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."

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Top Rated Comments

PlutoPrime Avatar
145 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)
Squilly Avatar
145 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)
Klae17 Avatar
145 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)
cateye Avatar
145 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)
r2shyyou Avatar
145 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)
samcraig Avatar
145 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)