The smart person learns from their mistakes, the genius also learns from the mistakes of others. Learning from the world of search engine optimisation can help you avoid the pitfalls of not just individuals but, arguably, the entire industry.
Firstly, note that the SEO world and the ASO (App Store Optimisation) world are closely linked due to their alogrithmic nature as well as the fact that Google is a controlling player in both.
Next, if you are involved in SEO you’ll know that this week we were issued with the news that all organic traffic phrases will be hidden from us – check out this article on seo round table. This makes it very difficult for SEO’s to do their job from now on. Not impossible, just difficult.
This latest development is a further blow from Google following their ramp up of algorithm updates since 2011: take a look at this Moz’s algo update timeline, which has been catalysed by those who game the algorithm, understandably, to earn more money.
App Store Optimization (ASO) will see the same happen in the future. If companies continue to leverage apps to game the algorithm to sell their app or gain popularity, we will see a shift to spammy results then to tighter app store guidelines with retroactive penalties.
What Happens When Google Turns The Screw?
Here are some examples of what happened to the traffic for site whose owner didn’t obey Google’s terms and conditions and didn’t earn their rank.
Let’s Try A Little Role Playing…
Imagine that this was your app business. Imagine that the salaries of you and your employees were paid from the revenue generated from the traffic which you lost overnight. Think about this situation. It’s happening all the time with online companies which don’t have the brand awareness to prop themselves up after a penalty.
Coming Soon: App Store Penalties
To quote Raekwon: “It’s in the wind, I’m tellin’ you…”
In all honesty I’m thinking out loud at the moment. But it’s more than feasible that Google will apply its spam team to its app store if they feel the manipulation and spamming of results is ruining the user experience. Apple will do the same, though it’s far easier for Google to do so. If this happens, expect retroactive penalties aplenty.
Google is pushing everything through Google+. This means that when you spam you are doing it through Google+, a system over which they have complete control.
Ask yourself, ‘How easy is it to identify a spammy Google+ profile?’. It’s pretty easy, isn’t it? It would take you five seconds using a couple of key identifiers: usage, profile location, profile’s recent posts, past app interaction, etc. Spam social media accounts are pretty obvious and easy to identify.
Ask yourself another question. ‘Could I automate the identification of profiles with the key characteristics I choose?’. Yes you can and pretty easily too.
Fake-it Till You Make It, Might Break-It
Celebrities are the best at this all you need to do is look at a with and without makeup post, Mela Klunas:
Let’s imagine that you’ve got a great app, people use it and it has a whole bunch of real reviews. But in the early days to get people to find your app you used some questionable techniques. I’m not blaming you, it’s tempting. You’re thinking ‘It’s cool though, that was in the past. I’m white as white now, right?’. Wrong.
If Apple’s App Store and Google Play decide to look at profile quality in more detail and dish out penalties or remove apps based on poor quality scoring. You. Are. Toast.
An algorithmic penalty might just lower you position but a manual penalty could be a removal from the store. Either way could be catastrophic to your business.
You Sunk My Battleship
One day you wake up, check your rankings and BOOM. They’re on the floor. The app that was paying all your bills just bombed. Do you have a backup plan? Probably not. Do you know how to correct the penalty? Probably not. Do you have enough cash to bridge until you have a plan? Hopefully you do.
Earn Your App Rankings
Earning your rank by being a better, more outward facing business is a concept that smart and ethical SEO’s have been trying to float for at least five years. It didn’t work until recently. Until Google reacted to the spamming and then devastated businesses overnight, people wouldn’t listen. Don’t end up like this. I’ve spoken to companies who have literally had to start again. It’s sad to see but this is the nature of spamming.
Avoid An App Slap
Work to communicate with your customers and users. Keep you apps up to date. Try new things and do real-world stuff. Generally be a better business and you’ll avoid the wrath of Apple’s App Store and Google Play’s spam team.
If you have any opinions, ideas or thoughts on app store penalties, stick a comment below. We love to hear others ideas on the subject. Because learning is earning 😀
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