Are iTunes Links Being Downranked by Google?

Searching for direct links is a popular way to locate apps, but it appears that Apple's App Store links are being downranked by Google. As TechCrunch points out, a search for "Whatsapp iTunes" or "Whatsapp iPhone" would normally rank the target URL high on the search results page, but that doesn't seem to be the case any longer.

Searching for Whatsapp's iTunes link with those aforementioned phrases does not return an iTunes URL on the first page of results, and the same goes for many other popular apps like Facebook and Twitter for iOS. Even Apple's own Keynote and Numbers apps do not show up on the first page of results with search terms like "Keynote iTunes."

twitteriphone
When searching for "Numbers iPhone," in fact, the iTunes link does not show up until the eighth page of search results. The results can vary slightly depending on whether one is logged in or out of Google, but for affected apps, the links remain low in the rankings.

Not all apps appear to be suffering from the search bug. For example, a search for “Temple Run: Oz iPhone” returns a top ranked iTunes link, as does a similar search for Minecraft: Pocket Edition.

Both TechCrunch and The Next Web have gone through several other examples of apps that appear to be suffering from downranked search results. There's no specific workaround for the search result mystery, but as noted by TechCrunch, adding "iTunes" to queries usually works to provide the proper links, though as seen above, that's not always the case.

For most apps, adding "iTunes" works to deliver the iTunes URL results, whether logged in or out. It's the other types of queries that are difficult, and it's difficult to pinpoint an exact time when these changes began. Because Google is constantly refining its algorithms, and many users are on Google while logged in, tweaks to search rankings are rarely spotted immediately, unless it's a case where a URL has been banned entirely, whether or purpose or by accident.

According to AppsFire co-founder Ouriel Ohayon, the search issue began recently, possibly just today. While Google has been contacted, the company has yet to issue a response on the odd search results.

Update: A Google spokesperson issued the following statement to The Verge: "We've been having some issues fetching pages from the iTunes web servers, and as a result some people may have had problems finding iTunes apps in search easily. We're working with the team there to ensure search users can find what they're looking for."

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
99 months ago
"Do no evil" my a**.

Google is just like the rest of the corporations. Money sucking, rule bending creature.
Score: 30 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
99 months ago
Either a bug or a brilliant marketing strategy by Google. As usual, Google will apologize in the coming days of a "bug" I'm sure.
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
99 months ago

Unlike Apple corporation, which is an altruistically charitable organization...not some money sucking, rule bending creature.

Apple's doing it for love...money is just an incidental side effect.

:rolleyes:




Not an unusual response to....well, you know.


No one said that Apple doesn't like money. Get your facts straight before you roll them eyes.

Google claims to live under the mantra Do no Evil. That makes them hypocrites. ROLLS EYES.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
99 months ago
Everyone, please! Let's calm down. This is MacRumors. We know that eventually, some convoluted conspiracy theory borne of blind adoration for OUR side, and blind hatred for the OTHER side, will surface and it will become the one true reason for this problem. Until then, can we keep any reasoned discussion to a minimum? THank you.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
99 months ago

Nothing Apple can do about it. It's THEIR search engine.

:confused:

Was there something I didn't say that you read?
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
99 months ago
Google often has changed the way pages get ranked. It could be deliberate. It could just be that the itunes links don't conform to the page ranking algorithms like they used to.

Either way - if you don't like the search results you get from google - use something else. Isn't that the mantra people use for iPhones?
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Samsung Mocks Apple for Ditching Power Adapters With iPhone 12 Lineup

Thursday October 15, 2020 11:51 am PDT by
Samsung on its social channels is mocking Apple for removing the power adapter from the iPhone 12 lineup and other iPhone models, pointing out the fact that the Samsung Galaxy smartphones continue to ship with a power adapter. "Included with your Galaxy," reads a Samsung Facebook post that features a picture of a power adapter. Apple notably is no longer providing power adapters or...

iPhone 12 Pro Pre-Orders Already Selling Out With Delivery Times Pushing Into November

Friday October 16, 2020 6:35 am PDT by
Apple today opened pre-orders for the 6.1-inch models of the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro through its website and the Apple Store app, and estimated delivery times are already slipping into November for select configurations in the United States. Customers ordering a SIM-free/Pacific Blue/128GB version of the iPhone 12 Pro, for example, are already facing an estimated delivery window of...

