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18 July, 2017

The New Android App Title: More Characters, Better Keyword Rankings?

app title - keyword rankings

The Google Play Developer Console (now known simply as the Play Console) is constantly upgraded and improved in order to give developers more insights that enable them to better analyze data and, thereby, make more precise conclusions. At yellowHEAD, we always strive to track and utilize the new opportunities to our clients’ benefit.

One recent major change to the Play Console was an increase of the app title length restriction from 30 to 50 characters (while the iOS 11 update includes exactly the opposite – they reduced length of the app title from 50 to 30 characters, while introducing a new Subtitle section – read more about Apple’s new App Store features here).

App title length effect on rankings

The main effect of your app title is on visibility in the Play Store, influenced by keyword rankings.

In the ASO world, the common knowledge of keyword rankings is that the title provides the strongest potential to be ranked for specific keywords. The second strongest place is considered to be the short description, and the least impactful is the long description.

So, if we’ll plant a strategic keyword in the new title, would it be indexed and, by that, lead to a better rank for that keyword? Would the 20 characters addition be indexed as strongly as the first 30 characters, or is it just a cosmetic addition?

There is no way to make any 100% claims for either of these arguments, but from collecting observations, we can increase the probability for you to go in the right direction.

In order to understand better indexing for keywords in the title, we compared ranking before and after the title update, from several gaming verticals and apps from the Tools category. Examples were taken from different locales and different keywords placements.

Here are the results:

Observation of 7 titles with a long-tail keyword starting before the 30-character mark and extending past it reveals:

57% (4/7 titles) showed an improvement in ranking for the long-tail keyword

29% no effect

14% decrease

app title - long-tail keyword before and after 30 char

Observation of 18 titles with a long-tail keyword following the 30-character mark revealed:

50% improvement

39% no effect

11% decrease

app title - long-tail keyword after 30 char

Observation of 26 titles with a short-tail keyword following the 30-character mark revealed:

35% improvement

62% no effect

3% negative effect

app title - short-tail keyword after 30 char

What about your conversion rate?

So, after understanding the possible effects on keyword rankings, we want to address the conversion rate as well. A title has the power to lure\turn away those users who have found your app listing due to your keyword placement decisions. But will they convert?

The effect of the transition to a 50-character length title on conversion rates may vary from app to app. Longer titles are usually not very appealing to users, so you need to take that into consideration when adding additional keywords and weigh this against these keywords’ added value (low competition keywords may benefit your app more than just another general term).

In Conclusion:

The 20 additional characters are indexed, though not as strongly as the first 30. Planting a long-tail keyword that would start within the first 30 characters and end in the additional 20 would be the best option to choose, but choose what to add wisely in order to not harm your precious conversion rate.

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