App Store Searches Now Emphasize Keywords and User Ratings
Developers, start working on improving your keyword choices and (potentially annoying) plans to get five-star user reviews since Apple has been fiddling with the App Store’s method for sorting applications over the past two weeks. With an adjusted algorithm in-tow, the App Store no longer emphasizes application names in the order it lists aps. Instead, the more finely-tuned search system has been placing its sorting weight on user ratings, keywords, and app descriptions.
Searching for a less-popular app by its exact name can now yield a significant number of higher-rated apps with a similar title or description appearing before it. Upon testing this myself, this appears that it will have a profound impact on lesser-known indie developers since I had found apps that had previously shown up in the top 5 in a search for the app’s name may not even be listed on the first page.
Requiring considerably more browsing to find an indie app such as dDurian’s Potions!, new games may have to rely on marketing and keywords rather than names to be found. Another example is how searching for “Instagram Camera” used to bring up the app of the same name as its top result, while now it gives that spot to the insanely-popular Instagram app.
Since the App Store has 850,000 approved apps (with 650,000 of those currently in the store), Apple will need to continue trying to find a stronger balance of making new apps discoverable while also recommending popular applications. It is becoming increasingly difficult for a developer to break out in the App Store, especially as the new search algorithm is only contributing to that fact.
In February of this year, Apple acquired app search and discovery platform Chomp (check out their site, which includes the company’s search). With a new team and technology dedicated to perfecting search results, this may only be the beginning of the search tweaks.