How a Puzzle App Got to the Top of “Strategy” Searches on Google Play.

App store optimization is an easy way to increase visibility of your app. Even one small name change or keyword addition can help improve your app’s listing to the top of search result.

We thought we’d give MobileDevHQ a try to see if it could help boost our app, 7×7, to the top of Google Play. The results were mystifying.

If you’d like to try MobileDevHQ, they’ve provided a month of their Publisher Level free at this link ($350 value). We suggest taking a look.

1. What is MobileDevHQ

MobileDevHQ is a tool used to measure an app’s visibility on Google Play or Apple’s App store. While something like App Annie provides raw numbers and rankings, MobileDevHQ can provide keyword insights and competitor research to help identify opportunities for apps.

MobileDevHQ will also measure downloads and rankings to help correlate your changes with improved visibility.

2. Experimenting with 7×7 on Google Play

Our Match-4 Puzzle app, 7×7, has been featured on GooglePlay a few times. A feature like this provides a great temporarily boost to visibility, but we want to increase our visibility over the long term. To do so, we must first identify some searchable keywords that could help increase the discoverability of our app.

Similar to good SEO practices, we want to identify keywords that have a high volume of searches with low competition from other apps. To do so, we need to get a little creative and plug in some potential words into MobileDevHQ’s “Keyword Research” tool.

Difficulty refers to the competition for a word. Volume refers to the # of searches made using the word.

What you see here is a range of game category words mixed with adjectives. With all our new keywords searches in place, we can begin identifying what keywords we might add 7×7’s name for our Google Play listing.

3. Choosing new keywords

After a little deliberation, we identified our top choices for keywords.

Here’s our top terms we want to include in our app name:
Best – a basic descriptive word with low competition and HUGE volume
Color – Color is important to 7×7 and has low competition even though the category is not a fit
Strategy – Not the best fit for a puzzle game like 7×7, but we want to see if we can show up here
Puzzle – MobileDevHQ is unsure of the competition, but a perfect fit for 7×7
Brain – Similar reasons to ‘Puzzle’
Game – Surprising low competition with high # of searches

Since we only have 30 characters to work with, we couldn’t use all of these terms. Our final decision was 7×7 – Best Color Strategy Game.

We thought this reflected how somebody might actually search GooglePlay, similar to searching Google for “Best [blank] games on Android.”

4. Results

In one week, we saw 7×7 climb one point on MobileDevHQ’s popularity meter.


This is described as, “A proprietary metric of an app’s popularity that takes into account an app’s Top Charts and search ranking performance and user engagement, measured on a scale of 0 to 10.”

That’s great, but what are something notable results we can see on GooglePlay?

Let’s start general and search “Strategy” on Google Play.

Sitting at #42. Before the name-change? Nowhere.

We’re sitting at #42 when somebody searches strategy. We weren’t even on the map for this keyword previous to the name change.

Let’s go one deeper and search “Strategy Game”.


As expected, 7×7 is listed as #21, given that two direct keywords were used in search. Again, 7×7 never showed anywhere in the listing for Strategy Games.

Let’s go even deeper. Let’s search what we initially thought is a natural search, “Best Strategy Games” on GooglePlay.


In just one week, 7×7 now appears at #3 for the term “Best Strategy Games” on GooglePlay. It may not be the best categorization for 7×7, but we were just looking to illustration how a strategic name change can affect your listings on GooglePlay (or the App Store).

Additionally, the term “Color” proved difficult to crack, until search becomes refined to “Best Color Game.” This is a term we would consider going back to the drawing board on. It appears #10 on “Best Color Game” but nowhere on the map when removing one of the three terms.

5. Where do we go from here?

We proved our point in achieving visibility for 7×7 for search terms that it would never show up for previously. From here, we’d continue to search out and refine our listing as it relates more closely to bumping 7×7’s status in the puzzle category on GooglePlay. We’d take these findings and begin experimenting with iOS, too.

We also didn’t tackle anything in this experiment related to improving downloads via ASO, something we’ll leave for a future post.

App store optimization is an important tool to utilize for any app. Make sure you employ some clever tactics before you start thinking about paying for downloads.

Again, If you’d like to try MobileDevHQ, they’ve provided a month of their Publisher Level free at this link ($350 value). We suggest you do some experiments of your own.

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  • Jonas Petersson

    You seem to have failed miserably recently as the 7×7 app is not even listed on Play at the moment? Did you fail to answer the age related questions?