Dec 13

App Store Ranking Algorithm Change

Today MobileDevHQ reported that they are seeing unusually large changes in app rankings in the App Store for keywords that they are tracking. Usually this indicates the rollout of a new or tweaked algorithm in the App Store.

This change is not affecting the way apps are ranked in the top lists, which are based primarily on the number of downloads for each app. The change is related to the order apps are shown when you search the App Store using keywords.

MobileDevHQ and many others are still researching and analyzing the effects of this change in order to reverse-engineer Apple’s intent behind this. It’s still early, but it looks like matches against the app title is given lower weight. This limits the effectiveness of keyword stuffing your app title. This should hopefully reduce the amount of clutter you have to endure when browsing the App Store; something that is probably in Apple’s interest.

More dramatic changes are related to generic keywords like “travel”, “banking” and “music”. MobileDevHQ lists a few examples of banking apps from big banks that have seen their ranking change by over 50%.

What should you do as an App Business owner?

Check the rankings of your own apps and of your close competitors. (I recommend that you subscribe to a tracking service like MobileDevHQ or SensorTower to get this data automatically.) Check both results for your app titles and main keywords. Have you gone up or down in the rankings? Start doing some keyword research to see what changes you can make to improve your rankings. Since we can only change an app’s keywords in conjunction with submitting a new binary, I wouldn’t do that just yet. Since this change is very new, there is yet very little data to go on. Also we only have another week to submit apps before the holiday shutdown of iTunes Connect. Don’t rush out a new build and risk messing something up before the all important holiday sales season.

The AppsFire App To Be Removed From The App Store

AppsFire is one of the most popular app discovery apps directed towards consumers, and in my opinion one of the better designed apps in this category. Today Ouriel Ohayon announced that the company is pulling the app from the App Store to focus on their new service for developers.

One one hand I don’t like the focus on temporary sales that apps like AppsFire have, but they do drive a lot of downloads. AppsFire claims to have 12 million unique users and have driven 2 billion downloads/recommendations from their app since 2009.

If any of you readers have used the new AppsFire SDK, I would love to hear about your experience.

written by Nick