Google: Fighting Dark Forces of Blackhat & Weak Links of Discovery – Part 2

Last week, I wrote about how Google is penalizing the apps that crash, or results in over 1{f5ea2038a4b880f335334dfff88b50aec469abded8ad52b137b4eb824479fac2} ANR (App No Response).

After writing the last post, we fixed the patch and saw our numbers picking up. We gained 50{f5ea2038a4b880f335334dfff88b50aec469abded8ad52b137b4eb824479fac2} more downloads.

If you look at the graph from the holder symbol, which was on the 19th, the downloads have steadily picked up.

Fixing Crashes Get Better Ranking

Now, if you see the graph, we had put in two updates, and so far, not all users have upgraded to the new version – so, the old problem is still holding up our recovery.

As I write this, the total current version penetration was around 19{f5ea2038a4b880f335334dfff88b50aec469abded8ad52b137b4eb824479fac2}), but still it helped us get 50{f5ea2038a4b880f335334dfff88b50aec469abded8ad52b137b4eb824479fac2} more downloads.

This proves beyond any doubt how serious Google is about quality. In order to conduct this experiment, we kept every other factor constant so that we could measure the impact of ANR.

Google: Fighting Dark Forces of Blackhat & Weak Links of Discovery

For last one year, Google is taking excessive manipulation across its product line head-on. In the process, it has got considerable success in some platforms, whereas limited success in some others.

In the process, it has got considerable success in some platforms, whereas limited success in some others.

The notable product where Google has really changed the rules of the game is Play Store.

How Google Killed Play Store Ratings

A year ago, it used to be super easy to manipulate rankings and ratings, but a shift to quality driven ranking factors in last few months have made things difficult for app promotion companies.

For instance, about a year ago, crashes and ANRs were not that big of a factor, but they are today. It is impossible to maintain the rankings without fixing your crashes.

Here’s one of a test app that lost 2/3rd of its daily downloads just because it’s ANR affected over 1{f5ea2038a4b880f335334dfff88b50aec469abded8ad52b137b4eb824479fac2} of the users.

App Store Optimization Tips

Uh! that may seem unfair. But, guess what? Google’s mission is to make discovery easy for its users. So, it doesn’t really care how your track record has been if your app has a terrible user experience.

Since Google owns the platform and has the end-to-end data, it has the ability to bend the rules more conveniently here than on platforms like search.

Search Quality: AI would take on Black Hat

Now, another word on discovery. About a few years ago, Google started to liaise with independent agencies to the quality of search results. An AI captures the pattern of every single result that is evaluated by thousands of these “human-evaluators”.

This is one of the biggest AI projects in Search & Discovery industry,  and all this data forms the base for RankBrain.

Weeding out web manipulation would take probably longer than it took Google to fix Play Store Manipulation. One of the reasons is – Google doesn’t control as many elements of websites as it controls the elements of app. But one thing is certain: Google will keep testing all the variables until it annihilates all blackhat practices and my experience with Play Store discovery seems to suggest this.

How Will AI affect discovery? 

More implementation of AI means safer and useful internet and much more power to discovery giants like Google. Every mechanism that works on deep learning gets powerful when it is fed with data. No matter what conventional wisdom suggests, there is compelling evidence that Google will ultimately weed out blackhat practices.

A word on conventional wisdom: Why the Old School Thinking is Destined to Fail

Many Internet Gurus are either oblivious or ignorant of data. It is similar to getting your new car fixed with an old mechanic who may have a lot of expertise, but doesn’t have good tools.

It took Google 5 years to fix the issue of fake ratings. This suggests one thing, it can take Google longer to fix something, but it would eventually fix it.