Changes to App Store Ranking Algorithm Combat Keyword Stuffing

Alex Spencer

Tune Spotify graphApple has tweaked the algorithm used to decide App Store rankings in order to crack down on 'keyword stuffing', the practice of using lengthy titles for apps to include as many popular keywords as possible.

It's a popular ASO practice among app publishers but one that Apple is combating by weighting titles differently in its algorithm. It's a move towards a more 'sophisticated' approach to search, according to mobile marketing firm Tune (which was in the headlines itself last week, after acquiring Artisan Mobile).

“In the future, they could incorporate and weigh ranking factors like engagement, uninstalls, install/uninstall ratio, and ratings/reviews more heavily, and not focus so much on download and download velocity,” Tune told TechCrunch.

Over the last month, this change has impacted Top Chat and search rankings for both iPad and iPhone. As seen in the graph above, Spotify saw its app drop from the number three spot when searching for 'free music', all the way down to number eight.

As part of this crackdown, Apple has been contacting developers with long app titles asking them to upload a new version with a shorter title, according to TechCrunch's report.