Google announced this week that they would be cracking down on apps that try to fake their way into the Play Store’s top charts. Through the use of a new detection and filtering method, Google will remove apps that utilize fake or incentivized user ratings and installs to get a boost, and will even remove apps outright from the Play Store.
This isn’t anything new for Google – the company made a similar pledge to remove fraudulent top apps a little over a year ago – but what has changed is the method of detection. Google has introduced a method of detection which will supposedly “detect and filter” apps that utilize suspect methods of ascent. Apps that are found to be utilizing these means will be removed from the top charts in an effort to “make Google Play the best platform for enjoying and discovering the most innovative and trustworthy apps”.
The big news for many developers is that Google will actually remove apps from the store for violating this principle. Google warned in a blog post that “developers who continue to exhibit such behaviors could have their apps taken down from Google Play”. It’s not as wide-spanning a threat as Apple’s recent title limit change, but the removal of a popular app (even one that only became popular through suspect means) could still shake up the Google Play store.
Google promises than in most cases, no action will be required on the case of the developer. They also ask that should developers request marketing assistance from an outside source, they make sure the means of the marketing are legitimate.
A strong Google Play campaign doesn’t necessarily need to utilize fraudulent reviews or downloads to boost onto the charts. The strongest method of discoverability is and has always been search; most app downloads come from searches, not from the top downloads charts. Similarly, the primary determinants of your app’s keyword rankings are its title, short description and long description. A solid marketing agency will take these elements into account instead of suggesting burst campaigns or fraudulent downloads.