Apple has issued a stern warning to developers found to be artificially inflating the rankings of their apps, but an expert says there are plenty of above-board ways that start-ups can boost their apps’ rankings.
Apple has issued statement saying it will not stand for any manipulation of App Store rankings, warning any developers who do will be kicked off the App store.
“Once you build a great app, you want everyone to know about it,” Apple said on its site.
“However, when you promote your app, you should avoid using services that advertise or guarantee top placement in App Store charts.”
“Even if you are not personally engaged in manipulating App Store chart rankings or user reviews, employing services that do so on your behalf may result in the loss of your Apple Developer Program membership.”
The news comes after an anonymous developer blew the whistle on the practice of using automated PCs – known as bot farms – to push apps up the charts.
Bots are pieces of software that run automated tasks on the internet.
According to the developer, who made an anonymous posting on a gaming forum, it is common practice to pay bot farms to inflate rankings.
The developer said an unnamed firm offer to give his app a top 25 ranking in return for $5,000. He said the firm had listed some of its other clients, and openly described its business model.
“I was totally shocked when I heard that… eight apps in the top 25 were all promoted by them,” he said.
According to online entrepreneur Fred Schebesta, there are plenty of ways to boost your app’s rankings without getting into trouble:
Have a great title and use keywords
“Use words in you title to describe your app as best as you can,” Schebesta says.
“Also, use keywords. Think of relevant keywords people search for… There is a debate as to whether this increases your traffic so try not to be too niche.”
Try to get reviews
“Some people ask users to review their app – a popup appears on the screen. This can be pretty annoying but it might work.”
Know your customer
“Sometimes, people make an app but they haven’t identified who the users are. They’re making technology but there are no customers for it.”
“They either don’t deliver enough, deliver something else or they deliver too much. It’s important to understand that core scenario the customer is going through.”
“Lots of people make stuff for nobody. They’re vague about who they’re going to make it for. Make sure you’ve got a customer.”
Make it awesome
“The big think to take out of all of this is to make an awesome app. The more awesome you make it, the better it will go.”
“Look at your users and figure out what they want, and deliver it better than anyone else. It sounds simple and obvious but it’s a very involved process.”