With the news that gambling apps are now available through the Google Play Store, app developers and casino operators alike have been rushing to get their Android players downloading and installing. As with Google rankings, visibility in the Play Store depends on a number of ranking factors, and those uploading their casino apps should do their best to optimise their listings, in order to secure the most organic views and to make their apps discoverable by those looking for them on their devices.
Optimising apps is big business, and a good optimisation technique can be the difference between an app that fizzles out, and an app that breaks records. Learning good optimisation strategy is something of an art form, and there’s a lot of trial and error involved if you want to get to the top. That said, there are a few tips and techniques you can deploy to optimise your apps, and to give yourself a fighting chance of visibility in the Play Store.
Research The Market
The first step in any optimisation process for the Play Store is researching the market. You need to get a solid foundation of what the other apps are doing, and most especially, the best performing apps in your vertical. Look at how their listings are setup, the types of graphics they are using, the meta data on the listing – everything about this listing is presumably working well for them, and is at least in part contributing to a high ranking within the Play Store results under specific keywords and category searches.
Compare different apps, the wording the use, the structure of their listings, even down to how they describe the features of their app. This will all come in handy when shaping your own app listing, which will try to emulate the most successful apps in your category, as well as applying your own unique optimisation efforts.
Next, it’s keyword research. This is a process of discovering which keywords are best for your app to target, whether by searcher intent, or by lack of competitiveness, or a mixture of both. There are a number of keyword tools that can be put to good use here, including some free resources which can be used to discover new suggested keywords. Even looking at autocomplete suggestions as you type in your keyword in the Play Store can be an effective way of discovering longer-tail search phrases, which can add up to deliver a stream of visitors to your app listing.
Finding keywords takes a bit of trial and error, and you’ll need to work through the process and reflect on your results in order to identify the best keywords to target in future. Your main focus should be on driving the biggest number of targeted visitors to your listing from the keywords you target, which you will go on to use across your on-meta data and off-meta data ranking factors where possible. Gambling sites such as PartyCasino.com who have an app would find keywords like “online casino”, “roulette” and “slots” very lucrative because of the popularity and high search volume and therefore would optimise their app around these keywords.
On-Meta vs Off-Meta Factors
The biggest ranking factors in the Play Store can be broken down into two types: on-meta and off-meta, respectively. If you’re into SEO, you can think of this as the distinction between on-page and off-page SEO. On-meta is effectively the title, keywords and description text, the variables that are directly related to your app and your listing. Off-meta factors are the equivalent of links, in this case installs, reviews and ratings – factors that can be influenced by your efforts, but not directly controlled.
On-Meta is where you can make the most difference, and from the URL and even developer name through to the app title and description, you need to take a conscious approach to how you are using keywords and structuring your data.
On the off-meta side, there are some optimisations you can do, but as with all things Google, you run the risk of getting banned for trying to fake or enhance your off-meta factors to a great extent. Ultimately, you can experiment and try with different factors to see which weighs most heavily on your performance in the Play Store, as measured by your downloads.
Testing, Monitoring & Tweaking
One of the best bits of advice you can take when trying to optimise an app for the Play Store, or indeed in any optimisation process, is to test and monitor your results on a regular basis. You need to know that when you’re doing X and seeing Y, X is actually causing Y. If you don’t test things out, you don’t know which variables are working, and which might be actually holding you back in reality.
Similarly, you won’t know how best to focus your resources if you don’t test, measure the results and tweak your app listing going forward. Subtle changes can have a big difference, and if you optimise correctly, particularly in a niche like casino apps, you could very well be on to a commercial winner. However, you can only hope to achieve these results by testing and tweaking every process, which will give you invaluable insights into better understanding the Play Store’s ranking algorithms.
Play Store optimisation has similar qualities to search engine optimisation, and if you’re familiar with the latter, you’ll find the adjustment to the former more straightforward. Even for total beginners, by following these basic tips and reading as much as you can on the subject, it’s possible to have that breakthrough app listing optimised for the keywords of your choosing.