Ranking top in app store search results is every app developer and publisher’s dream. It can quickly turn into a brand’s source of fame, install rates, and revenue. But getting there is not easy, especially when you’re competing with millions of apps that are already there and thousands that are joining the fray every day.
In this article, I will describe some of the mechanics behind Google Play’s app ranking algorithm and how you can give your app a boost in the app store’s search results.
The main driving factor behind app ranking are parameters such as total installs and download velocity, but Google Play’s app ranking algorithm is much more complex and intricate, and many other parameters come into play.
A noteworthy fact is that more than 50 percent of Google Play’s daily active users (DAU) search for apps every day, and the app store processes more than six million unique search phrases every month. Therefore, with the right tweaks and settings, you can improve your presence in specific search results that apply to your app and increase your installs, which will in turn improve your app’s overall ranking.
Choose the right category
Find a category that suits your app and at the same time isn’t clogged with competition. App category is an essential ASO parameter, and newer categories which are less crowded are more likely to see your app climb the charts and provide opportunities for higher ranking and optimal app store placement.
Give your daily installs a boost
Having a steady flow of daily installs will improve your ranking, which in turn will give you more organic installs. But now, you might argue, you’re dealing with a “chicken and egg” problem. How do you get those initial installs in the first place? Well, as I’ve discussed in previous articles, there are many ways, free and paid, that can help you drive installs to your app.
Improve your app’s rating
The feedback and reviews that users make about your app are a crucial factor in determining its ranking in search results. It is also one of the key metrics that the editorial staff looks for when reviewing top games and apps. Maintaining an overall 4 out of 5 rating average should be a major goal. But there is more to app rating than just the 4 star average. Here are other factors you should consider:
• The total number of reviews
• Keywords used in each review
• How frequently your app is being reviewed
• How recently has the app been reviewed
• Average rating per version of app
Google Play also uses parameters such as geographical location and device type in reviews to personalize search results for users. So when a user makes a search, apps that have received good reviews from devices of the same type or from users of the same origin will be favored by Google Play.
Oh, and one more note on reviews: Don’t even consider generating fake reviews for your app. The folks at Google Play are pretty smart and have some arcane tools at their disposal that will help them detect scam campaigns, which will eventually lead to penalizing your app or kicking it off the shelves altogether. There are many ways you can generate good and organic reviews for your app, including using opportune moments during in-app experience to unobtrusively encourage your users to write reviews.