app store ranking

App Store Ranking Factors

There are multiple factors that affect app rankings in app stores. Android and iOS take into consideration mostly the same factors, but as always there are some differences between them. Let’s jump in to the guide of important app store ranking factors.

Key app store ranking factors

  • App name/title
    • Keywords in the name or title has a biggest value, although the character limit is quite low. It is important to find the right keyword to target here that is relevant, has a high search volume but isn’t overly saturated.

  • App description/subtitle
    • Google Play Store has both a short and a long description field. On App Store apps have a subtitle field that is shown right below the name. Relevant keywords should be placed in these fields and we’ll cover the differences of these below.

  • Ratings & reviews
    • The logic behind this is simple – the better the rating, the better it works in the app’s favor ranking-wise. It is also a good idea to use relevant keywords in replies as Google picks up keywords from the reviews as well.

  • How often the app is updated
    • A steady, frequent updating pace is great for the ranking. This shows that the app is actively being worked on and feedback from users matters.

  • Downloads
    • Very simple logic behind this one too – more downloads leads to a better ranking. Popular apps will be favored by both platforms, so the more downloads and the higher engagement, the better.

  • In-app purchases
    • IAPs are especially taken into consideration on Google Play Store’s top-grossing list. There are many ways of monetizing on an app, therefore it is good to pay attention to this and find the best pricing and monetization strategy.

Good to know

The main differences between the platforms are that Apple App Store provides a separate keyword field while Google Play Store has fields for a short and a long description. Both are important for keyword placements and on both platforms they come with character limitations. Therefore having a solid keyword strategy is crucial to be able to find the most important keywords.

Apple’s keyword field limits the characters to 100. This field is only the third most weighted field when it comes to keywords, the biggest weight being in the title and sub-title. For Google the short description allows 80 characters and the long one 4000. In the long description, it is good to repeat keywords 3-5 (not too little and not too much) for optimization.

Additionally, App and Play Stores do have differences in their algorithms. Understandably, the companies want to keep their secrets related to the algorithms and how apps are ranked and therefore won’t reveal all. These listed are some of the known app store ranking factors that we can and should utilize for a good ASO strategy.

A good practice to find the best solution for keywords and other product page assets is by A/B testing different concepts. By testing, it is possible to base decisions on data instead of assumptions.


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