URL / Package as a Search Ranking Factor in Google Play Store [ASO — App Store Optimization]

Google Play ASO is not SEO, but sometimes it is.

I have a strong SEO (Search Engine Optimization) background, not technical, but I have it. And I know, more or less, how web Search Engines work, mostly Google. In Google SEO, keywords in domain / URL have a direct impact in Search Rankings, that’s why EMD tactics work.

EMD = Exact Match Domain

And in Google Play ASO things work similar… Let’s see a curious case!

Super Mario Run game ranks for “zara” keyword in Google Play Store

App Store Optimization

You know ASO (App Store Optimization) is the process of optimizing the visibility and conversion rates of a mobile app in the app stores BLA BLA BLA… But which factors REALLY influence Google Play ASO when it comes to Search?

Google Play ASO: Known Search Ranking factors

Almost all content (text) of a Google Play Store listing helps ranking / ranking higher in Search.

On-Metadata factors

  • Title: Add main relevant keywords!
  • Short description: Add main relevant keywords! (you can view any short description of any app with this)
  • Long description: Add TONS of keywords!
  • Developer name: Try to add some keywords!
  • URL / Package: Add 1 or 2 keywords too. Why not? (😱)

On-Metadata helps ranking higher in Search, but on-metadata needs off-metadata…

Off-Metadata factors (direct + non-direct)

  • Installs volume and speed: The more installs and the fastest you get them, the better
  • Reviews + ratings: Similar to Installs
  • Backlinks: Backlinks don’t impact ASO directly, but they help you rank better in “App Packs” (SEO) and get more installs. So, Backlinks are a non-direct off-metadata ASO factor but they help improve Search rankings in Google Play Store. Soon I’m posting a nice article about this! UPDATE: I was wrong…

1. Super Mario Run arrives at Google Play Store, but you can’t download it (December 29, 2016)

At the end of last year / beginning of year 2017, when Super Mario Run got its Google Play Store listing and users were not able to download the game, I remember discussing with my team and ThomasBCN it was a bit strange that string “zara” appeared in the URL / Package of the game:

String “zara” appears in the URL of Super Mario Run game in Google Play… WTF?
id=com.nintendo.zara

With that in mind, I remember searching for “zara” in the Google Play Store website (from Spain), waiting to see Super Mario Run ranking high for “zara” keyword, but the game was not ranking for it…

Anyway, who or what is “zara”? Is “zara” the internal name in Nintendo for Super Mario Run game for Android? Which is the reason for this? Please, Nintendo, tell us!

zara? WTF?

Personally, I would have chosen another URL / Package for this great (in my opinion) game.

id=com.nintendo.supermariorun

or

id=com.nintendo.supermario

I suspect Nintendo doesn’t care about ASO (and probably they should), but it’s very weird to read “zara” in a URL of a Nintendo game… Sometimes it’s not only a matter of ASO, it’s a matter of aesthetics!

2. Super Mario Run for Android is finally available to download! (March 23)

On March 23, Super Mario Run game for Android finally was officially launched at the Google Play Store and quickly (so quickly) started generating millions of installs, improving search rankings, top chart rankings, positive ratings / reviews (xD), etc.

Yesterday, April 4, MiriamPeláez (my wife, partner and everything! ❤️) told me: “Hey Daniel, search for “zara” in Google Play Store…” and voilà:

We all know “zara” is a worldwide very popular spanish fashion brand and a person name but, when it comes to SEO / ASO, “zara” is a keyword with VERY HIGH traffic and VERY HIGH difficulty… Why is Super Mario Run ranking so high for keyword “zara” (even better than other fashion brand apps from Inditex group)? What has happened here?!

Keyword in URL / Package + off-metada boost = ASO Epic Win

I think keywords in URL / Package have a low impact in Search Rankings but, in this case (this only happens with BIG BIG apps / games), off-metadata (installs + user feedback) has helped Super Mario Run rank higher for “zara” keyword appearing in package.

I’ve checked “zara” keyword rankings for Super Mario Run Android game in some countries (Italy, Japan, Algeria, USA, Spain, Canada, Australia, etc.) with our ASO tool TheTool and game ranks top 10–20. Delicious!

Please, feel free to share your opinion / experience about URL / Package as a ASO Search Ranking factor in Google Play Store and spread the word. Thanks in advance!

UPDATED: If you want to know more about ASO on Google Play you can read this guide we published on TheTool blog.

PS: What would happen if some users write reviews that contain keyword “zara” on Super Mario Run google play store listing?

PS2: Have you tried our Google Play & App Store keyword tool?