On November 3rd Apple issued a new app store search engine algorithm that users and industry insiders were very quick to notice. All of a sudden, searches became more intelligent and relevant, whereas certain high ranked keywords rapidly dropped to lower rankings, leaving app owners confused and on edge. Naturally, more and more clients of ours came asking about their app store ranking and whether or not it was damaged by the new algorithm. If you’re one of those concerned and confused individuals, you’re in the right place.
Here at Moburst, we’ve always believed that keywords aren’t everything and have taken a more holistic approach to app store optimization, which is why the new algorithm change didn’t quite catch us with our pants down. Therefore, we’d love to share our two cents with you and with the following survival kit compiled by our ASO experts.
Have a Flawless Description
In order for your app’s discoverability level to not be hurt by the new algorithm, make sure you have an awesome description that includes the most relevant keywords. The reason for this is that up until now the Apple app store didn’t pay attention to the keywords within the description, and only took into account the app’s title and first 100 characters. Now, the new algorithm takes keywords throughout the entire description into account which also means that from this point on app descriptions cannot be spammy and must include substantial and informative facts about the app. Our general impression from this update is that the description on the Apple App Store is seemingly becoming “judged” for keywords in a way that’s more similar to the Google Play Store.
Select the Most Appropriate Category
With the new algorithm changes it is more important than ever that you choose the most appropriate category. One of the major differences we noticed after the change is that Apple can now determine, at a much higher level, who your competitors are. If your app is in the wrong category it is less likely that it will be discovered when users are searching for competitors.
In addition, because your competitors are now seen with your app it is important to thoroughly monitor the movers and shakers and make sure your app is always close to the top.
Opt for Positive User Reviews
Another update, is that the Apple app store is starting to pay attention to user reviews. This is a gigantic step for the hardware giant and a chance for newer apps to gain an advantage. In the past, apps that had an unlimited budget could reach the top of the app store by paying their way as the app store heavily favorited app downloads (and having good keywords of course). Now however, apps will need to make sure that their users rate their app highly by asking for reviews at the right time and most importantly present a top-grade product, thus giving a chance to apps of smaller, yet satisfied user communities.
Before We Continue…
Before we continue with our list of survival guidelines, it’s important to note that the best way for any app to survive any future Apple App Store algorithm changes is not to react, but to be preemptively. Below are a couple of tools you can use to accomplish just that.
Invest in Good Creative
Unlike the Google play store algorithm which takes into account your app’s page conversion rate, the Apple search engine does not. We predict that in the near future, Apple will update its algorithm to do just that, so in order to be prepared ahead of time, you might want to start working on boosting your page’s conversion rate. This can be done by implementing excellent screenshots in your app’s page to help convince potential users to download the app.
Indexing Can Pay Off
Earlier this year Google reported that there are more Google searches taking place on mobile browsers than on computers. This is a big deal that Google and Apple have taken note of it. With indexing, apps can now be found through browser searches out of the app stores. As users are starting to use this browsing method more and more, we expect Apple to issue a new algorithm in the near future that rewards apps that are indexed and boost their app store discoverability.