HomePod Mini Cable is Non-Detachable, Ends With USB-C Connector for Use With Included 20W Power Adapter

Friday October 16, 2020 12:45 pm PDT by
While not detailed in the tech specs, MacRumors can confirm that Apple's new HomePod mini features a non-detachable power cable that ends with a USB-C connector for use with the 20W power adapter included in the box. With the switch to USB-C, the HomePod mini could potentially be powered by a wider range of devices and peripherals, ranging from MacBooks to USB-C battery packs with enough...

Apple's New MagSafe Charger and Cases Begin Arriving to Customers

Saturday October 17, 2020 10:10 am PDT by
Apple's new MagSafe charger and cases have begun arriving to some customers earlier than expected, and images of the accessories have started to surface on Twitter. The photos provide a first look at the products in real-world use. As of writing, some MagSafe cases are also available for pickup at select Apple Stores in countries like the United States, Canada, and Germany. Filip...

New Google App Feature Lets You Hum a Song to Search for It

Saturday October 17, 2020 4:05 am PDT by
Google has added a new feature to its Search app that allows you to hum a song that's stuck in your head, and then use the company's machine learning algorithm to try and identify it. In the Google app or using the Google Search widget, tap the mic icon and say "what's this song?" or click the "Search a song" button. Then start humming the tune for 10-15 seconds. When you're done, the...

Brazilian Certifications Suggest iPhone 12 Mini Features 2,227mAh Battery and iPhone 12 Has 2,815mAh Battery

Friday October 16, 2020 1:08 pm PDT by
Apple's iPhone mini has the shortest battery life out of all the iPhones in the iPhone 12 lineup due to its small size, but Apple has not provided public information about the battery's capacity. A regulatory filing from Brazil, however, suggests the iPhone 12 mini has a battery capacity of 2,227mAh. The same regulatory information says the iPhone 12 features a 2,815mAh battery, which is...

Apple Offering Free AirPods With iPhone 11 Purchase in India as Part of Diwali Celebration

Friday October 16, 2020 12:35 pm PDT by
Apple today launched a new Diwali promotion in India that will see the company providing customers with a set of AirPods with the purchase of any iPhone 11 model. The new iPhone 12 models are not part of the promotion. Apple is offering the standard AirPods With Charging Case free with purchase, but customers can choose to upgrade to the AirPods with Wireless Charging Case or the AirPods Pro....

Apple Event to Unveil First Apple Silicon Macs Could Happen on November 17

Friday October 16, 2020 2:24 am PDT by
Apple will hold another digital event on November 17 to announce its first Apple Silicon powered Macs, according to frequent leaker Jon Prosser. Apple has already said that this year it intends to introduce the first Mac powered by an Apple Silicon chip instead of an Intel processor. One thing it hasn't revealed is the date it will be announced. According to Prosser's source, that date is No...

Apple Online Store Down Ahead of iPhone 12 and 12 Pro Pre-Orders

Thursday October 15, 2020 11:15 pm PDT by
Apple's online store is down ahead of iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro pre-orders, which are set to begin at 5:00 a.m. Pacific Time in the United States. "You're... early," reads the Apple Store message when attempting to visit the U.S. website. "Pre-order begins at 5:00 a.m. PDT. Enjoy the extra sleep." Apple used to do new device pre-orders at 12:01 a.m. Pacific Time, but since last year, has...

When You Can Pre-Order the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro in Every Time Zone

Thursday October 15, 2020 10:55 am PDT by
Pre-orders for the iPhone 12 and the iPhone 12 Pro are set to kick off on Friday, October 16 at 5:00 a.m. Pacific Time, which is a new launch time that Apple adopted as of last year. Apple is planning to make the new devices available in multiple countries around the world simultaneously, so we've made a guide to let MacRumors readers know when pre-orders will in their country. Pre-orders...