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Update: Games are "exploiting" coronavirus SEO on the App Store

Update: Games are "exploiting" coronavirus SEO on the App Store

Update: Apple has confirmed that developers using the 'coronavirus' term in their Keyword Field when it doesn't apply are violating its App Store review guidelines.

The violation comes under section 2.3.7 for Accurate Metadata:

"Choose a unique app name, assign keywords that accurately describe your app, and don’t try to pack any of your metadata with trademarked terms, popular app names, or other irrelevant phrases just to game the system," reads the official guideline.

"App names must be limited to 30 characters and should not include prices, terms, or descriptions that are not the name of the app. App subtitles are a great way to provide additional context for your app; they must follow our standard metadata rules and should not include inappropriate content, reference other apps, or make unverifiable product claims.

"Apple may modify inappropriate keywords at any time or take other appropriate steps to prevent abuse."

Original Story: A number of developers are taking advantage of the coronavirus for their games via the App Store Keyword Field.

This was brought to light by online games portal Apptutti which posted about three trends that have affected the App Store since the pandemic began.

One of the more exploitative tricks is that numerous developers are placing the term 'coronavirus', 'coronavirus trackers' and 'coronavirus maps' within their games keyword fields, meaning the titles will more likely appear when a user searches for the virus.

Apple monitors the Store but due to the increase has yet to clamp down on those abusing the term. PocketGamer.biz has reached out to Apple for comment.

Games rise, transport falls

Another trend highlighted was the increase in game downloads while transport apps fell, which is only natural considering people are staying at home for the foreseeable future.

The final trend locked onto Plague Inc. and how the game has managed to shift Mojang's juggernaut Minecraft from the top of the US App Store paid charts in several years. Since January 23rd, the virus simulator has claimed first place.

While the game continues to make waves in the US, Apple did remove Plague Inc. from its App Store in China due to the game being unlicensed to operate in the country, after the game received unprecedented attention due to its association with the coronavirus.

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Staff Writer

Matthew Forde is the staff writer for PocketGamer.biz and also a member of the Pocket Gamer Podcast. You can find him on Twitter @Forde999 talking about Smash Bros. and everything pop culture related - particularly superheroes.

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