App Store SEO: How to Diagnose a Drop in Traffic & Win It Back


For some businesses mobile apps are an effective method of capturing new prospects and customers. So, it’s a cause for concern when you find that the amount of time spent on your app is decreasing.

But, despite the fact that there is information about how to optimize your app or ASO (App Store Optimization) There is no information regarding the steps to take to detect a decline in app usage.

While there are some overlaps between traditional and app stores, they also have distinct factors that play an integral influence on the app store’s visibility.

The goal for this article is to provide you a solid base for evaluating the possibility of a decrease in app store visits . And after that, we’ll discuss several quick-fire opportunities to get that traffic back.

We’ll guide you through the steps of finding out reasons for the decline in traffic to your app and include:

Identifying external factors that could be a cause
Identifying the kind of words that were used to generate visits
Analyzing app user engagement metrics
We’ll also go over some strategies to help you get traffic back , including:

Monitoring your rivals
Optimizing your store listing
Insisting on localisation
Examining the reason your app’s has a lower traffic
Step 1. Find out if there are external factors that could be influencing your decision.
Some industries/businesses will have certain periods of the year where traffic may drop due to external factors, such as seasonality.

Before you start investigating further a drop in traffic:

Speak to your contact person and ask if seasonality affects the business of their company, or if there are general trends in the industry in play. For example, aggregators such as SkyScanner could see a decline in user visits following the peak period at the beginning and end of each year.
Find out if the number of app installations were actually down. If not, you shouldn’t have to worry about a decline in traffic. it could be due to Google’s and Apple’s algorithms more closely aligning with the purpose of search terms.
Step 2. Determine the kind of keywords that are used to generate visits
As with traditional searches such as traditional search, identifying the kind that keywords are (branded and unbranded) and the keywords that have seen the largest drop in visits to the app store, will give you a lot of context and aid in determining how you conduct your research. For example:

If the terms associated with branding were the most popular, they saw the largest drop in visits, it could be a sign that:

There’s been a decline in advertising expenditure which helps build brand awareness or product recognition
Competitors are bidding for your terms and conditions
The brand’s name has changed , and it hasn’t been in a position to absorb the previous traffic that was branded
In the event that those terms not associated with brands had the highest decrease in visits, this could indicate:

You’ve recently made optimisation adjustments that resulted in negative impacts
Signals of engagement from users like app crashes, or reviews have changed drastically
Your competitors have improved the performance of their apps and/or provided users with a more enjoyable experience (particularly important if an app gets the major portion of their traffic via only a few keywords)
Your app was affected by an algorithm update
If both brand and non-brand terms had the highest decrease in visits, this could indicate:

You’ve broken Google’s policies regarding promotion of your application.
External factors are in the helm.
To get data for your Android app
To access the data you need to use your Android application, sign in to Google Play Console. Google Play Console account.

Google Play Console provides a vast amount of data about your app’s efficiency of an Android application that includes particularly useful information on metrics of engagement that affect the ranking of your app in the store (more on these in the future).

However, the data specific to keywords will be restricted. Google Play Console will show you the keywords that have generated the most downloads for your application however, the majority of visits to your app are likely to be classified as unclassified Keywords that are mid- to long-tail and produce downloads but don’t produce enough downloads for them to be listed as distinct keywords. Keywords that are identified in the category of “other”.

The chart you create may look similar to the following. Repeat the same procedure for terms that are branded.

Above: A graph of an individual’s unbranded Google Play Store app visits. Its number of visitors is true, but the search terms driving them are changed to preserve privacy.
To get data for your IOS app
For information on how your IOS application, Apple have App Store Connect. Similar to Google Play Console, you’ll be able get your access to metrics of user engagement which can affect the rank that your app is ranked.

However, data about keywords is scarcer that Google Play Console. It’s only possible to determine the total number of times the icon of your app has received in the App Store. If you’ve observed a decline in the number of visits to both the Android and IOS application, then you can use Google Play Console data as an indirect measure of keyword performance.

If you utilize an application rank tracking tool like TheTool It can help you fill in the gaps in your knowledge about the keywords that could be driving your app’s traffic.

Step 3. Analyze app user engagement metrics
Measures of engagement and user satisfaction that are essential to the quality of user experience significant impact on how your app performs in the search results. Apple and Google are transparent about this.

Google claims that engagement metrics such as app crashes, ANR rate (application slow to respond) and bad reviews could restrict exposure opportunities in Google Play.

Although Apple isn’t as transparent as Google in sharing information about engagement measures, they do mention that reviews and ratings on apps influence the visibility of app stores..

In the end, Apple wants to ensure IOS apps offer a great user experience. It’s likely that they utilize a range of additional metrics related to user engagement to evaluate an app’s performance on the App Store.

As part of your analysis You should consider how the below engagement metrics could have changed over the that you noticed a decrease in users visiting your app.

