Apple App Store Ranking Algorithm – Important Changes in 2015

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During November, many app developers noticed a number of changes in app store rankings and search listings. It’s clear that the Apple App Store ranking algorithm has changed and the impact it could have on app listings is very critical. We’ve noted some of the important changes in 2015 that should be taken into consideration for any app store optimization campaigns planned for next year.

For the most part, these new changes seem to be for the better but if you’re unaware of them you may not be unsure about how these changes impact your app store listing.

Manually Entered Keywords Mean Less


On iTunes Connect developers can input a number of keywords to help their app rank in the app store for these keywords. Before the November Apple app store ranking algorithm changes, these keywords were still quite effective. These new changes in the ranking algorithm now mean that there is less emphasis on these manually entered keywords. As it currently stands, there hasn’t been enough evidence to say how much these iTunes Connect keywords have been affected, but it should be taken note that these keywords now have less ranking power than other ASO opportunities.

More Room for Competing Apps

Another change to the App Store ranking algorithm has had an interesting effect on app store listings. It seems like competitor apps now have a higher chance to rank alongside their rivals when their rivals are searched for. A good example of this would be any application that improves Twitter or enhances it with extra features could now rank higher when a competing app in the same niche is searched for.

This change is great because it opens up more opportunity for applications to compete with each other and gives users a better insight into what apps are available. Despite the changes here, the app that is being searched seems to remain in the same position within search results.

Ranking for App Functionality

Apple has made some changes that make it possible for your application to rank for different keywords, even if there is no mention of them in your app store listing or title. These keywords are related to the functionality of your application. If your app can provide some kind of feature and that feature is searched for in the App Store, there is now more chance that your app will rank higher than before. This change is very new so it’s still too early to analyze just how much of an effect this feature is having. However, this change could potentially be massive for a whole range of different apps. For example, any utility app with multiple functions could now score higher in a variety of new search results that it didn’t have much chance with before.

These new changes to the App Store ranking algorithm are mostly positive for developers and there are bound to be more updates in 2016 to help improve the App Store intelligence. As it stands right now, there are not too many changes that need to be made to your ASO efforts, but as always it’s good to go over things regularly, especially now that this information about the app store changes have been made.

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Author: Richard Buettner
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