Did you know that most people find your app by browsing and searching the app store? Therefore, whether your app is on the App Store or Google Play Store, ranking high is critical. The app store ranking algorithm will determine your success in high rankings.
Updating product details and the keywords in searches is not something that can be set and forgotten on launch day. Search results and rankings on the App Store and Play Store are based on complex dynamic algorithms. The combination of user search queries and keywords determines search results and rankings. The details of the App Store and Play Store algorithms are kept secret. In addition, these algorithms evolve periodically to produce more relevant results.
Despite the complexity of the algorithms, ASOWorld experts have identified trends and insights into the mechanisms that drive search results and app rankings. The following article describes the aspects of ASO strategy developers can benefit from these rankings.
App Store VS. Google Play Store
When app developers launch an app for a specific app store, they use internal information about the app to customize and design their app store page to capture the attention of potential users.
They add an icon and identify the title, subtitle and description that customers can see directly, and they add some hidden features to the app store search engine algorithm, such as a list of keywords (App Store Connect Keywords). All these features were named on-metadata factors. Moreover, after going live, the user experience in the app is scored and commented by users and can be seen on the app page, and the factors that ultimately have an impact on the app store algorithm are called off-metadata factors.
It is well known that Google Play's algorithm is more complex than the App Store's. Google Play supports a wide range of optimizations, while the App Store relies heavily on a few key aspects (metadata, features and creatives).
One significant difference between the Google Play Store and Apple App Store algorithms is that the Google Play Store does not have a keyword field, unlike Apple's App Store. Instead, Google's algorithm crawls keywords from the title, subtitle, and description sections, which makes them more important for search rankings. Google's algorithm is more likely to use the first two words of each line of the description as keywords because it searches from left to right. Therefore, adding keywords at the beginning of each line is the most viable way to rank the Google Play Store.
Click "Learn More
" to drive your apps & games business with ASO World app promotion
App Store Ranking Factors
Keyword authority order
Ranking algorithm might evolve from time to time, however there are some basic logic never changes. The order they weigh the metadata elements are as follow:
App Title > Keywords > App Description > in App Purchase Item Name/Description
Besides the metadata, off-metadata contribute to ranking as well, the rumored app store algorithm are as follows:
Apple App Store algorithm = 0.8(8* today's installs + 5*yesterday's installs +5*installs from 2 days ago +2*installs from three days ago)*0.2(Star rating + Reviews + Usage Rates + Sales)
This 30-character field should be used for the most relevant keywords, as these are given significantly more weight when indexing your app for search results than keywords used elsewhere. However, keep in mind that human users also rely on the app name to determine relevance, so it's critical to choose keywords that are clear and easy to understand.
The Subtitle field was introduced in iOS 11. Apple allows you to enter 30 characters here. Use this space wisely, as the keywords in this field are indexed by the App Store search algorithm.
iOS Keyword Fields
The Keywords field is unique to Apple's App Store and cannot be found in Google Play.
This field allows for 100 characters to be entered. In addition, these keywords are hidden from users. They do not show up in your public App Store listings. Therefore, use this space for keywords that you have not yet put in the App Name and App Subtitle.
Tip: When writing keywords in App Store Connect, separate them with commas and avoid using spaces, crowns, and prepositions. Use singular or plural, and do not repeat keywords in any field.
In-App Purchases (IAP)
Apple profits from apps that generate revenue from in-app purchases rather than in-app ads. As a result, it is suspected (though not confirmed) that apps which offers in-app purchases rank higher. In addition, in-app purchases themselves can rank for keywords. The name of your in-app purchase (IAP), including subscription plans, is indexed by Apple as a keyword tool. Each IAP has its own display name, promotional image, and description. Your IAP can appear in the App Store's search results and even in the Today tab. So make sure you don't forget to optimize them, too.
Ratings and Reviews
Positive reviews - and the keywords they contain - indicate user satisfaction, increasing the likelihood that the app will be ranked higher by the algorithm.
App updates are often positively correlated with user satisfaction, which leads to better reviews and, in turn, higher rankings. By definition, apps that are updated frequently are also more relevant and therefore rank higher.
Downloads and Engagement
These measures of app popularity include install speed and daily growth, which are critical to app rankings. Developers can improve downloads and engagement by increasing click-through rates, optimizing their App Store creatives and messaging, and updating frequently.
