While much is known about ranking websites on Google search, there’s very little information about ranking apps on Play store. What we find on the internet are these bits and pieces of information that advice you to get more app reviews, optimize images, localize, etc and talk little about keywords in app’s title and description.
There are some companies that have generously donated what they know to the internet, but as an app developer how do you know if that information is correct? If you look at the ASO (App Store Optimization) of Facebook, it won’t be the same for a little-known developer making apps for a niche. Some apps often bring their customers directly from either a huge following or already existing web applications. Thus, they have entirely different sort of approach towards ASO and are often more assertive rather than focused on getting found organically.
We started by finding niches where there are no immensely influential products affecting the overall app rankings. After much of brainstorming, we settled down on two keywords where we could expect things to be a little more partial. We selected “Expense” and “workout” as the target keywords.
Google play store optimization Theory #1 – Apptamin
Apptamin suggests using the target keywords at least 5 times in the app description to rank high on Google Play store:http://www.apptamin.com/blog/optimize-play-store-app/
We find that a pretty amazing place to start our journey to understand ASO and keyword stuffing in app’s description.
We scraped the first 10 results for the keyword “Expense” (Playstore India). We got the following apps and their descriptions.
The next step would be to clean this data and get some relevant sensible information.
Note that the words like “Amazing”, “Amazed” or anything “Amazxxx” is the same for Google. So, it feels wise to reduce any word to its root before categorizing and analyzing them. For Apptamin’s theory to be true, the word ‘Expens’ should appear at-least 5 times in the app’s description.
The data illustrates a pattern where the stemmed word “Expens” appears nearly 5 times in each of the 10 apps.
As long tail keywords are easier to rank for, it is wise for one to look into ‘Co occurrence’ of these keywords as well. Remember that long tailed keywords are often neglected and hence less competitive.
With matrix multiplication, we can visualize words that frequently occur together. In the graph shown below, the size of the circle illustrates the relative frequency and the thickness of the line connecting them tells us about the frequency with they appear together.
The words having a high co-occurrence have a thicker line connecting their nodes.
SensorTower’s Play store optimization – Theory #2
There’s one more interesting theory about ‘how to rank high in the Play store?’ that comes from SensorTower, and is hard to ignore: https://sensortower.com/blog/why-the-first-167-characters-of-your-apps-google-play-description-matter
Based upon the speculation that Google uses the first 167 characters from the app’s description as meta description tags, it is possible that positioning your keywords there would result in higher rankings. Let’s check that scraped data for this information.
So, how does our data performed with this theory? Well, we didn’t expect it to be this straightforward, but our data clearly shows root ‘expense’ as being a major keyword in all 10 of the 10 results that we analyzed.
Here are the strings from first 167 characters containing “expense” as a keyword:
- “[The one of best tools for keeping accounts, efficiently tracking each expense report]\n
- How to track your expenses successfully? We know that itâ€™s easy. You only need to add each expense you
- “Spending Tracker is the easiest and most user friendly expense manager app in the store.
- “Looking for an expense and budget tool? Stop searching. Expense Manager is simple, intuitive, stable and feature-rich app that is just designed for you.
- “Daily Expenses is an application designed to organize your income and expenses, your movements of money are recorded by date,
- “Tracking of your expenditure have became too much of a tedious task, even with apps there are a lot of configurations
- “Money Manager – the #1 financial planning, review, expense tracking and personal asset management app for Android!\nMoney Manager makes
- “Forget about not remembering where you spent your money! Keep track of your expenses and get a lot of statistics to know in what you spend
- “ðŸ”” This App works for India only ðŸ””\nFEATURES\nâž¡ Walnut provides intuitive visualisations and smart insights on your expenses \nâž¡
- “Monthly Expenses is an application developed by AppingOn. This application gives you the functionality to track your monthly expenses.
We cross checked to see if that’s the same case for Workout as a keyword too. It turns out that it followed the same pattern when it comes to placing the keyword for at least 5 times in the app description.
Here’s the visualization of most frequent words in the description and the frequency of co-occurrence.
Keywords in first 167 characters for Workout apps
- Welcome to Bodybuilding Workout Trainer program\nDon’t waste your time and follow the best bodybuilding workout trainer program.\n
- Featured by Google Play! No. 1 over 19 countries, top 5 over 57 countries in Health app.\nâ˜…Great effect of 7 Minute Workout
- Exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Now you can get your body in great shape without using any free weights or machines.
- **Want to improve your health & fitness? Want the ultimate workouts that you can do at home when it suits you?
- Push Ups Workout! Train with your Device! Your personal trainer for free.\nThe best Push up Workout app is coming with
- Get in the best shape of your life with thousands of free workouts and custom training programs that help you achieve
- Application contains workout schedule to perform in 42 days – no shortcuts – known as Aerobic Weider Six
- Sworkit is the ULTIMATE personal trainer! This FREE top workout app is perfect for daily circuit training strength
- Download Runtastic Six Pack Abs Trainer, Exercises & Core Workouts and define your abs with Runtastic today!
- Total Fitness is a fitness guide for this sportÂ´s fans. Total Fitness offers you a big amount of info that will help you to reach your goals. Total Fitness has many exercises and workouts.
Only two out of these 10 apps do not contain “Workout” as a keyword in the first 167 characters.
While, we clearly don’t assume this as a final thesis about App store optimization, we believe we have a good model to start with. To make a definitive model of Play store rankings we need to understand the association of words as you can find in the SensorTower’s blog post.
In case, if you don’t know already, with the kickstart of 2016, Google has started experimenting with Installing apps directly from Google Now search results. Which means that you should now be looking at the Google play store optimization with even more care.
Have something to say about Play store rankings? Drop us a comment, we are curious to learn more.