Has There Been a Change to the App Store Algorithm?

July, 11 2017

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Rowan Emslie
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Rowan Emslie

After investigating some rumours about App Store algorithm changes, we found that there is definitely something going on.

Here's what we know so far.

Running updates: Changes are iPhone only, not iPad. (via the App Entrepreneurs and Marketers Group).

Date of the change

July 6th. Every chart we looked at suggested that the rankings shifted in the first week of July.

Changes seen across multiple categories

First of all, we looked to see if this algorithm change was seriously widespread. And it was.

keyword optimization

Category = Lifestyle

keyword optimizationCategory = Games

keyword optimizationCategory = Food & Drink

What does it mean?

This isn't simply a shake up that applies to a massive, over trafficked category.

Given that Games are going to be separated from the rest of the categories in September we might have expected a bigger change in that category, but this goes further than that.

Changes seen on multiple keywords for the same app

Now we wanted to check if such jumps were occurring across a wide array of keywords. For that, we took a look at all the keywords associated with Medium. Again, we saw the July 6th pattern.

keyword optimization

Some keywords saw downwards shifts

keyword optimization

While others jumped

keyword optimization

Even longer keywords were affected

What does it mean? 

While there isn't an obvious pattern to the changes, it's clear that many if not all of your tracked keywords will have seen ranking jumps.

Changes seen across multiple countries

Finally, we checked if these findings were true in different countries.

app store algorithm

The jump was evident in Australia

app store algorithm

In Germany

app store algorithm

And in Spain


What does it mean?

Keywords saw significant ranking changes in every country we looked at.

There is no sense relaxing just because your main focus is not the US market. Check your keyword optimization ASAP, no matter which market you work in.


Apple (and Google) can decide to change their algorithms at will. Just like with SEO, they don't want publishers to know the exact parameters of how they do the rankings because they don't want people to game the process.

Thanks to the WWDC announcements, we already know that Apple are looking to make changes to the App Store.

They have planned out a more proactive, editorial role for App Store Managers which will make second-guessing the keyword optimization algorithm less important in the future.

Has your app been affected? Check out your results - for free - on our tool.

Try out Priori Data today

Simply sign up and find out if your keywords have changed.

If they have, head over to Reddit to share your thoughts.

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