App Store Optimization: Losing Prominence to Bad Influence

Hard-work, perseverance, and firm faith in your abilities could have called the prerequisites to achieve success in the real-world, but do they hold same distinction or relevancy when it comes to virtual (read, web) world? In all probability, they do not. It has to be like this because the way things move along in the virtual world is totally different than they do in reality. No matter how good your website is or how unique and appealing your product is, it might not receive the deserved-attention until or unless, it’s promoted thoroughly. It’s SEO or Search Engine Optimization that ensures better visibility, sale and other such results that prominence brings along with it.

Here, in this article, we would concentrate on the domain of mobile apps – and see how the rules of SEO is reflected in ASO.

If Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is essential for augmenting the visibility of websites on search engine results, App Store Optimization (ASO) is important to increase the visibility of apps or to bolster their presence on mobile phones apps search results across stores (like on Google, Apple etc) that features those apps.

Understanding ASO (App Store Optimization):

To develop and launch a mobile app is a job half done, because, once you are done with app testing, you need to formulate a comprehensive plan to make it popular.

An app has to score high on discoverability, which would translate into conversions or downloads. Thus, to improve the visibility of your app, you need to opt for ASO to boost up its app store search rankings, downloads and overall discoverability. Though, SEO is far more complex and evolved process, ASP is still in the nascent stage, but it has been consistently expanding in scope as there is an ever-increasing surge in the demand of apps. The fate of an app depends upon where it ranks in the search results – rather than where it ranks in the charts. Thus, the competition is high.

All that glitters is not gold:

The ethical way to earn a decent ranking for apps is based upon tried and tested techniques, which need patience and faith in your product, a quality that everyone cannot offer. Add to it the factor of competition! With thousands of apps coming every month, it has become a big task to get noticed for your app and this is where publishers or developers opt for unethical methods. Instead of making a robust app, publishers or developers manipulate app ratings to get more downloads for their apps. In fact, some of them even use fake downloads and bogus app reviews on a large scale to mislead the genuine users or downloaders. Such reviews create ripple effects because people get encouraged by them and consequently end up downloading those apps. This sophisticated form of cheating enables publishers or developers to earn quick money – and more publicity, resulting into more revenues. In short, with money-power, big companies can win this race always against the small studios or start-ups who can’t invest for such publicity.

The process of manipulation:

This process is quite simple. Here, scammers maintain thousands of bogus users’ accounts or bots, which are used to download an app multiple times. In the end, these apps appear popular and consequently begin to top the charts of downloads. Now-a-days, such scammers also use paid/fake reviews, which add to the credibility of apps. By setting up a dubious account, spammers use an article spinning software, which can yield hundreds of variations of one review, which eventually make it difficult for all those spam detection programs to find out that all these reviews have been written by the same person. Moreover, developers also pay people to post reviews. Those who download these apps actually trust these reviews more than download data information, which is not public information. Ultimately, this manipulation causes a lot of damage to good apps and also renders genuine reviews ineffective. Especially the paid or ‘managed’ reviews for iOS or Android games convince the average end-users for literally gigabytes of downloads. Many remarks or reviews of genuine players speak about low quality and homogeneous gameplay with re-skinned character models or objects. Expect no immediate improvement in this matter, especially when Google Play and Apple App Store are crowded with countless identical games.

The checkpoints: Preventive Measures to be taken

The trend of floating fake reviews has become a menace for everyone from all the genuine reviewers, app publishers and to those who download them. To tackle this problem, Google has come up with a new policy recently, which prohibits the app developers to alter the placement of any product in the store. In fact, it also discourages the publishers to indulge in any sort of fraudulent installs or encouraging fake ratings or reviews by offering incentives to rate products. Google has been keeping an eye on all this and though there are some checkpoints already in place, it would further come up with some stringent measures to reduce manipulation and spamming of results, which have been ruining the overall user experience.

As a publisher or developer of apps, you can opt for the best and rigorous methods of testing to make your apps foolproof and long-lasting. The quality of your product will speak for it. Go for focus group testing, listen to the feedback of beta testers carefully and try executing the best ideas from early-stage user experience (UX) testing. There are many notable and hugely popular apps these days, which gained tremendous following with word of mouth. So, ultimately it is the quality that matters, which can be achieved by testing your apps thoroughly rather than taking the help of fake or paid reviews.

 

Article by,

Laxmikant B. Thipse
Founder & CEO
GameCloud Technologies Pvt Ltd

About Laxmikant Thipse

Video Game Validation Expert