playstore optimisation

Play Store and App Store Optimisation – Learnings from Blackhat Tricks

As play store optimization has become more important, the number of hacks have also increased. There is no shying away from that we all need growth, and everything even keyword optimization and back link building are black-hat ASO to an extent.

Some of the hacks that we will discuss today are on the borderline of being blackhat technique. So apply judiciously. Let’s have a look:

#1 Search Boost Hack

In this technique, a incentivized pool of users is asked to search for a keyword and download the particular app. As the conversion on a keyword is an important parameter of raking at Appstore and Play Store, this technique provides a boost to the ranking.

This campaign results in higher CTR, greater conversion on keyword, and manipulation of trending of trending searches.

White Hat Variant:  A more natural variation of this technique will be to ask your friends, family, colleague, and power user to use a particular keyword to install the app.

#2 Fake Apps Hack

It’s quite widespread. You will find a lot of fake apps targeting brand name, trending keyword or any other competitive keywords. These apps are generally made to run advertisements or blatantly recommends using other apps. This technique is an extreme case of keyword optimisation. While AppStore or Play store will slowly downgrade these app based on other metrics such as uninstall and retention, but the work of app is done before that.

White Hat Variant: Use the trending keywords and established app name which is relevant to the content of your apps.

#3 Top Grossing App Hack

Increase the prices of your in-app purchase to an exorbitant amount, then ask incentivized pool of user to purchase. Then, the user goes for a refund right away.

Please note that Google Play has a stringent policy for refund, and it gets extremely difficult after 48 hours. In some the cases, Google even doesn’t charge the transaction fee.

This action performed on a substantial scale might will increase your ranking in top grossing chart significantly, pushing the organic downloads.

White Hat Variant: Ask friends, family and powers users to purchase your product on higher price, and try to offer the best service to justify.

#4 Paid Download, Reviews and Rating Hack

This is the most overused black hat technique. Developers buy install generated by bots or humans, leading to an increase in ranking in the organic category as velocity and number of downloads are an important factor in the ranking algorithm.

Developers also buy reviews and rating, which are again critical factors in the ranking algorithm.

White Hat Variant: Build right trigger in the app to collect a maximum number of reviews and rating. Ask friends, family, and power to use particular words or phrases while posting their reviews.

#5 Reviews Scrapping and Posting

In this technique, software scrapes the review from many apps and then tweaks the reviews using algorithm and formulas. These reviews are then posted for the app in question. This gives a more genuine look to the reviews. Check an ASO agency who talk about this black hat technique.

How to perform a wide range of testing for ASO?

Despite the progress made by Google and Apple for testing, the testing features are still limited. As every visual element on play store and app store page is critical, it’s important to test a lot.

You can try App Store Proxy Technique, wherein you can create a fake landing page similar to Playstore and Appstore. You can then run all the test here by driving traffic from Facebook or other cheap sources. Learning from split testing here can be used for App Store and Play Store. Check out the company that successfully used this technique.


About the author

Product Manager at Google | Kellogg MBA '20 | IIT Delhi Graduate

I am passionate about product management, startup, and fitness not in any particular order.

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