Last Updated: October 2023
Black Hat ASO, or black hat app store optimization, is a set of unethical practices used to manipulate an app’s ranking in app store search results. These tactics are often used by app developers to gain an unfair advantage over their competitors, but they can be detrimental to the overall app ecosystem.
There are a few different ways that black hat ASO can be implemented. One common tactic is keyword stuffing, which involves cramming as many keywords as possible into an app’s metadata (such as its title, description, and keywords field) in an attempt to make it rank higher for those keywords. This can be done by using irrelevant keywords, misspellings, and even invisible characters.
Another tactic is fake reviews and ratings. This involves creating fake user accounts and using them to leave positive reviews and ratings for an app. This can artificially inflate the app’s rating and make it appear more popular and trustworthy than it actually is.
Another black hat ASO tactic is buying app installs. This involves paying for fake or incentivized installs, which can boost an app’s ranking and visibility in app store search results. This is often done through third-party providers, who use fake accounts and bots to generate fake installs.
There are a few reasons why you shouldn’t engage in black hat ASO for your mobile app or game. First and foremost, it’s unethical. These tactics are designed to manipulate app store search results and deceive users, which goes against the principles of fair competition and user trust.
Additionally, using black hat ASO tactics can be risky for your app’s long-term success. App store algorithms are constantly evolving and getting better at detecting and penalizing apps that engage in these practices. If your app is caught using black hat ASO tactics, it could be removed from the app store, which would be a huge blow to your app’s visibility and credibility.
Furthermore, using black hat ASO can harm the overall app ecosystem. By artificially inflating app rankings and manipulating search results, these practices can distort the app market and make it difficult for users to find high-quality, trustworthy apps. This can lead to a decline in the overall quality of the app ecosystem, which can be detrimental to users, developers, and the app stores themselves.
In short, black hat ASO is a set of unethical practices that can harm the overall app ecosystem and hurt your app’s long-term success. Instead of engaging in these tactics, focus on creating a high-quality app that provides value to users, and use white hat ASO tactics to improve its visibility and ranking in app store search results. This will not only be more ethical, but it will also be more sustainable and effective in the long run.