App rating
Ratings number (newer/fresh ratings are weighted higher to Google)
Downloads number
Installs vs uninstalls
Application crashes and app isn’t responding
You can find data on these metrics from Google Play Console and App Store Connect, or have access to this information internal.

Even if your research isn’t revealing any the truth, certain metrics such as application rating can influence conversion as well as the position of your app in the pack of apps SERP feature, therefore it’s worth investing some time into defining a strategy to increase these measures.

A quick and easy way to do this is to be sure to respond to negative reviews as well as reviews with questions. Actually, reviewers improve their rating by +0.7 stars per year when they receive a response.

Apple offers some tips regarding soliciting reviews and ratings for the IOS application.

Help increase your app’s return traffic
Step 1. Look up your competitors.
Find out who’s ranked
In order to find ways to increase app store visibility, I often would like to evaluate the top five ranking competitors apps with a set of non-branded terms.

All you have to do is look up these keywords on Google Play and the App Store, then take the ranking factors publicly available from the app listings. It should be something like the one below.




Above: an anonymous table of Google Play competitors for a client. Google Play competitors

In this way, you can find some clues to the reason why an app is ranked higher than you. For instance “Competitor 1” not only has the highest app rating and the longest description and title. Perhaps they have improved their description and title?

We also can see that the competitors who rank higher than us usually have a greater amount of reviews total and installations, which is in line with both Apple and Google’s assertions about the importance of engagement metrics.

With the comparison data above allows you to go further to get us smoothly to the next part.

Improve the text fields in your app
The keywords you include in text fields may significantly impact the app store’s visibility.

In your research You should consider the way your keyword optimization stands out from your competitors and look for potential opportunities.

To use Google Play, adding keywords in the text fields below could affect rankings:

Keywords in app’s Title (50 characters)
Keywords in app description (4,000 characters)
Keywords in short description (80 characters)
Keywords in URL
Keywords in the app’s name
In relation to App Store App Store, including keywords in the text fields could affect ranking:

Keywords in app the title (30 characters)
Utilizing the 100-character keywords field (a specially designed 100-character field in which you can put keywords you would like to get ranked for)
Keywords in the app’s name
To understand the way your optimization strategies stack against the competition, I suggest checking your app’s text fields against competitors.

For instance, if I would like to know the number of keywords that are mentioned in descriptions of apps for Google Play (keywords in the description field can be an important ranking factor) then I’d make tables like this one.







Above: anonymous table of the client’s Google Play competitors

From the table above I can tell that the top ranking rival (competitor 1,) has more references to “job search” and “employment app” than I do.

While there are numerous elements that affect the way in which apps rank I might conclude that I must boost the frequency of those terms in my Google Play app description to increase the chances of rankings.

Be aware that Writing unnatural, keyword-stuffed descriptions and titles could cause negative effects.

Keep in mind that as well as being optimized for machine use Text fields such as your app’s titles and descriptions are designed to be an effective “advertisement” of your app to users..

I’d like to repeat this procedure for different text fields to find other keyword insights.

Step 2. Optimize your store listing
Your store’s listing is on the main page of your app is available on Google Play. This is where people can find out more about your application, read about its reviews and more. It’s also surprising that few apps take all the benefits of creating an engaging store listing experience.

Although Google isn’t able to clearly claim that the full use of the majority of their store listing features directly affects the searchability of your apps It’s reasonable to think that there could be a ranking factors that could be the reason.

At the very minimum making changes to your store’s listing will increase conversion. You could even conduct A/B testing to gauge the impact of your modifications.

You can enhance the user experience overall and the content available on the store’s listing by incorporating video trailers for your app, top-quality artistic assets, your app’s icon (you’ll need to make sure that an icon that stands out from an ocean of icons for your app) and many more.

The Google Play Store’s best practice guide for making a compelling Google Play store listings to find out more.

Step 3. Invest in localization
The old saying is “think global, act local” and this is definitely the case with apps.

Studies have shown that 72.4 percent of shoppers around the world prefer to speak their own language while they shop on the internet in addition to 56.2 percent of them stated that the capability to access information in their native language was more important than the price.

It’s just logical. The more you can tailor your product to the needs of your customers and the more successful your results will be. Therefore, take the extra step to personalize the content of your Google Play and App Store listings.

Google offers a helpful checklist to help you with internationalization of your app for localization on Google Play in addition to Apple offers a complete guide on localizing your app for international distribution on Apple’s App Store.

Wrap up
Drops in traffic or any other kind of drop can trigger anxiety and fear. I hope this blog will provide you with an excellent starting point should you ever have to determine the reasons why traffic to your website has decreased, as well as offering quick-fire ways to get it back.

If you’re interested to do more research about ASO I suggest studying the App Radar’s and TheTool’s guides to ASO and App search discovery advice provided by Google as well as Apple the companies themselves.


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