App Store Optimization (© Denys Prykhodov / fotolia.de)
App Store Optimization (© Denys Prykhodov / fotolia.de)

If you want to promote an app then this is a process that has many similarities to promoting a website but also many differences. Some of the same things that work with promoting a website – such as search engine optimization and social media networking are still relevant but must be used differently, while other things meanwhile are completely unique to apps and completely different from what else you might have been used to. Here we will look at some of the different things you can use to promote an app and what precisely the differences are.

If you have a mobile app, then you have a fantastic opportunity to turn a direct profit through sales or advertising, to generate more sales and interest for your business, to collect valuable data, or to market your brand. But whatever the plan, none of these strategies will work unless people actually know how to find your app and start downloading it!

This is why you need to consider app store optimization. This is effectively SEO (search engine optimization) but for app stores like Google Play or the iTunes App Store. This way, you can increase the number of eyes on your app and more importantly – get more sales and downloads!

Optimization for Apps

Optimization for apps basically means ‘search engine optimization’ but as we’ll see, there is a little more to it than that – such as considering the role of ratings, updates, or uninstalls.

Google Search Engine Optimization

SEO – in terms of actual Google optimization - is still relevant but used differently. Of course, you can help to get your Play Store listing to the top of the SERPs (especially as Google owns Android) and you might have a minor advantage here in that it is one of Google's own pages. However at the same time it's also a good idea to look at linking to your App on your website and then promoting your individual pages in the same way through search engine optimization.

Keywords

It's also worth noting that some of the principles of SEO still apply to the way that the Play Store or iTunes App Store rank listings. For instance, the use of keyphrases and key words is still important and you need to try and think about the kinds of things that people will be searching for when they find your apps. This try to include these keywords in your description. To work out what people are likely to be searching for, have a look at the Google keywords tool to get an idea and then go from that – it's likely to translate over to the Play Store too. 

This is an aspect of app promotion that very much does has something in common with SEO. The idea here is to think about what people are likely to search in the Play Store that your app offers. Think of the Play Store as essentially a search engine in the vein of Google or Yahoo, and then think about what people actually look for and type in there.

As well as coming up with something that people will be looking for, you need to ensure that it's something that won't have too much existing competition. Making an app on 'foraging for mushrooms' is brilliant because there's a built in audience there, but at the same time not too much competition (understandably perhaps).

As with regular SEO, you need to use your keywords thoroughly but also avoid ‘stuffing’ to the point where your text becomes unreadable. Aim for the usual 1.5-2% density and consider all of the usual tricks like using synonyms etc.

We don’t know that the Play Store uses the same algorithms as regular Google search, but if it doesn’t yet then it will soon!

Association

Another similar trick is to associate your app with other popular apps. For instance, if your app is similar to another app that you know is popular, then you can always mention this in your description and it will ensure that your app is found by people who are likely to be interested in what you have to offer.

Don't change the name of your app to accomplish this, but just sneak it into your description. For instance, if you were selling a platform game then you could include 'the best platform game since Mario' in the description and then people searching for Mario would be brought to your similar product. This is harder to pull off these days since the store became more saturated, but it can still be effective!

Naming

The name of your app also comes into play here and will act as another keyword. If your app is called ‘BogoApp’ and someone searches for ‘BogoApp’, chances are you’ll come up tops no matter what else you have done in terms of keywords and description.

Creating a more memorable and unique brand name will help you to be easier to locate then, but it will actually make you less discoverable because someone who doesn’t know what BogoApp is, is unlikely to search for that in the store. So, you could name your app using your keyword – but in that case you risk undermining the quality of your app and making it harder to market in other ways. Thus, it may be safer – if marginally more difficult – to use your description alone to rank.

Think about these factors when choosing branding for your app: what is your budget like? What is your long term plan for the app? Is it a simple tool, or a grandiose project?

Ratings

The other way that Google decides which apps go at the top and which fall to the bottom is by looking at people's ratings. In short if you can amass lots of positive ratings then this will inform Google that your app is good and as a result they will promote it for you. Of course, one way to accomplish this is by getting friends and relatives to rate your app for you. Another good strategy is to have a free and paid version of your app – at least to begin with. This way your free app will get a lot of publicity and will be seen by a lot of people, and the ones who like it will buy your paid app. This means your paid app is bound to get only positive reviews – because they wouldn't have bought the full version if they weren't a fan!

