I recently wrote a few lines in reply to a Reddit post on the subject of getting downloads on the Google Play store. I thought I’d repeat it here, its just my own thoughts and hopefully will come in useful for others. The post text follows:
Get Your App in the Store Search Results
Personally I do better in the Google Play store (than the iOS App Store). From my experience the main thing to get right is to appear high on the stores search results. Make a list of the words and phrases you think people might be searching for when they are looking for an app/game like yours, if the best word (or two or three) isn’t in your games title then consider renaming your app. Use your list of words in your apps description, especially in the first 100 words, also repeat the key words 2-4 times in the whole description (this all helps in search rankings).
For example, my app is an arrow shooting/puzzle/platform game and I named it “Arrow Mania” (before I knew any of this… I could think of better names now to be honest). Obviously people searching for games where you shoot arrows are very likely to search for the word and phrases like “arrow” or “arrow shooting game” or “target shooting”. Looking at the word “arrow”, Arrow Mania appears at around pos 31 when your search for “arrow”, seehttps://play.google.com/store/search?q=arrow&c=apps Note in my games description I use the word “arrow” and those others a number of times too. So search for your top words and phrases. Also look at the titles and descriptions of the apps in the top 10 spots for more possible search words.
Your app will also increase in position the more total downloads you get so don’t be dismayed if you set your apps name and description perfectly and don’t instantly appear in the top 50.
Have a play with free services like https://www.mobiledevhq.com/ . It will help you see which of your words actually do get searched for. It will also compare your app to others (that you specify) for each of your words. It takes a while to setup but worth it and helps get your head around all this word search ranking malarky.
There’s lots of info on Reddit and forums and blogs on this subject (do some googling). Most will say have a good website, facebook+likes, SEO, etc, etc…. but from my Google Analytics data 87.9% of my downloads comes “direct” on the Google Play store which is basically people finding my app from searching, or word of mouth (being told about the app by a friend and then they go look for it on the store via search). After that another %6.91 find it via my website (not the games website but my main website which is where I have a programming blog that gets a little traffic). What I’m saying is, most downloads come from the store.
Translate your game into other languages, use people on Fiverr.com to translate the title and description and ask them to suggest a few names for your app too; search on their countries Google Play store for those words to see how good those words are.
Make sure your app runs on older less powerful hardware like say Samsung Galaxy S2, 25% of my downloads in the past three months are in India, then 7.8% Indonesia; The people in these places are on older devices.
I’ll be writing a part 2 sometime soon where I’ll be writing down more of my thoughts, some very subtle things to watch out for with your apps title; along with a look at icons, images and your video.
The original post I made can be seen in the Reddit page here: http://www.reddit.com/r/gamedev/comments/29ylm7/is_the_play_store_as_bad_as_it_seems_for/