New Free ASO Tool: App Store - Play Store Algorithm Change Detector
Apple and Google are constantly releasing new changes and tweaks to their keyword ranking algorithms, but they never warn you in advance. The result? Your app’s keyword rankings suddenly go wild! If you’ve had that panicky feeling of checking your keyword rankings with your morning coffee and seeing everything upside down, this new free ASO tool will definitely help you get some perspective.
App Store - Play Store Algorithm Change Detector for free!
Yes, you read it right! We’ve developed an algorithm that can detect when Apple or Google have made big changes to their keyword ranking algorithm that affect all keyword rankings on the Store. And, because we felt like giving out an early Christmas present, you can access this feature totally for free!
With no need to create an AppTweak account, you can select the Store, Country and Date range you want to look at, and we show you if we’ve detected any unusual keyword ranking movements, suspecting an algorithm change.
The keyword ranking algorithm changes detected in the US Play Store over the last 6 months
The Data behind the Magic
In order to detect any unusual keyword ranking movement that concerns most apps across the Store - and therefore is most likely linked to an Algorithm change - we check the keyword rankings of the top 50 apps on each keyword in the AppTweak database (1M keywords). We measure how those rankings change over a period of 14 days. This gives us an idea of the overall volatility of the rankings for each keyword. We then compare this volatility with the volatility of each date in the selected date range. For each date in the date range, an anomaly score is attributed.
On October 11th, we saw that the anomaly score of the keyword rankings on the US Play Store exceeded the “normal” threshold, suggesting an algorithm change.
A very high anomaly score (>3) indicates that, for the given date, the apps’ keyword rankings have changed more than usual, suspecting an algorithm change. An anomaly score close to 0 indicates that there is no unusual movement, and the keyword rankings of the apps have moved around normally. Finally, a very low anomaly (<-3) indicates that the keywords rankings have been unusually stable as if they were frozen. This can also be a sign of an algorithm change.
Double checking our Results
Once our algorithm was in place, we were of course very excited to test it against the real data. Working closely with many clients of all sizes, we knew very well which dates were related to algorithm changes. On those dates, one can observe a shift in rankings or visibility on AppTweak that affects all followed apps at once.
When looking at the visibility score of Toon Blast and competitors in the US Apple Store on a list of 200+ keywords, we saw that all apps had big keyword ranking movements end of August and beginning of September. These movements weren’t related to new app releases.
When we checked with our Algorithm Change Detector, we found there were two spikes on August 24th and September 8th for the US Apple Store, confirming the keyword movements were due to an algorithm update.
Crisscrossing our previous findings and other changes reported by the ASO community with our new algorithm change detector, we found that our detector identified the changes in more than 90% of the cases on iOS. On Google Play, the margin error is slightly higher. This is due to the fact that there are many more movements on Google, and of a larger magnitude too, making it difficult to single out changes due to algorithm updates.
One Detector per Store and country
Last but not least, it’s important to flag that our Algorithm Detector works per Store and per country. Of course, Apple and Google are totally separate entities, and the updates on one Store are independent to those on another. But it’s also interesting to see that, in the same store, there can be different behaviors across countries. For instance, in July there was an algorithm change that affected keyword rankings in most European countries but did not affect the US.
If we look at the algorithm changes on the French Apple Store over the last 6 months, there are three significant peaks (July, August and September).
If we look at the algorithm changes on the US Apple Store, there are only two significant peaks over the last 6 months (August and September).
Our detector is available for all major countries. Depending on the number of keywords followed for each country on AppTweak, we have sufficient data to compute the algorithm. If you don’t see a country you’re working on in the country selector of the free tool, send us an email to notify us!
Keep calm & check AppTweak !
So hopefully, next time you see a major keyword ranking movement, before freaking out, check out our Algorithm Change Detector and you’ll immediately know if the problem is yours, or if everyone else is having the same issue.
Also, don’t forget to share the info! We’ve added a “Tweet it” to the feature so that you can warn others of any change and help the ASO community!