What Apple’s Plan to Fix the App Store Means for You

by • September 20, 2016 • Comments (0)

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“We are implementing an ongoing process of evaluating apps, removing apps that no longer function as intended, don’t follow current review guidelines, or are outdated.”

That was the message Apple sent to its developers. Last week, Apple started rolling out changes for both users and app publishers. The good? This is great news as it will cut down on too many apps that were broken, filled with SPAM ads and had long names. It will also create better search results. The bad? If you’re an app publisher who isn’t using a newer iOS version, well, your app has probably already been removed.

This Article Highlights the Four Updates You Need to Know About:

  • Fewer Abandoned Apps
  • Shorter App Names
  • Better App Quality
  • App Store Search Ads

Back in June 2016, the App Store had an estimated two million apps that were available for the iPhone and other iOS devices. These apps had accrued since 2008 when the iTunes Store apps initially became available. This included apps that were outdated and no longer worked or were loaded with ads. Apple then sent an email to its developer community about new changes they would be implementing.

The changes announced on September 1 were in preparation for Apple’s iPhone 7 event on September 7. Whether you are a user or an app publisher, Apple is streamlining the app store to accept fewer games and apps. It’s a strategic move on their part to offer quality over quantity. There were apps that were created with older iOS versions, that were never even downloaded and several that were loaded with SPAM ads. These are either about to be removed or they already have been removed.

What do these changes mean for app users and app publishers? What if you want to launch a new app? Is Apple in the process of removing your current app?

Here are the four updates you need to know about…

Fewer abandoned apps

From its inception in 2008 until about June 2016, Apple has acquired roughly over 2 million apps. But that’s nothing to boast about. Several of these apps didn’t meet the changes needed for iOS updates and as previously mentioned, a bunch were spammy.

Apple is picking the bad apples out of the bunch in favor of a platform that has a healthy app ecosystem. It’s not just about platform popularity. There are a bunch of apps that crash on launch and these are coming out. Apple is improving the user experience by getting rid of old apps, faulty and irrelevant apps and SPAM.

How?

Apple Support has flagged apps that it deems as problematic and will remove these before it releases iOS 10.If you’re an app developer or publisher, you may want to read the App Store Review Guidelines. Be sure to address any functionality issues and update your apps regularly. Keep in mind, app publishers will get a lot more exposure with the streamlined store.

Shorter app names

Twitter is not the only one with a character count. Apple is condensing the app name field to 50 characters from the original 255 characters that were allowed. This is big and here’s why.

More interestingly, even if you didn’t have spam or your app was using a newer iOS, you still have to shorten your app name. Apple had originally approved most of the app names (up to 15 words), and this allowed app publishers the opportunity to make their text keyword rich. Popular keyword names were used for search engine result placement (SERP) to help them rank higher – kind of like Google searches. Here’s an example: If you were searching for Instagram you might get search results for Picture Editor and Instagram Photo Collage.

What does this mean for app publishers?

If you’re an app publisher, you may have already received an email from Apple asking you to shorten your app name. Developers can find help in the App Store Product Page. They’re giving app publishers 30-days to comply or their app will be rejected. How do you like them apples?

Better app quality

To prepare for the coming culling, App publishers have another challenge to face. In trying to address keyword “quality,” app publishers need a new way to rank higher in searches because you won’t be able to use popular keywords to rank higher. Shorter named companies will find it easier to use the shortened character limit because they can still add in a keyword. Apple is moving in a similar manner that Google Play uses. They will index the app metadata in their indexing algorithm. This will make it easier to pick up keywords in the app descriptions.

What does this mean for you?

To stay on top in searches, research new ways to optimize your content for higher conversion rates and maximize user visits.

App Store Search Ads

Apple is also changing how users search for apps. In June, they announced new App Store Search Ads. These are in beta and will be free for app publishers. While publishers can’t control the keywords or settings in the ads, developers will be able to target competing app brand names with what’s considered conquesting ads. Phil Schiller of Apple suggests that by mirroring someone else’s brand, this may help with ad words and create a better App Store ecosystem.

For more details on the app changes for both users and app publishers, click here for more on App Store Improvements.

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