application to Google Play or iTunes, it’s in your best interest to check in with your SEO for App Store Optimization. Keyword research and in turn mobile app optimization play a critical part in gaining visibility, downloads, and a mobile app user base for your business.
Why App Optimization Matters
According to a recent study, 63% of iOS apps are found through searching iTunes, 58% for Google Play. App store optimization matters.
Just as some websites are published without sufficient metadata, many developers throw an app in the store without filling out the tags that tell the app store how to rank it. So many sit undiscovered. The best chance your app has at success is for it to be discoverable through general browsing.
In this case, SEO goes beyond standard search engines like Google and Bing and into the search rankings associated to engines found in iTunes and Google Play.
Mobile App Optimization for iTunes Apps
In the iTunes submission process, Apple includes Title, Company Name, and Keywords tags, all which will all be crawled like title and description tags on a webpage. The order of priority is similar: Title gets highest priority, then Company Name, then Keywords. Interestingly enough, the description from the iTunes store is not crawled for keywords.
Since your company name is usually non-negotiable (and the same for all the apps in your account), the only thing you will need to consider with the Company Name is that it is not necessary for search purposes to use the brand name anywhere else. There is limited space and the company field will hold a high weight for ranking purposes.
This in an example of what an un-optimized submission may look like:
Title: Dinosaur Battle
Keywords: hunter dinosaur trex hunting hunt
And then after optimization:
Recommended Title: Dinosaur Battle 3D – Hunter vs. TREX
Important Factors to Consider:
- Try not to repeat the same keyword in the title and keywords to save space.
- You have space for 100 characters in the keywords section – use them.
- Use around 30 characters for the title.
- The limit is higher, but longer titles don’t display fully.
- If you move to Android, Google Play will cap you off at 30.
- Separate keywords by commas rather than spaces.
- Commas tell iTunes to consider each word individually as well as in combination.
- For example: “Prehistoric,Spears” will be read as “Prehestoric”, “Spears”, AND “Prehistoric Spears”.
To decide on keywords I use Sensor Tower. It gives insight into app store keyword volume – similar to Google’s Keyword Planner. In a pinch you can use Google’s planner for ideas but just go very broad because the app store will have a significantly lower amount of searches and competition.
Mobile App Optimization for Google Play Apps
Unlike iTunes, Google Play DOES crawl the description for keywords. Google gives you 4,000 characters for the description so it’s important to load it with information. More content will give you a better chance at search visibility.
Even though the whole description is indexed for search, the first line or two should be a strong summary for human readers. Use the rest of the space to add items like:
- Quoted positive reviews
- Instructions for using the app
- Bulleted list of features
Google Play does not have a keyword field so the hierarchy is Title, Company Name, Description.
Search engine optimization no longer has a focus solely in the world of Google, Yahoo, Bing. App store optimization may play a critical role that will only grow over time.
So if you’re an SEO and you hear your organization may be submitting an app soon, offer to take a look at the app submission form to see if you can juice it up. To everyone else in the app submission process, don’t forget your SEO partners – they can account for 63% of your app marketing efforts!
About Katie Meurin
Aside from being a proud KoMarketing alum, Katie Meurin is the Director of Marketing for Zco Corporation, a mobile app development company located just outside of Boston in Nashua, NH. Katie helps Zco’s clients with App Store Optimization (ASO) to improve their chances of success in the app store.