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App Store Keyword Ranking Algorithm Study: Metadata Ranking Strength

Gabe Kwakyi | August 22, 2016

When working on app store keyword ranking for iOS apps, the two most important metadata locations that keywords can rank from are: your app's title and keywords field.


Today's app store keyword ranking study is a follow up to a prior post on how keyword location and match status (scrambled or exact) influence that app's rank. Our study covered 3 apps attaining diverse rankings and looked at four segments of keywords. Here is an example of each segment, and here are our findings. Remember that a negative % vs the average rank is desirable, given this means the rank is at a lower number and closer to 1.


app store keyword ranking algorithm study


Average app keyword ranking strength per keyword segment (average of each keyword segment's +/- percentage in ranking vs each individual app's average rank):


#1 Exact match title: -43% vs app's average keyword rank
#3 Scrambled match title +12.7% vs app's average keyword rank
#2 Partial match title/KWs +.7% vs app's average keyword rank
#4 Keywords match only +29.7% vs app's average keyword  rank


This fascinating study, while small-scale and without the confidence in significance of an official test, provides preliminary data rebutting our prior assumptions that keywords must be held entirely in the title to benefit from title strength ranking. Moreover, it seems that a keyword phrase made up of words entirely in the title but in a scrambled position underperform keyword phrases made of a word found in both the title and keywords field.


App #1 (7 keywords each, non-branded); Average rank: 9.1


Exact match title app's average keyword rank: 4 (-56% vs average rank)
Scrambled match title app's average keyword rank: 5.4 (-40% vs average)
Partial match title/KWs app's average keyword rank: 14.1 (+55% vs average)
Keywords match only app's average keyword rank: 12.9 (+41% vs average)


App #2 (4 keywords each, non-branded); Average rank: 141.6


Exact match title app's average keyword rank: 128.3 (-9% vs average rank)
Scrambled match title app's average keyword rank: 185 (+31% vs average)
Partial match title/KWs app's average keyword rank: 116.8 (-18% vs average)
Keywords match only app's average keyword rank: 136.5 (-4% vs average)


App #3 (7 keywords each, non-branded); Average rank: 22.7


Exact match title app's average keyword rank: 8.1 (-64% average rank)
Scrambled match title app's average keyword rank: 33.4 (+47% average)
Partial match title/KWs app's average keyword rank: 14.7 (-35% average)
Keywords match only app's average keyword rank: 34.4 (+52% average)



That's all for now folks! Thanks for reading - stay tuned to the Incipia blog or subscribe to our email list for more app store optimization tips, tricks and hacks.


Incipia is a mobile app development and marketing agency that builds and markets apps for companies with a development specialty in high-quality code architecture and keyword-based marketing optimizations. For blog/video or speaking requests, business or press inquiries please contact us at hello@incipia.co.