#4 - Age Isn't Just a Number...

Ariel Ariel
3 minute read 8/17/21

Have you ever looked at search results in the App Store and wondered why they're ranked the way they are? In this series of Keyword Teardowns we analyze how the algorithm works and highlight tips and tricks to help you rank higher.

#4 - Age Isn't Just a Number...

Does the App Store understand seniority? That's something I get asked often, and the topic of this Keyword Teardown.

Apple's and Google's search algorithms are black boxes and completely undocumented, but when you look at enough data, patterns start to emerge. I actively analyze search results to reverse engineer how the stores decide which apps to rank and how to rank them, and share what I find, including tips, tricks, and secrets, here for you to learn from.

Keyword: Bingo

68 high 95 very high 8K moderate

We'll kick off this Keyword Teardown with a keyword that's somewhat related to games. In the last Keyword teardown, we looked at its close relative, Poker, so this should fit the same rules. But, does it?

Search results for "bingo" in the U.S App Store

At first glance, this set of results almost makes sense. The top app has almost the most downloads, the second and third follow, but then we come across #4, which has terrible performance and barely any ratings. Skip it quickly, and you'll land on the top app in the category. That's right. The most downloaded app is sitting 5th. Why?!?!?!?

We'll get there.

But let's start at the top. Bingo Blitz™ leads in downloads, ratings, but... it repeats the main keyword too often and devalues it entirely by placing it in the middle of its subtitle. Lucky for it however, its competitors follow the same terrible pattern, so its performance gives it the upper hand.

If Bingo! or Bingo Holiday remove the duplication, they should be able to eclipse it, even though they have far fewer downloads and nearly no ratings. That last one could be an issue, so if you're the developers behind either app, remove your duplication and aim to get your users to rate the app. You're welcome.

Now to the weirdness lower down in ranks 4 and 5. Bingo at Home, the #4 result, has so few downloads that our AI can't estimate them, and that's supported by only a single new rating in the last 30 days. Obviously, it's not getting much love. In #5, we have the category leader with 386K estimated downloads and 4K new ratings in the last 30 days.

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How is it possible that the app with the most downloads and almost the most ratings isn't #1, or even #2, or 3 or 4? That has to do with one little tiny detail that's missing from the screenshot above (but is visible in Inspector), and that's its age. Bingo Clash is very young, just about a year old. Its competitors are much older, ranging from 3 to 9 years. That makes a difference.

So what do you do as a new entrant? Focus! We already know that focus beats performance, and if I had to optimize Bingo Clash, that's exactly what I'd do.

FYI - There might be something with Apple pushing apps that mention "cash" in their name down the ranks artificially. I can't prove it so I'm just putting it out there. If you're using the keyword or were considering adding it, I'd suggest against it.

What You Need to Know

Older apps get a bit more love from the algorithm. It's probably one of the smallest boosts an app can get, but it's still something. If your app is new, you can get ahead by focusing your keywords and getting new ratings, even if you don't have the downloads.

Are You Putting My Tips to Good Use?

App Store Optimization is part art and part science. I say it a lot, and I mean it. The art part is what I've been talking about in this Keyword Teardown and in my App Teardowns. The science part is where our simple and intuitive ASO tools come into play. See where your apps are ranked, track trends, snoop on competitors, get suggestions, here.

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