Situations that involve competition do indeed push people to work harder. But as usual, some people will want to get the prize without additional work, and in most cases, these people will harm the ground rules to achieve their goals.
In our case, it is the black hat programmers of app store optimization (ASO).
We’re already familiar with the term black hat from SEO, but just in case, let’s take a brief look at the definition of the black hat in ASO.
It is using illegal techniques to manipulate app ranking. Basically, it is cheating the app analytics by using loopholes in mobile app advertising.
Application companies do not support this technique, and if the company finds out, you may be banned for life.
Not only do these black hat programmers terrorize mobile app marketing and reputation, but also, by manipulating trustworthy data, they will end up ruining everyone’s day.
From the graph below, we can see the result of a black hat method in the field of SEO:
All we can say is that this method works temporarily and will not last in the long term.
To avoid black hat ASO, we must know their methods.
The searching system works in simple ways. It does not perceive websites as we do. Keywords and numbers matter to those systems. So, people who try to take advantage of such perception load the descriptions with optimized keywords that do not make sense in context.
Black hat users fill their metadata with numerous keywords that do not match with their content at all. Just to attract a lot of crawlers with no real potential of becoming a lead, these guys choose this way to rank at the top and accept quantity over quality.
Another example of this is link stealing. To deceive searching systems, they bait a solid link that does not relate to the subject in any way whatsoever, which may result in fooling the searching system, thus ranking the application at the top and indirectly increasing traffic.
Purchasing visits, downloads etc. is also an alternative way of increasing inorganic and temporary traffic. However it is not truly accepted as a black hat method; it definitely isn’t a white hat method as well. This produces the new terminology of gray hat methods. For further information, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grey_hat
Reviews could be a deceptive way to also increase ranking. Today, people do not trust anything more than other people and their reviews because people know that these people write, not because they seek financial profit, but only because they wanted to contribute. Black hat methodology undermines the review system, and, by using simple programming, they generate reviews as if a real human being wrote them by using slang words and street talk.
There are numerous other ways, and there will be new ways since it is a brand new field. But the fundamentals will give us an idea about black hat ASO.
In the next series on black hat ASO, we will talk about consequences of this method in detail.
Practical Ways to avoid the black hats in ASO
We’ve started talking about black hats in ASO and how it works, but we don’t really know what the consequences are and how to avoid becoming one. Let’s find out.
There are some specific practices used by black hat programmers that are a mix of knowledge, trial and error, and some App Store rules.
The first practice is keyword stuffing: a bunch of optimized words stuffed into the application’s data and/or description that do not mean anything together. It’s a primitive technique, but it still works and has been there since the beginning of black hat.
The image below shows us an example of keyword stuffing:
If you submit your keyword-stuffed app to the App Store, there is a big chance that Apple will reject it because of “Inaccurate Description.” You should check the common reasons for app rejections before submitting your app. Even if Apple does not reject it, when your users look at the keyword-stuffed app description before downloading, they might think that your app is not reliable.
Another thing you should do is to consistently check the analytics of your app. In order to achieve organic traffic through app store optimization, there should be a consistent and slow but stable increase over a long period of time; meanwhile, black hat in ASO only provides a temporary boost.You can try our great services for more information.
Reviews are also very important to gain your users’ trust. Some companies offer fake reviews with the promise of a high ranking in App Store. They use bots to create tons of accounts and give good reviews just to make an app rank higher for a certain time.
Overall, it’s done with man-made machinery. These accounts use precise words in particular formats. So, take a look at the language of the reviews and the account profiles. They probably don’t exist for a long time, and all they do is give a ‘5 star’ ranking and a positive and short review.That’s why you should avoid using these companies. If the reviews look like they are not from an ordinary app user, your potential users might get suspicious of your app, which affects their downloading decision.
Although black hat in ASO brings a temporary boost, you should be aware that it harms your app’s brand over the long term. Even Apple pays big attention to black hat since it is detrimental to the company and quality of App Store. So, keep in mind that increasing organic traffic takes time, but in the end, it’s worth having an engaged customer base rather than spurious traffic.
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