It's important to note that Apple considers App Units (first installs) when determining download speeds. According to our research and data, driving a large number of first installs or app units is one of the most impactful things you can do to improve your rankings.
This can be achieved by increasing page conversion rates for new users and by leveraging paid user acquisition (UA) campaigns that focus on new users rather than lost users.
To learn more about App Store ranking algorithm, you can check "The Algorithm of App Store Ranking and The Authority Distribution of Keywords in The App Store
" for more.
Google Play Ranking Factors
These fields are similar to the App Store, but the Play Store title can take up to 50 characters and has a significantly longer description than the App Store subtitle. It is said that Google Play is changing app title limit back to 30 characters again. For some marketers and app developers who already changed, they have witnessed boost in ranking. The exact time is not clear yet. Let's say always stay ahead in the game.
Also, note that the use of keywords is completely different; Google's crawl tool uses order and repetition to determine the importance of keywords. The app name is traversed first, then the description, and words read first are weighted more heavily. It is said, that Google's algorithm is highly sensitive to spam and keyword stuffing. Write names and descriptions in a way that people can understand.
In the Google Developer Console, you can distinguish between a short description and a full description. Thus, the short description is visible above the collapsed Google Play Store. This makes the field not only relevant for ranking for keywords, but also crucial for engaging users. Be sure to indicate the content of your application within these 80 characters.
The detailed description can contain up to 4000 characters. Try to repeat the keywords you want to rank for several times. We recommend 3-5 times. This will help Google identify which search terms are relevant to your app and what the main features of your app are.
Google Tags functions similarly to categories in the App Store. You can select up to 5 tags for your app from a predefined list. Google will then use the tags you choose to categorize your app. While this does not have a direct impact on your Google Play ranking, it does help the algorithm rank your app for the right keywords.
Backlinks are web links that point to your app's pages. The greater the number of quality backlinks, the higher the ranking in the Google Play store. Therefore, by focusing on link building, developers can improve their rankings.
To learn more about Google Play Store ASO, you can check "What About Google Play Store ASO And Its Keyword Optimization
" for more.
Shared optimization skills for App Store and Google Play
There are significant differences between the ranking algorithms on the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. We still have factors in common when optimizing apps both on App Store and Google Play.
ASO can be executed more equally today for the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Of course, there are still some important differences, such as the lack of a popularity score for Google Play, long-tail keywords on the App Store, and the different metadata available. But when it comes to the way algorithms work and the way user journeys are designed, they are very close to each other.
App Name or App Title
App Store and Google Play indexed keywords in the app name or title. Research has also shown that keywords in your app name have stronger ranking strength than keywords in other areas such as subtitles. This means you are more likely to rank higher for keywords in your app name. iOS app names can contain 30 characters, while Google Play gives you 50 characters.
Ratings and Reviews
Google Play and the Apple App Store will consider app ratings and user reviews when ranking your app. The better your ratings and reviews, the higher your app will be ranked. Google will also comb through user feedback and find keywords there. You can also find keyword inspiration from the words that users use to describe your app.
While getting reviews is crucial to the success of your app, you should avoid asking for them too often or at the wrong time. A good time to ask is after your users have completed an accomplishment. They will feel good and are more likely to leave a positive review. In addition, the higher your average app rating, the higher your keyword ranking for relevant keywords.
Tip: Ask the right questions. You can start with a question to find out if the user likes the app. If he says yes, you can ask him to give you a rating. However, if he refuses, you can ask him for some feedback without including him in the review options.
Apps that are constantly updated usually have better ratings. This is because users know that developers are working to improve the app and listen to their feedback.
Both the Apple App Store and Google Play consider the frequency of updates when ranking apps. So the more you commit to your product, the better your ranking will be.
This sounds obvious, but it's always good to point out that your app downloads can also affect your app store ranking. The more downloads and user engagement your app has, the better its ranking position will be. You want to keep increasing the download speed, which means the number of downloads your app gets in a certain amount of time. The higher the speed, the higher the ranking. That's because Apple and Google like to show off apps that are clearly popular with their users.
The first step to speeding up downloads is to determine where they are coming from. In other words, which channel is converting the most.
It's likely that most people are installing after clicking through to your app store listing, rather than installing directly from the search results page. If this is the case, you need to improve your keyword rankings, increase the average app rating, and see if you can better optimize or localize the text and visuals.