THE BLOG
10/20/2015 02:35 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

10 Ways To Increase Mobile App Rankings and Downloads

The age of mobile is upon us, and as a result, many emerging and existing brands are taking their online presence to the next level by introducing their own mobile apps. Developing a mobile app and building that platform into a strategic business plan enables you to reach users when they are on-the-go and using a smart phone or tablet.

However, developing the app itself is only half of the battle. In order to generate business growth and get your app in front of your valued customers or potential customers, you need to be prominent in app rankings. Take a look at our top 10 tips below to help optimize your app for more downloads and better rankings in the iTunes App Store and Google Play:

1. Traffic and Volume
Generally, you need about 5,000 to 10,000 downloads in a short period of time before you can start appearing as a ranked app. That being said, in order to make this happen you need to generate traffic to your mobile app. During this time when your app is new, it's key you implement marketing initiatives that have performed best for your brand in the past. Whether you focus on SEO, PPC, email marketing, or any cross-channel collaborative efforts, you want to do what you can to attract as many users as you can.

2. Keep It Consistent
Once you've built up a substantial population of active users, you have to maintain a certain threshold of monthly downloads in order to consistently secure a top ranking. Aim to garner approximately 20,000 new users each month until your presence is prominent and stable enough to still draw attention. Integrating some of the best practices listed for app store optimization as listed here will help to make this feasible.

3. Appropriate Screenshots

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Sometimes, images can speak louder than words. When you're selecting screenshots that will appear with the description of your app, choose images that fully represent what your app does. Including descriptive screenshots is a great opportunity to explain to your audience the premise of your product without saying anything with written words. Decide what single image would best explain what your mobile app does if your audience were to only look at that one image.

4. Real, High-Quality Reviews
Genuine reviews that showcase users with a positive experience help generate brand credibility and encourage more customers to download your mobile app. Aside from showing potential users that the app is highly-recommended, great reviews also send a signal to respective app stores that your rankings should increase because so many users are reporting a positive user-experience. Similarly, if a lot of users are posting poor reviews because an app is difficult to use or is filled with frustrating bugs for instance, this can decrease your ranking.

Most importantly, never resort to buying fabricated reviews. All reviews should be organic and genuine. Fake reviews can result in suspension from the iTunes app store or Google Play.

5. Social Integration
Don't forget about your users on social media. Keep them engaged and interacting with your brand, by further promoting your app in the online communities they're active in. Your social media strategy plays a major role in the success of your app because it's a valuable opportunity to produce engagement with your stakeholders and build a relationship with them. Develop content for platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram that not only encourage downloads, but explain why users should use your mobile app. Showcase the benefits and excellent features your app has. Avoid making your posts overly-promotional or seemingly focused on solely driving downloads. Provide genuine value to your visitors to generate some overall brand recognition and trust, and your rankings within app stores will increase as a result.

6. Update and Upgrade
To continue providing the best experience possible for mobile app users, and to subsequently continue maintaining your app ranking, implement regular updates on a monthly basis to ensure your app is performing well. Consistent and frequent upgrades indicate that your brand is constantly trying to improve the app and dedicated to providing an optimal user-experience. Alternatively, this also sheds some light on which businesses are neglecting to improve their app with necessary updates.

7. Design Elements
The way your app appears from a visual and design standpoint will play a major role the perception users have of it. The icon you use to represent your app should be indicative of what the app encompasses without being overly complex. You don't want to do anything too flashy in such a small image or users won't be able to gauge the purpose of your app. Instead, focus on a simple yet bold and vibrant icon to get a greater number of downloads.

When it comes to the design of your app, your ultimate focus should be on visuals, as well as an easy-to-use interface. Avoid any functionality that will make your app difficult to navigate, and include design aesthetics that are appealing and attractive to the eye.

8. Description
When you're creating a description for your app, keep your audience in mind. It's crucial that you understand them and how this app will fulfil their needs before you can start describing the ultimate goals and benefits of your app. What objectives might they have that this app will be able to achieve?

Similarly, keywords should be integrated into the description so that relevant searches will result in your app appearing. Conduct thorough keyword research to gauge what your target demographic is likely searching for when they are looking for a product like yours. Determine which keywords garner the most search results, or how relevant the keywords are to your product before you select them. Once you have determined the best keywords to use, make sure they are in your description, title or any other app text you may have available.

9. Website Design
Often not considered when it comes to mobile apps is traditional website design. Your brand's website should be designed with your audience in mind and be completely user-friendly. Whether it is the way your navigation is set up, or the content you have on your site's blog, there is a good chance that users will take a look at your website before they move to the app store and make a download. Giving users a negative impression of your brand based on the usability or overall look and feel of your website will more likely than not adversely impact mobile app downloads.

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Use a certain aspect of your website to house information about your mobile app and provide insights about what users will find if they download it. Include directions and the appropriate links to take visitors to the download page of the app.

10. Understand The App Stores
Both the iTunes app store and Google play have some differences that are important to understand, however they are constantly changing, so it's important to pay attention to their trends. While both serve the same ultimate purpose, each put a stronger emphasis on different elements that are vital to fully understand in order for your app store optimization efforts to work correctly. For example, Google Play relies much more on the description of the app than iTunes does, while the iTunes app store examines keywords more closely as an indicator of relevancy than Google does. Keep up with the industry and monitor new indicators that will play a role in your app ranking.

Increasing App Downloads
All in all, increasing the ranking and downloads of your app isn't an easy task. It requires extensive research, maintenance, and tactical strategies. When applying the above tips to your brands' mobile app, it's important that you use them collaboratively to reach your objectives and produce business growth as you reach your on-the-go customers.