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How to Make Your App Rank High on Google Play Store App developers should not try to get fake ratings and reviews as Google measures 'time spent in the app' and 'retention' of the user who gave your app a 5-star rating

By Siddhartha Ahluwalia

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There are 3 million mobile apps on Google Play Store and just 30 categories. This implies that on an average, you are competing across 100,000 apps in your category. Every mobile app developer wants their app to stand out and get ranked as the top app. The high ranking of your app depends on various factors. It takes time, patience, understanding of your target audience and a lot more to get to the apex position.

If you are an app developer looking to improve your app ranking and ultimately aiming to get your app as Rank 1, you have to pay attention to the following factors:

Build a Product Which People Want

As said numerous times by Paul Graham, founder Y-Combinator, the best start-up incubator in the world, "make a product which people want". If you build an app nobody wants than what you are doing is blindly hoping that people stick to your product and keep on using it. Your app has to be centred around a niche which can fulfill the need of the users. The test of a great app is "the toothbrush test". If you build a product which users cannot survive without using it daily like say a toothbrush, you are on your way to becoming a successful app developer. Google measures how much time users spend daily on your app, the frequency of app usage and retention i.e. for every 100 users, how many do not uninstall your app.

Organic Growth

Are you getting paid downloads or does your app have organic downloads? Google tracks the source of your customer acquisition. Organic downloads are those which users discover without you displaying ads across various ad networks like Google Play Store and Facebook. Content Marketing, your app Social media and in-app referrals are 3 most effective mediums of organic growth.

Time Spent

If you make an app which users love, they will start spending more and more time each week after they have downloaded your app. The best apps featured and ranked as no 1 on Google has time spent per user of more than 1 hour per week. Great apps like Whatsapp and Facebook have users spending a couple of hours per day on them.


If 100 users download your mobile app every day, how many still use the app 30 days, 60 days or 90 days afterwards? How many users have uninstalled your app? The app with the highest retention in a category has the maximum chances to be featured as rank no 1 on Play Store.

Daily Downloads

When Google chooses to feature an app, the app with highest daily downloads also counts along with the above factors.

No of Overall downloads

As you grow day by day and keep on improving your product your downloads increase. A steady and consistently healthy rate of downloads improves the rating of your app.

App Store Rating

The best apps in any category have ratings above 4.4 out of 5. App developers should not try to get fake ratings and reviews as Google measures 'time spent in the app' and 'retention' of the user who gave your app a 5-star rating. If Google measures any asymmetric correlation between these two then it might penalize your app by decreasing your ratings. The best way to boost your ratings is to keep on improving your product, interacting 1 to 1 with your users and taking in their feedback constantly. Loyal app users love when they see their feedback being implemented as new features in the app.

App Store Reviews

Google tracks keywords like 'love', 'like', 'useful' and other positive keywords in the app reviews the users write along with app store ratings. Negative keywords are also taken into consideration like 'not-useful', 'bad', 'hate, etc. If users leave negative reviews of your app on Play Store then try contacting them personally. Seek out their concerns and try to work on that. You should contact them again and request them to revise their reviews. The apps which get featured have positive keywords count of 1000 or more.

Active Users

90% of the mobile apps have active users below 10%. Active users are those who have downloaded the app but yet not un-installed it. The apps getting featured have an active user base of above 30% except for gaming apps. Snapchat, the most trending app these days has an active user base of 44%.

Keeping the above 9 factors in consideration will help improve your app's ranking in the app store.

Siddhartha Ahluwalia

Founder, 100x Entrepreneur Podcast

Siddhartha Ahluwalia, is the Co-Founder of Babygogo, a mom & baby healthcare mobile platform where Moms can connect to other Moms and experts to get solutions to all their parenting worries. Babygogo is ranked by Google Playstore as No 1 app in Parenting 
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