Mobile SEO for Beginners: How to improve App Store Search Ranking

This is a guest post by Naoki Shibata, founder of, part of our 2nd accelerator batch. SearchMan helps app developers to make their apps easy to find in AppStore. SearchMan SEO tracks search rankings, analyzes keywords, competes for rankings, and optimizes everything. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter for more content

Problem: Creative app developers pursuing the huge long tail of mobile app revenue, will continue to out-innovate each other. That may be why there are 1,899 flashlight apps in the App Store. Some of them rank among the top 25 in the App Store categories, but most don’t. To enjoy a fair slice of the App Store marketplace’s revenue opportunity, discoverability is key. But how? Buy advertising? It’s too expensive. Even more so now, with profitable social gaming apps with strong virality and gross margins bidding up the price of mobile advertising to unaffordable levels. So what is an indie developer with a brand new app supposed to do in order to win the attention of millions of smartphone users?

Solution: A little known fact is that more than half the world’s smartphone users discover new apps by entering a search keyword into the search box inside the App Store. An improvement in search ranking could increase organic (free) downloads dramatically for a fledgling indie developer.

Check out’s  how-to guide on getting started with mobile SEO.

Vi Tran

Vi is the Social Media Intern at 500 Startups. When she's not obsessing over what's trending and engagement rate at 500, she hustles for Startup Grind. She likes sushi.

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  • Laurin Hogan

    Great stuff. Love the @Searchman slideshare. Lots of good facts and numbers… just proving that as much hard work goes into developing an app, an equal amount needs to go into the marketing effort. Planning to release my app, Due Date, in September (hoping for the 20th) and am currently in the process of trying to finalize the right keywords, description, and title in iConnect. (lot harder than it sounds!)

    Through out all the articles, blogs, and forums I have read, reaching maximum visibility/discoverability in the App Store all comes down to 2 things. 1-Getting ranked in the Top 25 in your app’s specific category; and 2-SEO- showing up when a user searches for relevant terms/keywords.

    Anyways, great guide. Appreciate the info and the cold hard facts!

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  • Pavel Nikolaevich


    > If you can afford to buy ads for $2-$3 per download forever, then forget SEO.

    What kind of ads do you mean?