Incipia blog

App Store Keyword Algorithm Update 2.23.18

Gabe Kwakyi | February 24, 2018

As spotted by Incipia marketers and confirmed via conversations in the ASO Stack Slack, Apple appears to have released a new algorithm update, disrupting ranking trends across keywords.

app store keyword algorithm update3

The logic or intended targets behind the update is as always a murky guesstimate, but this update seems to be:

  1. Not mainly focused on competitive app rankings, as some updates are
  2. Related to only games or apps
  3. Relegated to only US apps
  4. In flux (some keywords have retained rank changes, while others have bounced back, to varying degrees)
  5. From what we see, focused on adjusting rank for keywords & phrases that apps/games are less directly relevant.
    1. For example, if Instagram were to rank for both photos and photography, Instagram's rank for photography was likely dinged in this latest update as, while relevant to some degree for photography, the user intent for photography is more for photography editing apps such as the Adobe suite, rather than Instagram. 
    2. Historically, Apple's keyword ranking algorithm has allowed larger apps, merely by way of being larger and having more downloads, to reign supreme and bully smaller apps for top ranks, even on less relevant keyword searches. It's possible that this algorithm update is an attempt to resolve some of these issues.

app store keyword algorithm update4

The Bottom Line: Apple continues tuning its algorithm, releasing an algorithm update on February 23rd 2018. Check your keyword rankings to ensure you're still leveraging the best-ranking keyword mix in the wake of this latest keyword ranking algorithm update.


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Incipia is a mobile app development and marketing agency that builds and markets apps for companies, with a specialty in high-quality, stable app development and keyword-based marketing strategy, such as App Store Optimization and Apple Search Ads. For post topics, feedback or business inquiries please contact us, or send an inquiry to