ASO Monthly #15 July: Algorithm changes and more iOS 11 news

.. And Phiture are hiring ASO experts :)

In the ASO Monthly-series we reflect on the previous month and shed a light on trends in app store optimization, algorithm changes, insights in conversion rate optimization and tool updates.

App Store Optimization News from July 2017

We’re currently looking for people with ASO expertise to join the awesome Phiture team in Berlin. If you’re interested, email me at

1 July

Apple introduced category cards in the beta of the “All-New App Store” end of June with some placeholder images. End of July it seems to move more to what the developer cards also look like: a grid with app icon tiles, which will likely include the top apps of the category.

New iOS 11 category card on the left (early July), removed on the right (late July)

4 July

Apple now seems to show a double exclamation mark for the special “!!” symbol in app titles. On iOS 10.3 the normal exclamation marks still display, but on iOS 11 it has been replaced for an emoji. Including other types of emojis is still not possible. Probably one should not read into this that emoji titles will be accepted in iOS 11 (which is the case on Google Play), but rather that this one has slipped through the cracks.

Emojis in Countdown app

6 July

An algorithm update caused a big shift in App Store keyword rankings as reported first by Osman F. Kucukerdem. Both branded and non-branded keywords moved massively in rankings. According to mobile app agency Incipia Apple likely changed its algorithmic understanding of keyword relevance. This update is most likely related to the upcoming iOS 11 update.

11 July

As shown by Guillardo, you can now find and install apps straight from a Google search using generic keywords. Another tiny step moving towards improving the UX flow of discovering apps outside of the Play Store, making it more important to also take SEO factors into account when drafting your Play Store metadata.

15 July

Gabe Kwakyi from Incipia showed on the ASO Stack Slack channel that some featured apps will get a feature-specific videos which differ from the regular iOS 11 video previews and will autoplay on mute in the new Today, Games and Apps sections.

Video of a featured game app (via Gabe Kwakyi)

18 July

In-App Purchases now show up in the iOS11 App Store search as cards on the keywords that the IAP has in their name. Apps can include up to 20 IAPs, each with an individual name, description and icon. Keyword ranking improvements have already been reported for IAP names by Ido Schoonen on the ASO Stack Slack channel. Considering relevant keywords for IAP titles is now essential for showing up in the search as well as making sure the icons resonate with users and and the brands.

IAPs in the App Store search (via Thomasbcn)

19 July

Google has redesigned its Editor’s Choice page. The page now makes it easier for users to find apps by as they are provided recommendations and curated lists. The lists will allow exploring game genres such as top racing games and app categories with themes such and best fitness apps. The pages are currently live on mobile and desktop in Australia, Canada, Great Britain, Japan, South Korea, and the U.S.with more countries to come soon.

Google becoming more editorial in their new editors choice lists

20 July

It’s been buzzing for a while that Play Store metadata from Google Play Store Listing Experiments are indexed. July 20 this hack has been published in the ASO slack by Lukas Ballé (confirmed by Thomas Petit) who mentioned that while testing short descriptions he noticed his app started ranking for the keywords in the variants in the Play Store A/B test.

There are two more peculiarities about this:

  1. It seems that you can get away with competitor keywords that would normally get caught by Google algorithmically if inserted in the default metadata
  2. You can distribute the test to only 0.1% of your audience.

We’re hoping that Google will soon start cracking down on this to make it a level playing field. It’s a mystery as to why that metadata should be taken into account in the first place, but if it does, the same rules as for the main store listing should apply.

27 July

ASO tool AppTweak has been busy releasing interesting and useful features for keyword optimization. Earlier in the month a Search Ads Intelligence feature was added displaying the top keywords that competitors paid for through search ads. An overview of which apps are bidding on specific keywords was also been provided. Another new feature includes a summary of “top growth” keywords as well as changes in trends.

New paid keywords and top growth tabs (AppTweak)

End of July AppTweak added a new app description keyword density feature that provides a list of most repeated keywords in the app description, along with a new keyword picking tool that now includes shared keywords that competitors also rank for.

Keyword density feature on AppTweak

Further interesting blog posts on ASO that appeared last month:

Thanks, that’s it from us for July!

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Other ASO Monthly editions:

  1. June 2017: A whole new game: renewed iOS 11 App Store… (by Luca)
  2. May 2017: App Store metrics, Google I/O Instant Apps and more…
  3. April 2017: Apple search ads, botnet attacks and more…
  4. March 2017: Replying to reviews in iOS 10.3 and more…
  5. February 2017: Play Store starts using retention for keyword rankings
  6. January 2017: In-App ratings in iOS 10.3 and more
  7. December 2016: Priori Data launches Keyword Tool …
  8. November 2016: Google Play adds conversion rate benchmarks…
  9. October 2016: Apple launches Search Ads… (by Maximilian)
  10. September 2016: 50 character title-rule… (by Gabe)
  11. August 2016: Simplified screenshot submission… (by Peter)
  12. July 2016: Google Play Store testing with 2nd ad…
  13. June 2016: Announcement search ads…
  14. May 2016: App Store broken + 5 localized store listing experiments…
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