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In April 2021, Google introduced some important adjustments regarding “steerage to enhance your app high quality and discovery on Google Play” (Android Builders). In abstract, there are new pointers and insurance policies efficient on the Play Retailer from September 29, 2021. Learn this weblog to reply the “what”, “how” and “why” these adjustments have been made.


Table of Content

The primary a part of the announcement associated to a coverage change that may have an effect on app metadata:

  • Up till September 29, 2021, app names on the Play Retailer could possibly be as much as 50 characters. Nonetheless, with the brand new coverage replace, Google requires app titles to be shortened to solely30 characters (the identical restrict as for app titles on the App Retailer).

Extra adjustments embody:

  • The prohibition ofkey phrases that recommend retailer efficiency (“high”, “finest”, “#1”) from the title, icon, and developer identify.
  • The elimination ofgraphic parts that will mislead customers (e.g. don’t use textual content to incentivize installs or promote offers) within the app icon and title.


  • Builders should present a transparent and well-written app description that showcases the app’s options and performance.
  • No unattributed or nameless consumer testimonialswithin the app description.
  • No emojis, emoticons, or repeated particular characterswithin the app icon, title, or developer identify.
  • Keep away from writing inALL CAPS until it’s a part of your model identify.

With the updates efficient on Google Play since September 29, “app title[s], icon[s] and developer identify[s] that don’t meet the upcoming insurance policies won’t be allowed on Google Play.” A number of examples from Google present what parts ought to – and what mustn’t – be included within the app metadata. The key phrases, “high”, “#1”, “finest”, “free”, “no advertisements” or “advert free” are all phrases which are not allowed within the app title, icon, or developer identify.

As well as, additional key phrases that encourage customers to take motion, akin to “replace now” within the icon or “obtain now” within the app identify, are frowned upon. Emojis/emoticons, repeated punctuation, or all caps are extra examples of don’ts that would result in your app being rejected.

Google additionally introduced new pointers for function graphics, screenshots, and movies. All the shop itemizing preview belongings must showcase the app’s options and performance so customers can anticipate what the app or sport expertise shall be like. Keep away from including any type of call-to-action, for instance, “Obtain now,” “Set up now,” “Play now,” or “Attempt now” and avoid time-sensitive taglines or captions that may develop into outdated shortly.

Influence of Google Play coverage adjustments on ASO

Concerning App Retailer Optimization, what do these coverage adjustments imply on your apps or video games? The 2 foremost areas that may have an effect on ASO on the Play Retailer would be the title size and selection of key phrases.

Beginning with the title, the next impacts on ASO could be anticipated:

  • Whereas these adjustments do scale back the out there house so that you can use key phrases, everyone seems to be required to observe the identical pointers. Which means builders shouldselect essentially the most related and helpful key phrases for his or her app(s).
  • Different future front-end or back-end adjustments might come into play, such because the elevated use ofGoogle Tags, new methods of that includes apps/video games, and many others.
  • The title change significantly impactslanguages that require more room to convey messages, akin to French, German or Arabic. Alternatively, it impacts Japanese, Chinese language, and Korean localization efforts barely much less.

The second space associated to ASO is the prohibition of using particular key phrases:

  • Phrases like “free”, “high”, “finest”, and #1 are not accepted – which means that, ideally, all apps/video games could possibly be listed for these key phrases, and together with them won’t give an additional benefit. This would possibly appear to be an unlucky change in case you presently have these phrases in your metadata, however it encourages usingextra related key phrases, somewhat than phrases meant to play the algorithm for higher rating.

What occurred after Google Play’s metadata coverage adjustments?

These adjustments have been carried out on Google Play from September 29, 2021. Earlier than this date, it was unclear as to how Google would penalize apps that didn’t adjust to the brand new guidelines.

Whereas some app builders selected to respect the deadline and keep away from risking any hurt to their app, others have chosen to go away their title unchanged till they see an actual menace. Though Google’s penalties for apps that didn’t respect this deadline stays unclear, when you’ve got not up to date your metadata but, you need to do it as quickly as attainable.

Learn this weblog to learn to shorten your app identify on Google Play from 50 to 30 characters with out shedding key phrase rankings.

Among the many app builders that saved their 50-character title, some noticed their rankings drop for key phrases showing after the thirtieth character, whereas others noticed their rankings stay steady.

Has Google penalized apps that haven’t up to date their title?

We in contrast rankings for key phrases within the titles of a number of Android apps earlier than and after the coverage change to find out whether or not Google has penalized non-compliant apps. From what we noticed, some apps have misplaced visibility for key phrases included of their title; nonetheless, we’ve not seen such habits in a ample variety of apps to make any definitive statements.

Right here’s an instance from CSR Racing 2, a sport that up to date its title 16 days after the metadata coverage replace (Google Play, UK).

CSR 2 key phrases’ rating historical past on the UK Play Retailer (2021).

It appears to be like like some key phrases included within the title decreased in rankings from September 24—that’s, 4 days earlier than the official enforcement of the brand new coverage. It’s onerous to say whether or not Google had really began pushing down apps that had not but shortened their title or if these key phrases misplaced visibility because of different causes (e.g., fierce competitors, enhance in poor score scores, or drop in conversion fee and/or installs).

