Apple Tweaks iOS App Store Search Algorithm, Search Rankings Change Drastically
Between December 11 and December 12, Apple changed its iOS App Store search algorithms once again. The change has caused app results to move over 40 spots on average, or roughly eight times more than usual. The newly-implemented changes, originally spotted by the App Store optimization firm, MobileDevHQ
, are jostling both iPhone and iPad apps an average of 41.5 positions, compared to the roughly five on a usual day.
The search algorithms dictate what results are returned when a user types in keywords such as “home automation” or “puzzle games” in the iOS App Store’s search bar. Although they aren’t rankings, developers tend to rely on these targeted searches for app discovery outside Apple’s top-downloads charts.
As far as specific apps go, MobileDevHQ
saw somewhat erratic stats for specific popular apps as they popped up in random search terms such as “banking,” “home” and “music,” among many others. Examples include Chase Mobile which moved up four spots to end up as the fourth hit for “banking,” while Wells Fargo Mobile jumped 144 positions after the algorithm change.
According to other findings, the new algorithms were instated and rankings for 62.8% of apps changed more than five spots, while 40% experience a change in rank of over 20 positions. Previously, on a normal day, 17% of apps for a specific keyword move five or more spots while only 3% would jump over 20 places. More obvious to the end user will are the top-five apps for any keyword, 31% of which changed. This compares to a normal 8% margin of change prior to the tweaks.
We still don’t know why Apple updated its search algorithm though the company is continuously improving and refining its iOS App Store. In early 2012, Apple acquired app search engine Chomp and later rolled out the firm’s technology as part of the App Store app in iOS 6.