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Top Tools for App Store Search Optimization

If an app is published in the App Store, and no one finds it, it is invisible. In order to prevent publishing invisible apps, App Store keyword optimization is key for most publishers. And understanding Apple’s search ranking secrets is no easy task. Fortunately, there are a number of tools out there to help app publishers maximize their App Store search traffic. Here are some of my favorites-

SensorTower– SensorTower provides a very useful free tool for selecting the right keywords to target. Not only do you learn which keywords are the most popular, but also how competitive those keywords are so you can select keywords to optimize for where you have a realistic opportunity to land in the top 3 rankings.
TUNE’s App Store Intelligence Service– One of the biggest challenges while optimizing your app’s search traffic is how to measure what keywords are driving what installs. Following their acquisition of MobileDevHQ, TUNE has a premium offering whereby they will map out your organic installs by different keywords.
Google’s AB Testing for App Store Pages– As part of Google Play, Google now providers a service for app publishers to AB their store pages. This is freaking awesome, as not only can you use this AB testing for the Android version of your app, but you can also take your winning store page and mimic in on your iOS store page.
NativeX Search Spike Keyword Campaigns– I’d also like to mention my innovative new pet project at NativeX called Search Spike. Search Spike is an innovative new ad product launched in early 2016 which has no direct competition at scale. As long as you have a budget of $5,000 per month or more, Search Spike will help you dominate keyword rankings by running keyword optimized ad campaigns proven to positively impact your rankings. Most developers using Search Spike report seeing an over 100 percent increase in their organic keyword traffic!

Got another App Store Optimization tool to recommend? Please leave a comment to expand on this list.

Why universal iPad/iPhone apps are good for users but bad for a developers’ rankings

An app developer of iPhone® and iPad™ apps, Evan McMahon of Veiled Games.com, pointed out something to consider when doing app development for the iPhone and iPad—the app only counts on the ranking for the iPhone or the iPad, splitting the count for a universal app. 

In the end, all apps want to score it big in the iPhone app ranks.  Evan pointed out that there is an additional consideration when designing a universal app (a single application that can be run on the iPhone as well as the iPad), and the way it is counted in the ranking.  With a universal app, purchases on the iPhone count for iPhone rankings only, purchases on the iPad count for iPad rankings only, and purchases in the iTunes desktop application count for iPhone rankings only. Also, if the intended use for the app is iPad and purchased through iTunes, it is counted as an iPhone app.  Therefore, creating a universal app creates value for the user as they can use the app on both the iPhone and iPad, but as a developer, creates a possible disadvantage since it splits the count in the rankings.

Another situation that arises from this scenario is the inability to create different price points for the iPhone and iPad app to capitalize on the different price tolerances of the two markets.  

Creating a universal app is advantageous to the user, but as a developer attempting to optimize the revenue generated from the app, the developer must choose the most effective pricing and sales strategy possible.  It is a difficult balance for developers who want to provide the most utility for users while fully monetizing the investment in the application. 

Creating a universal app and how it affects your app ranking is another thing to consider when doing app development for iPhone and iPad apps.  Please comment if you have additional tips for app developers.