Harry Potter: Puzzles & Spells key phrases’ rating historical past on the US Play Retailer (2021).

From the information, we are able to assume Google’s metadata coverage replace didn’t have any adverse affect on rankings for generic key phrases included in Harry Potter: Puzzles & Spells’s title. Rankings began reducing extra severely round October 6, which is smart as this adopted the elimination of “match 3 video games” from the title. Due to this fact, we can’t assume that apps that didn’t shorten their title to 30 characters misplaced visibility following Google’s metadata coverage change on September 29.

We will see within the upcoming month whether or not Google continues to tolerate apps with titles longer than 30 characters or whether or not Google begins making use of extra extreme measures.

Has Google penalized apps for forbidden key phrases in metadata?

Some members of the ASO Stack Slack group shared warnings acquired from Google for having key phrases like “first”, “scorching”, “finest”, “bonus” or “new” of their app identify and/or brief description, irrespective of the context.

Warning message seen by apps for having banned key phrases of their title on the Play retailer (2021).

Although Google had initially solely communicated about these key phrases being banned from app titles, it appears to be like like they’re additionally extending key phrase restrictions to the brief description. On Google Play Console Assist, right here’s what we learn in regards to the brief description:

“Don’t use language that isn’t associated to the operate or objective of your app, together with:

  • Language that displays or suggests Google Play efficiency, rating, accolades or awards, consumer testimonials, or value and promotional info, for instance, “Finest,” “#1,” “Prime,” “New,” “Low cost,” “Sale,” or “Million Downloads.”
  • Name-to-actions, for instance, “obtain now,” “set up now,” “play now,” or “attempt now.”

We requested ourselves whether or not Google had really taken a step additional by pushing down apps that included banned key phrases of their metadata. Let’s check out Hill Climb Racing 2 (Google Play, UK).

Although its app identify was already solely 30 characters lengthy, its brief description included the key phrase “finest” for a while after the coverage launch. They eliminated “finest” on October 15 however added “high” as a substitute, which can also be stated to be a prohibited key phrase. Round 10 days later, the one change the app made to its brief description was to take away “high”. We might assume that Google in all probability warned the app for utilizing this time period.

Hill Climb Racing 2 metadata updates on the UK Play Retailer seen on AppTweak’s Timeline (2021).

Hill Climb Racing 2 key phrases’ rating historical past on the UK Play Retailer (2021).

Amongst key phrases included in its metadata, we’ve noticed rating decreases for the key phrases “race”, “driving sport”, and “racing” from September 8. It doesn’t seem like Google’s metadata coverage replace had any affect: rankings have been fairly irregular for a while.

We had a take a look at different markets, particularly Japan the place many apps explicitly present obtain numbers to encourage customers to put in the app. For instance, the Japanese app クラッシュフィーバー (Crash Fever) nonetheless exhibits banned key phrases in its brief description and icon however we’ve not noticed any drop in its visibility.

クラッシュフィーバー (Crash Fever) brief description replace on the Japan Play Retailer seen on AppTweak’s Timeline (2021).

Has Google penalized apps for forbidden graphics in icons?

In line with Google’s new coverage, apps also needs to not present graphic parts that point out rankings or deceptive parts on their icon.

The Japanese app エバーマージキングダム:マージ3パズル (Evermerge Kingdom) is an effective instance of this because it shows the variety of downloads on its icon.

エバーマージキングダム (Evermerge Kingdom) key phrases’ rating historical past on the Japan Play Retailer (2021).

Nonetheless, the visibility historical past of key phrases included within the app’s metadata doesn’t present any clear correlation with the coverage change.

エバーマージキングダム Evermerge Kingdom) That includes Historical past on the Japan Play Retailer (2021).

We investigated a bit additional and checked on AppTweak’s Discover part whether or not Evermerge Kingdom has misplaced visibility in Google featurings. The outcomes don’t present any important drop; the variety of featurings stay fairly irregular.

Learn this weblog to learn to get your app featured on the shops.

Why has Google modified its insurance policies?

These days, each the App Retailer and the Play Retailer have acquired a lot consideration and scrutiny for numerous practices, together with charge assortment or rip-off apps with excessive subscription prices. Google’s newest transfer doubtless displays its intention to clear up the Play Retailer and permit higher-quality apps and video games to shine. These new pointers will make the Play Retailer extra just like the App Retailer, now with the identical title size and comparable positions on deceptive key phrases.

There are various darkish patterns being utilized by apps that wish to play the “grey space” in between the rule, with techniques akin to together with 5-stars in screenshots when the app score is decrease, false promoting, and concentrating on of irrelevant key phrases. Consequently, Google could also be trying to limit the frequency of such practices.

One other concept pertains to the truth that Google is presently engaged on Android 12. With the leaks of Google’s new “Whitechapel” chip, it’s attainable that these Play Retailer adjustments may accompany a entire new look for the Play Retailer and Android typically.