Always respond to your reviews. If the reviews are positive or negative you can demonstrate that you are listening, help to address concerns and allay any fears. This is especially positive if you can say you fixed the problem in the most recent update.

More Strategies for Promoting an App

The best way to market a product will greatly depend on what that product is. It might sound obvious, but too many people will attempt to use the same marketing strategies to promote apps and websites that they use to promote books, services and food products. Promoting an app in particular is something that is very unique from promoting other types of products, the reason for this being that you are promoting something that exists in a very predefined infrastructure, that is marketed to a very particular audience, and that will operate in a very specific way.

The tips in this article are all things that you can use to market and promote an app that will work specifically with these programs within the app store and apart from it.

Fill a Need

Another way you accomplish this is to fulfil a very simple need. I'm not going to give you ideas away free here, but for instance imagine there was no app for people doing physiotherapy courses – you can make an app to help called 'physiotherapy students' and you'd probably sell a great deal.

Update Often

Now once your app is out there, update it as often as you can. Each time you do this your app gets boosted in the market and rises through the ranks in search. Doing it more than once every 24 hours won't bring you any benefits, but anything less than that and each new update will get you new users (as well as improve your rankings).

Updating is also important for other reasons. If you never update your app, then you will fall behind as new features are brought to the respective operating system. Google for instance wants to show the very best that Android has to offer. It wants its developers to adopt its no-longer-new material design design language, and it wants developers to add features like instant apps or like Chrome support. If you do these things, then you can ensure your app gets pride of place in the store. Likewise, you need to make sure that you update your app when a new device comes out that sports a higher resolution for instance, or an infinity edge display, or tighter Google Assistant integration.

Build On It

Now in these updates you can start to offer a fuller package and build your app from that initial 'niche-filling' start. This way you can start to create something that you can charge more for, at the point where you already have some exposure and clout behind you.

Connect Apps

At the same time, once you have a few successful apps, you can use these to promote the less successful ones. You can link directly to the Play store in Android apps and there are (currently) no rules to prevent pop ups and other strategies. This makes advertising very effective in your apps as long as they're free and it's a quick way to reach a very large audience. Don't underestimate the value of giving away a free app.

Turning the Tables: Boosting a Website With an App

Just as you can perform SEO and optimization for your app, so too can your app help to promote your current business. The single most effective way to make a website more successful and more lucrative is to increase the amount of traffic visiting your pages. This way you can increase the number of clicks you get on your adverts, increase the potential audience for your affiliate schemes and promotions, and promote your business to the maximum number of people.

And apart from all that, making sure you get at least a good amount, of visitors to your site is an important way to ensure that you have an audience to appreciate all your hard work, and it can be somewhat disheartening to work hard on a website and have no one actually get to see it...

Getting more people to your site however is of course easier said than done and it's something that every site owner is trying to accomplish. There's a lot of competition on Google and on the wider web, and this can make it hard to stand out.

That's why it's important to use not only the more conventional and better known methods of getting your site noticed, but also the lesser known strategies that can nevertheless also be very effective. One such strategy is the use of Android Apps, where you will have more limited competition but still get the opportunity to link a large audience directly to your website's pages.  Here’s how to do it:

Idea: First of all you need to come up with an idea for an app that will get seen. To do this you need to try and fulfil a need that exists on the Play Store and offer something that people are looking for. The best way to accomplish this is to look at the Play Store and to try typing into the search box terms that you think might be popular – if they are then the suggestion will come up just as you are typing it (like they do on Google). Now continue this search and assess the competition – can you beat them? Is there any?

Building the App: Now there are plenty of ways you can go about building an Android App, but one of the most effective and rapid ways to develop is using the recent 'Basic4Android' software. This is basically a paid (but affordable) download that gives you the ability to program Android apps using code that's very similar to Visual Basic. For anyone struggling with the Android SDK and Java this can make the process significantly easier and quicker. Of course make sure your app is a decent quality to ensure you don't get too many people immediately uninstalling the app.

Link: Now make sure that your app also includes a direct link in a prominent position that will take people to your site. Clicking this will load up the browser so it's just as good as AdSense. Avoid including other advertising on your app as this will just dilute the effectiveness of your own marketing.

Now optimize your app and description for the app store and let the app drive traffic back to your site!



         



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