Apple App Optimisation Case Study
You might recall a couple of months ago I was pondering the future of SEO, especially in light of the incredible popularity of Apps and the devices that support them.
There have been over 9.9 Billion Apple App downloads – up from 7 billion that was reported in January and that doesn’t count at least the same amount for Android apps too; not to mention all the other brand ecosystems that have their own App types. App downloads are set to soar exponentially now that Apps are starting to appear on desktops, from Apple to the new version of Windows 8.
Given that we’ve established that Apple Apps are popular, the next question that arises in my mind is, how do you get Apps to rank well in the App Store?
In my last post about this, it did seem clear that the more downloads an App receives, the more likely it is to rank well, regardless of how it’s rated by users. Ranking positions also ‘appear’ to be independent whether the App is free or paid.
Anyway, last week we had our first shot at optimising a brand new app for one of Maserati’s cars – the Maserati GranTurismo MC Stradale. One of the developers from Reactive mentioned he was about to submit the App to the App store and wondered if we should optimise it. The short answer was, “You bet!” We love the cutting edge stuff!
The good news is that somehow we’ve managed to get the App to rank No1 in the Apple App Store when you search for the keyword ‘Maserati’.
Anyway for those of you who might be interested I’ll take you through the process I undertook to try and get the new App ranking as highly as possible. I made a couple of small mistakes which I’ll share too.
The first thing I did, like in any SEO process, was perform keyword research. It was clear from keyword volumes that the App needed to be called “Maserati Grantourismo MC Stradale” – we also included the words “Official and Free” in the Title of the app, but they’re being truncated, as the maximum character length in the app store search engine is 31 characters. Initially we wanted the word “Official” at the beginning of the App Title, but in the end we decided against it in the interests of SEO.
The most important thing to take away from all this is that once you’ve named or ‘titled’ your app, you can’t change it. We spent a really long time trying to get this right!
I was hoping we’d get the full “Maserati Grantourismo MC Stradale” showing up in the search, but I got the character limit count wrong by 1! So we lost the letter “e” on the end as can be seen in the screen shot above. Drats.
The next thing I did was look at the associated HTML Page that Apple generates for you when your app is approved. Please note that the page in question hasn’t been indexed by Google yet, so we’re still waiting to see where it ranks for the name of the Car when it does. It may have been by the time you read this!
I thought it’d be good idea to try and get the HTML page to rank well in the Search Engine results as it could generate more awareness of the app, and encourage more downloads.
Apple takes the title of your App and puts it in the URL of your HTML page. I noted that the maximum amount of characters you’re allowed in the URL is about 32 including spaces. Again, very helpful for SEO.
What we also discovered was that if you used characters in your Title such as an en-dash (which are the really long hyphens –) then you can lose the URL descriptions altogether; so don’t use odd characters in your App’s title.
The next thing we did was to use as many of the 4,000 characters as possible in the description of the App. We ended up with just over 2,000. But you can edit the description at anytime if you like; it’s not carved in stone like the App Title is.
Apple also provides a meta keyword field. You have 100 characters to play with there as well, and like the Title, you only get one shot at it. Choose your keywords carefully.
The last thing you can do is pick your categories and you get a choice of 2, primary and secondary. Select carefully! We chose “Lifestyle” and “Business” – but we almost went with “Sport”.
So the key takeaways from the process so far are these;
1. watch your character limits to avoid truncation,
2. choose the keywords you use in your Title carefully and
3. really work the description!
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