App Store vs Google Play Ranking Algorithms

By on July 19, 2016

Factors in App Store Ranking Algorithm

The Apple App Store and Google Play are the heavyweights of app stores. For your app to be seen in either of these app stores you will need to become familiar with ASO (App Store Optimization). A ranking is affected by a number of different factors. The Google Play ranking algorithm and that of Apple have some similarities but there are also some differences. Here is a simple chart comparing factors influencing the Appstore ranking algorithm and that of Google Play:

Apple App Store Google Play
App Title Up to 255 characters Up to 30 characters
App Description No ASO algorithm impact Impact on the ASO algorithm
Keywords 100 character keyword field No keyword field
Screenshots Up to 5 allowed Up to 8 allowed
Categories 2 for apps, 3 for games 1 for apps, 1 for games
Video App preview 15 to 30 sec in length Promo video: YouTube video 30 sec to 2 min in length
Ratings and Reviews Impact on ASO algorithm Impact on ASO algorithm
Social Factors N/A Google + 1

Explaining What the Influencing Factors Are

Some factors of mobile app promotion that don’t directly affect rankings were included in the chart. They do have an impact on downloads and number of downloads does influence rankings. Here is further explanation of the similarities and differences between Apple and Google app stores:

app store rankingApp name: Apple allows 255 characters for the app title while Google allows only 30. Research has shown that adding keywords in the title has a significant effect on the rankings in both app stores so in Apple you have the freedom to add more easily. However, in the Apple App Store, you can’t change the title unless submitting an updated version. Google Play allows you to change the name whenever you like making it easier to perform A/B testing of the title. App titles that contained keywords had a 10.3% higher ranking than those without it

App Description and KeywordsApp description/keywords: The app description in Apples App Store has no effect on ASO. However, it is recommended that the description be SEO optimized so pages will be indexed in Google searches. Apple uses key words from the keyword field for ASO. Google Play optimization includes using keywords in the app description as they are considered in its ASO algorithm. Keyword stuffing is not allowed so it is advisable to use targeted keywords no more than five times each.

google play optimizationScreenshots: Screenshots have no effect on app ranking in either app store. Apple allows 5 and Google 8. Screenshots do drive downloads so pay attention to them and don’t overlook.


google play ranking algorithmCategories: Having more categories increases the chance of your app being discovered as a search can become more specific. This gives the Apple App Store the advantage due to the additional categories it has.


app store rankingVideo: No effect on the ASO algorithm. However, most people prefer to perceive visualized information, therefore an interesting video might grab the visitor’s attention and make him stay longer or even share your post with others. Despite no direct priveledges, having a video on your page gives a signal that your product is, first and foremost, user-oriented.

Rating and ReviewsRating and reviews: A fair amount of weight is given to ratings and reviews when ranking apps in both app stores. They are similar in their handling of reviews and ratings and fake reviews will get you banned from both app stores quickly.


Social FactorsSocial factors: Google has integrated Google + 1 into its app store allowing users to essentially “like” an app. This does influence the algorithm.


According to Search Engine Watch, the most important on-page factors in determining app ranking appear to be the app title, the app description and keywords data as stated in this article.

Achieving an app store ranking in the top 500 will be a challenge with over one million apps in both Google Play and Apples App Store and will require a thorough knowledge of the ASO algorithm and how it works, or plenty of luck. If you’re having troubles with doing that you can just ask app promotion services to help you out.

Don’t hesitate to contact us about your custom video for an app!