App Store search just got much smarter

App Store search just got smarter

At the end of 2015, a number of mobile app developers and industry observers noticed a significant change in the way the Apple App Store search algorithms return results. App search results now appear to be more intelligent and far more relevant – especially among the top results – than in previous months.

This is great for developers and is a big deal for us because the way apps are ranked and surfaced, plays a large role in the overall success of your app. This new change focuses on how apps are returned when users type in keywords to find an app.

What change in the App Store

The change that began November 2015 included several adjustments. Apps are now ranking in search results on a mix of contextual keywords for the app, including partial keyword matches, along with competitor brand names and other matches.

For developers searching against their own app name, what this change means is that they’ll now see a number of competing apps that didn’t show up before, and an overall expanded list of matches.

Apple’s own version of Google’s PageRank

What this change indicates is that Apple is putting less emphasis on the manually entered keywords that developers specify in iTunes Connect.  It is too soon to determine whether this is Apple’s attempt at generating its own version of Google’s PageRank algorithm for its App Store.

While the algorithm appears to be more intelligent, it seems to also be taking into account metrics like: usage, whether the app was ever featured on the App store and links from wider web (positive review or press mentions).

Still, while the size of this most recent change is certainly notable, it’s too soon to properly analyse the impacts in terms of app downloads and resulting revenue.

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