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Do you want to increase your app downloads for free? Read these 35 App Store SEO tips!

You’ve put in a lot of hard work to make a great mobile game, and published it on the app stores.

Hooray! Now what?

Marcus Kay, Blogger

May 4, 2017

6 Min Read

Note: this is the second part of a 3-part article about App Store SEO. You can also read the full article of App Store SEO here.

App Screenshots

According to StoreMaven, 60% of users won’t swipe past your first two screenshot images. A better version of your first two screenshots can increase your conversions by 25%!

To make great screenshots, make sure each screenshot is telling a single message about your app. Show your strongest messages in the first two screenshots. The best apps use all five screenshot slots to impress their users, and you should do the same.

Adding texts on your screenshots can help, but make sure they are on a clean background. And try to create a positive impression in the viewers’ mind at all times.

App SEO Pro Tip: Vertical Screenshots
Keep the screenshots vertical. The users can see more screenshots on the narrow screens when the screenshots are vertical.
app seo increase app downloads clash of clans 1 app seo increase app downloads clash of clans 2
Vertical screenshots of Clash of Clans

app seo increase app downloads uber1 app seo increase app downloads uber2
Vertical screenshots of Uber


App Preview Video

Making a video may be difficult but it can increase install rates by more than 23% according to StoreMaven. Don't forget to use a good poster frame (iOS) / feature graphic (Google Play).  This graphic has a big impact to whether your visitors would watch your video.

App SEO Pro Tip: App Marketing Video
Here are some of the essential elements of an effective app marketing video. They are recommended by Apptamin, a company well-known for its app videos and trailers:

  • Use the first 5 seconds to grab the viewer’s attention

  • Focus on the best features, instead of all features

  • Your video should make sense even with the sound turned off

  • Include a call-to-action


App Store Ratings - The Impact 

Ratings and reviews have a great impact on your app downloads. You need an average rating of 4-stars or above. Or else only less than 50% users are willing to download your app. Check out this infographic for more details: app rating infographic


App Store Ratings - Getting Five-Star Ratings

How can you get more five-star ratings for your app? Delay asking for a rating until there’s a likely moment of constructive feedback. For instance, ask when the user completed a reservation, finished a mission in a game, etc. When the time comes, ask nicely, and don’t beg.

What does that mean? Circa News app is a perfect example. It got 90% five-star ratings for every major version. Here is a flowchart of how it asks users if they would like to provide feedback:

app SEO Service - Cicra News feedback flowchart

Image courtesy of Circa News

The key is to encourage satisfied users to leave positive reviews and deflect negative reviews by using a “send feedback” option.

For iOS Developers:

Since the released of iOS 10.3, you can only ask a user for an app rating three times per year.

To make the most of these scarce rating opportunities, you should first identify your app lovers, and then ask them for ratings at the right time.

You may be wondering:

"How can I identify who are my app lovers?"

You can do so by some simple surveys or dialogs.

For example, you can ask this famous "Net Promoter" question on a 10-point scale:

"How likely is it that you would recommend our app to a friend or colleague?"

aso tips nps survey

Those who respond with a score of 9 to 10 are your "Promoters", or app lovers.

aso tips nps

And they are likely to give you 4 to 5-star ratings when you later ask them for app ratings at the right time.

To do this, you can either develop your own version of rating and feedback flow or simply use the tools like Apptentive.

App SEO Pro Tip: The Right Paths To A Review
Direct only positive reviews to App Store, and negative reviews to support.

But what if I already have many bad reviews? Redditor amirrajan shared some awesome tips about how to sweep bad reviews under the rug. He also tells you how to give a positive first impression about your app by making good use of the five-star reviews.


App Store Ratings - Reply To Reviews

Remember to reply the app reviews and feedback! Only the ones who care about your app will spend the time to leave a comment. Show them you care about them as well! This is a great way to let the visitors know that the developer is active too. On Google Play Developer Console, there is a "Reply to a review" option for you to do just that. app seo increase app downloads reply review

For Apple App Store, you can also do this since iOS 10.3 release in March 2017.

On iTunes Connect, go to ‘My Apps > Choose your app > Activity > Ratings and Reviews’.

There you can see the "Reply" option in each of the reviews.

app store optimization reply to review

App Store SEO Tips: 

How to Reply to Reviews

Try to reply to all feedback immediately following a major release of your app.

If you can’t respond to every review, try prioritizing reviews with the lowest star ratings or those mentioning technical issues with the most current version of your app.

When you release an app update that fixes issues users mentioned in older reviews, consider replying to the relevant reviews to let them know that your update addressed their concerns.

Once a user indicates that your response answered their question or fixed their technical issue, consider asking them to update their rating and review.

You can also foster deeper engagement by asking users for feedback on future app updates as part of your reply.


App Store Ratings - One-Star Reviews

One-star reviews are your friends. Read them all. Try to understand why the users complained your app, and think about what you need to do to turn them into five-star reviews. This thought process helps you improve your app from the user perspective. Also, fix all serious bugs, crashes and performance issues.

app seo increase app downloads 1 star ratings

In the end getting more and better app reviews comes down to creating a great app users love. Listen, improve your apps and repeat until you are topping the app store ratings.



[Start from Part 1] [Go to Part 3]

Note: this is the second part of a 3-part article about App Store SEO. You can also read the full article of App Store SEO here.

Marcus Kay

Marcus Kay

Marcus is the founder of Meatti - a platform that helps mobile game developers increase app downloads and revenue using data science. Find him on TwitterLinkedIn and his blog.

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