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Apple is finally adjusting its algorithm to improve app rankings in the App Store. Boston based Fiksu recently noticed certain changes in the App Store pattern that indicated a possibility that Apple is all ears to developers who have been complaining about black hat practices that make app discovery and quality ranks a challenge.

Average app store ranking by ratings

Fiksu also noticed that app positions which were changing every 15 minutes in the past were now changing every 3 hours. Developers are acknowledging it as a good sign because Apple algorithm is scrutinizing app ranks more closely now.

Apple will now be taking into account app ratings to determine app positions, along with other elements. Fiksu reported that apps with ratings of four stars and more saw a rank boost whereas apps with less than three stars saw a downfall in App Store ranking charts in the month of July. A notable factor here is that the apps moving down the charts haven’t moved back, despite downloads per usual.

Apple is taking the forefront to prevent unethical app rankings

This accounts for a fact that Apple is testing various changes and is considering consumer preference. Download volumes played an important role in rankings previously, which were easy to gain using black hat practices, but the pattern is expected to take a swift turn.

Robotic or inorganic means of downloads are identifiable with short download bursts but were being used in the past, and maybe are still being used. For Indie developers who could not afford huge marketing budgets and were always left distressed, a step like this by Apple comes as a sigh of relief. The game looks fair now, and more focus is on gaining genuine ratings and launching app updates to stay in the sight of users. Reports suggest that Apple is convinced to check significant anomalies this time and prevent any unethical ways of gaining position in the app store.

What’s still bothering indie developers?

App discovery is a problem that needs a solution, and Apple’s efforts to improve app store rankings will take time. There are some apps ranking high in the charts that could be using unethical methods.

Analytics firm Distimo recently revealed that to strike into the top 50 charts for iPhone apps, a developer of a free-to-play app must have 23,000 daily downloads and an obnoxious 70,000 per day to break into the top 10. Either high downloads or a high marketing budget is required to break into the top charts in the App Store, and this is nearly impossible for indie developers.

It can’t be claimed that all quality apps in the top charts are using unethical ways to gain rankings, but the fact remains that illegitimate downloads happen. Some apps in the charts are in that position because of an amazing user experience, popularity of their brand, word of mouth, gameplay, and other genuine reasons. But there are some that are ranking because of practices that Apple needs to address.

An indie developer’s 6 ways to aim for longevity in the App Store

An app developer must aim for longevity during the conception of an app. All big brands have an app marketing strategy ready while they are still in the early stages of app development. This gives you an edge over others in the industry. Also, having a lavish marketing budget is a dream unfulfilled for indie app developers. So, be ready with at least:

  • A stream of updates
  • Adjusting price tags, if the app is paid or has paid features
  • Social media back up
  • An app store optimization strategy
  • A couple of really good app reviews
  • App test for bugs and performance issues prior to release and update

Quality & UX is the Mantra

App rankings in Apple’s App Store have been argued about almost each time discussed. However, this step by Apple to improve rankings must be commended, and indie developers should especially take it in a positive stride. Appurify’s recent report confirms that to break into the top 1,000 charts, an app must have a four star rating as a minimum requirement, along with other factors. This clearly signifies that Apple wants developers to focus on consumer preference while working on an app. A developer’s attention should be on user experience and quality going forward.

Our team of expert iOS app developers and optimizers can help you secure Top ranking for your app in the Apple App Store. Get In Touch NOW!

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