Check Out Google Play Tags in AppTweak’s Live Search

Marie-Laure Cruytby 
CPO at AppTweak

5 min read

When you search for a keyword in the Play Store, you might occasionally come across a set of tags linked to each app that ranks for that particular keyword. Termed Google Play Tags, these are a unique feature implemented by Google to help categorize and identify apps more effectively within the Play Store.

Our Live Search feature prominently displays these Google Play Tags.

What are Google Play tags?

Earlier this year, Google released its tags, a set of labels that you can associate to your app to help better categorize it. According to the tags you set for your app, Google will associate it with other apps that have similar tags. As a developer, you can add up to 5 tags to your app in the Google Console. These tags are defined worldwide.

Check out the full list of available Google tags

In parallel, Google has also started to show tags directly in the search results of the Play Store and in an app’s product page. These tags are selected by Google and aren’t necessarily the tags that you added to your app. In fact, some are not even available for developers to choose from in the Google Play Console. search in Play Store.png

Google shows tags for games in search results and on product page.

These tags currently only appear for games. Their main objective is to help users understand the type of game they’re looking at. The first tag is the game’s category, then follow 1 or 2 tags added by the Google algorithm. These tags can either come from the list of available tags in the Google Console, or additional tags added by Google such as “Offline” or “Single Player”.

Learn more about Google Tags and how to use them

How can I see the tags shown by Google in the Play Store search results?

You can see which tags are associated with a game using the AppTweak Live Search feature. Keep in mind that the first “tag” is actually the category of the app or game. to find Live Search.png

Use the AppTweak Live Search feature to view the tags shown by Google in the Play Store on games.png

Games in the Play Store are now listed with additional tags in the search results

More on the AppTweak Live Search feature

These extra tags are currently only visible only on games. Therefore, apps in search results will only appear with one tag: their category.

Apps in the Play Store are not listed with additional tags in the search results, only their category is visible.

In the example below, we clearly see the difference between game and app results. Only the game results have extra tags, whereas the app results only have their category visible.

Play Store search results with both apps and games

Finally, it’s also good to note that tags won’t appear when the result is an ad, or when it is put in evidence by Google (i.e. a branded search).

Tags don’t appear on branded searches or ads

How do tags impact app visibility?

To measure the impact of tags on keyword rankings, we carried out several experiments. One of them consisted of searching for keywords that contained tag names and adding the word “games”. For instance “offline games” or “shooter games”. We then checked if the games within the top 10 search results for these words also had the corresponding tag showing on their listing. The results were quite random!

Comparing the tags of the top apps that rank of search terms that are very close to the tags.

From what this short analysis shows, in some cases, Google is more likely to show apps it has tagged in a specific category on similar keyword searches. Very specific searches such as “tower defense games” or “offline games” lead to results where a majority of the top apps also have the corresponding tag show in their listing.

However, when it comes to broader searches like “casual games” or “management games”, very few apps in the search results also have the tag on their listing.

As of today, and throughout our experiments, we couldn’t prove any direct link between tags and keyword ranking, however, tags could affect conversion rate. Given that they highlight the type of each game in the results, this might persuade a user to click on a specific result or encourage him to keep scrolling depending on the kind of game he is after.

A closer look at the impact of Google Play tags

It’s important to remind that, in this analysis, we were looking at the tags Google labeled each game with, not the tags defined by the game’s publisher. The tags that are added by the publisher through the app’s console will help Google associate that app with others. These tags can therefore directly impact the app’s similar apps or the apps that Google will include in that app’s peer group in its console. Tags might even have an influence on the apps that appear together in a featuring.

Example of similar apps and featuring in the Play Store

5 key insights on Google tags that appear in Play Store search results

  1. Only games have tags showing in the Play Store, apps just have their category
  2. The tags are apparent both in search results and the product page
  3. They are defined by Google and can differ from the list of tags available in the console.
  4. They have no direct impact on keyword rankings but could affect click-through and conversion rate
  5. They do not appear in Ads and branded results.

Check out the tags in the AppTweak Live Search for yourself!

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Marie-Laure Cruyt
by , CPO at AppTweak
Marie-Laure is CPO at AppTweak, she has always worked in digital companies with a product focused around an app or a SaaS. She’s a real (dark only) chocolate lover.