A 3 Step Guide to Improving Your Mobile App’s Search Ranking - BuildFire
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A 3 Step Guide to Improving Your App’s Mobile Search Ranking

You’re always on the hunt for something to help grow your business.

Now you have a business app that has brought you more sales and better marketing.

Overall, it’s been a success.

The issue is, you think your app can perform better if more people downloaded it.

Well, aside from running app-install campaigns on social media and advertising in-store, what else could you do?

How could you reach other customers interested in your app? 

How can you make more people know that your business has an app?

These are very valid concerns and many mobile marketing professionals have weighed in on how to improve app discoverability or how can apps be found easier.

Mobile search—as in, searching through a mobile browser—has already exceeded searches done on desktop. You want your business app to be on the search results page when customers search for your business name and other related keywords.

What’s more is that people who make buying decisions within apps purchase more than through mobile sites.

It’s clear. Making your app easily discoverable is an excellent way to get more downloads and increase sales.

What can be done?

This post will guide you through three approaches to improving your app’s discoverability on mobile search. This is crucial for your mobile marketing strategy. 

Ready? Let’s dive right in.

Google App Indexing

Google App Indexing is a system that allows an app listing to appear on a search results page. When a user clicks on the listing, they are taken inside the app. This works for both Android and iOS mobile devices.

It looks like this:

and this:

When a user does not have the app installed, they are taken to a mobile webpage dedicated to the app.

If your app is not in the Google index, you’re missing out on searches that can show your app as a listing. Say you own a Mexican restaurant, your app could appear on mobile search results for ‘Mexican restaurant’ or ‘Mexican food’ if the user is within your location and if your app is in the Google index. Of course, it’s not a given that you will immediately rank high on certain searches, but it definitely gives it a boost

This is what Google said, “For both Android and iOS users, App Indexing will influence ranking, whether or not the user has your app installed. This means that if your app is indexed, Google will use the content within your app as a signal in ranking, not just your web content.”

Google really wants app publishers and businesses to index their apps because it improves users’ overall experience on their mobile search browser. So, they made indexing simple. Here’s a video they released that explains how to index your app:

Is your app in the Google index? DEPRECATED

Specific questions regarding your app? Reach out to the amazing support crew at BuildFire. They’re always ready to help.

One thing, if you want to reap the maximum benefit from app indexing, you also have to have your app store listing optimized for both Apple App Store and Google Play.

Which brings us to the next point:

App Store Optimization

Getting a good ranking in the app store bumps your ranking in mobile search.

Ranking better in the app store can feel like a very lofty goal that isn’t very realistic. But only those who exhaust all the possible ways to rank better actually do. As much as businesses invest in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for their websites, basic App Store Optimization (ASO) can go a long way for mobile marketing purposes.

Why is it important?

Working to rank high on search is indispensable if you want to be found on app stores.

According to Tune, nearly half (47 percent) of iPhone users in the US find apps by searching within the app store. Chasing app features seemed to have less returns since only 10 percent of users find apps through top charts and featured screens.


To optimize your app, it’s important to know these top ranking factors:

  • Keyword in the app title and description
  • Number of downloads
  • Ratings and reviews
  • Icons and screenshots

Let’s start with keywords.

Choosing the right keywords improve your search ranking up to 10 percent. So you really cannot discount its importance when optimizing your app. How do you search for a good keyword?

How do you search for a good keyword?

Firstly, understand that the function of your title and description is to convey the essence of your app. Using an irrelevant keyword just for ASO will backfire, so stick to what is relevant.

There are three things to consider:

  • High volume of searches
  • Low level of competition
  • High relevancy

Thankfully, there are online tools like SearchMan or KeywordTool. These tools help you find a good competitive keyword based on language, country and category.

While you can’t impact the number of downloads directly, know that app store searches reward apps that do well.

Another thing you can do to improve your chances of ranking higher in app store searches is getting good ratings and reviews.

Here are some ways to increase reviews for your mobile app:

  • App review plugins

Why don’t you ask users for reviews while they’re inside your app? There are a number of plugins that allow you to do so. It’s simple and easy to implement—and usually works for both iOS and Android apps.

  • Run an in-app rating campaign

Give a small discount or any other valuable incentive for users who would leave ratings for your app. A small warning: this technique works on Android but is penalized by Apple.

  • Run an in-store contest.

Run a contest for customers of your physical store. Each customer who gives your app a 5-star review gets a raffle entry. Get their name and contact number and put it in a lot. Set a date for the draw and other additional  mechanics for the contest.  You can award the winner with gift cards, free products and any prize you think can pull interest to your contest. Not only did you get reviews, you’ll get some new downloads as well.

Icons and screenshots

Images pull in more interest than text, so know that icons and screenshots are a big component of what your users remember when they think of your app and your business. Use eye-catching images for your icon, and make sure to use your app’s most interesting screenshots. Make sure all images are representative of your brand and your app’s function.

Here are some business app icon design tips from designer Dan Counsell:

  • A great app icon should be simple, memorable and beautifully designed, and it should convey the main purpose of the app from just a quick glance.
  • Match the key colours of your icon to those within your app.
  • Don’t use icon borders. They look ugly, and simply don’t fit in anymore.

Media and Influencer Outreach

Get people talking about your app. An essential part of getting the word out about your application is reaching out to the media and online influencers. Google will pick up the signals if more credible people are mentioning your app, linking to your site and driving traffic to your app. Overall, getting a good ranking for your website and mobile site helps your overall authority and bumps up your ranking in mobile searches.


If you are rolling out a new feature, having a business promo that you’re rolling out through your app or if your app is fairly new, there is definitely something newsworthy there. Don’t hesitate to reach out to the media. They are used to getting pitches from businesses. If there’s an opportunity there, they will not hesitate to let you know as well. However, getting the attention of bigger media outfits could be tough – so pour in more effort on local media.


Popular bloggers, celebrities, industry experts and local personalities are all people who can impact the popularity of your app. Reach out to them. A friendly “letting you know” email will suffice. But if you want to do more than this, you have to narrow down your contact list to include only people who have an audience that might be interested in your app.

Let’s say Anne owns a Mexican restaurant and she wants to boost her business app’s reach. Here’s a sample email she could send to a local food blogger:

Reach out to local personalities who have influence over your direct customer base. Most of the time, these people are not very privvy of the whole internet influencer situation where people who have a certain following charge businesses to promote their products. Most local personalities would be happy just to be recognized as a person of interest. Knowing these people are good for your business too, as you also expand your network to reach people of note in your community.

You can reach out to online celebrities who do app reviews, but know that most of them charge you a fee. Even some app review sites offer to feature your app for a payment.

There are tools like NinjaOutreach and BuzzSumo that can help you identify the influencers in your field or location.

Here’s a video that shows how NinjaOutreach can help you reach influencers:

The Secret To Getting Exposure From Influencers - 4 Examples


Final thoughts

Growing your business through a mobile app doesn’t end when you launch one. Apps can power-up your marketing, branding and sales. If you want maximum benefit from it, you need to put thought and effort on how it can best represent your business.

By implementing the tips outlined in the post, you will surely get a boost in your mobile search rankings. Remember, patience is also an essential ingredient of any search optimization campaign. Be diligent in monitoring – but make sure you keep marketing your app and business on other channels and through other techniques.

Let us know your thoughts and questions. See you in the comments!


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Ian Blair

BuildFire Co-Founder. I'm a digital marketer by trade and an entrepreneur at heart. I'm here to help businesses go mobile and build apps more efficiently than before.

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