What Factors Actually Impact Your Google Play Ranking?

Google Play Store search represents 80% of quality organic downloads [Fisku study]. Optimizing for Google Play Store is quite different from Apple’s App Store. The ranking for Play Store is somewhat similar to Google’s search engine and yet, has its own unique features.  When it comes to what exactly makes up the ranking system that Google uses for its app platform, a few ranking factors are generally accepted as playing a major part. So what is Google Play’s secret recipe for ranking your app?

 

Level: Doable
Read time: 54 second
Number of steps: 5

 

1. Your App Downloads

Out of all possible factors, it seems that Google still gives significant weight to the amount of downloads your app gets. The number of downloads is displayed by Google Play, and you always want to get to the next download interval (ie. 100, 500, 1,000, etc.), to improve visibility. Another factor that impacts rank is the growth of downloads over the last 30 days.

 

2. Your App Ratings

Google counts the number and the quality of your app’s ratings: how many people have rated and reviewed your app and how high (or low) they are.  Make sure to make the most out of any reviews you receive and encourage your users to generate more. Staying in contact with your audience and replying to reviews and feedback is therefore a key to the app’s success. Read our rating and reviews recipe here.  

 

3. Your App Engagement

Google calculates the frequency of interactions with your app, the number of uninstalls, and the percentage of users who keep the app after installing it. Therefore, you should always look to optimize your daily active users (DAU) and monthly active users (MAU). Be honest with your users, don’t build expectations that you can’t meet afterwards and don’t cater to the wrong audience. Choose your screenshots and videos carefully to convert the right users, and utilize the A/B testing tool to learn your users’ preferences.  Read the app engagement recipe here.

 

4. Your App Keywords

Like in SEO, keywords architecture is important for Google Play optimization. Research which keywords have a higher search volume and lower competition (as you’ll get a better chance to compete for them) and use them in the app title, short description, long description, and on the “what’s new” updates. Many rules are applied as they would be with any form of SEO. That means no keyword stuffing, keeping words in contextual relevancy, etc. Read our keywords research recipe here.

 

5. Your App’s Backlinks

Getting people to write about your app improves your search rankings in the Play Store. Google calculates the number of links to your Play Store page and the quality of the websites who published them. Make sure you include links to as many relevant pages within the app. Another factor that is being calculated is social ‘proof’, meaning how many times the app gets +1s on G+ or Likes and Shares on Facebook.  

 

Bottom Line

It’s not particularly easy to gain traction in a market as competitive as Google Play, but it is possible. Going viral is of course every dev’s dream, but it’s not something that happens very often to the smaller developer with limited funds for advertising. However, be savvy and optimise your app well, and you’ll be surprised, you can gain major traction in getting your app noticed organically.

 

Read More

How to optimize your Google Play title?
How to write the best Google Play app description?
What are the best practices for app screenshots?
How to boost user engagement in your app?
What is the best way to launch your app?