Apple Improves App Store Search Algorithms

Apple appears to have made some significant improvements to the way App Store searches work in recent weeks, returning more relevant, intelligent results whenever a keyword search for an app is conducted, reports TechCrunch.

Several developers, including Tapbots' Paul Haddad and Contrast's David Barnard began noticing changes to App Store search results starting in early November, with a major algorithm update occurring on November 12.

App rankings for search results now appear to take into account factors that go beyond simple keyword listings, like partial keyword matches and competitor brand names, somewhat de-emphasizing the keywords that developers enter manually. As an example, a search for "Twitter" now brings up relevant apps like Tweetbot, something that didn't happen before the shift.

appstoresearchresults

It's also the first time the App Store has ranked apps for keywords that are not in the title or the "keyword," slot, we understand.

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.

AppFigures CEO Ariel Michaeli told TechCrunch the App Store uses a new suggestion function that takes into account the "essence of the app" and puts more emphasis on on-page components.

Apple is constantly making changes to the way apps come up in charts and through search, in an effort to improve app discovery. The recent search algorithm changes appear to be bringing up much more useful results, but as TechCrunch points out, Apple could make further improvements by utilizing metrics like whether an app was featured, positive reviews and press mentions from the web, and its overall usage.

Top Rated Comments

realeric Avatar
87 months ago
App store is a nightmare. It's nearly impossible to search apps without knowing exact names.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
CarpalMac Avatar
87 months ago
Makes me wonder what a lot of their staff do with their time. This has been such a seemingly neglected area yet the App Store is so important to users, developers and most of all, as a revenue stream for Apple.

Here's hoping that the top 10 charts might look slightly different in the future. For the last few months and years they certainly haven't.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
derek4484 Avatar
87 months ago
Something that is desperately needed. Unless you spell the app name exactly correct, it rarely finds what I'm looking for.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Benjamin Frost Avatar
87 months ago
This feels like re-arranging the deckchairs on the Titanic.

The App Store is in dire need of a complete overhaul. It is hopelessly restricted for app discoverability. We need more categories, more sub-categories and sophisticated filters accessible at the top of the page. We need to be able to hide apps individually or by category. For instance, I do not want to see any apps with gold, gems or other treasure as In-App Purchases. These apps are all junk to me. We need free demos for every single app, even for 30 minutes. We need longer video previews, video tutorials and more screenshots. We need to be able to tailor the App Store to fit our devices and desires.

Get to it, Apple. If only you hadn't fired Forstall.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macduke Avatar
87 months ago
Search on the app store was always terrible. I remember always having to have the app name exactly right. I also remember lots of irrelevant results showing up when searching for simple things like Adobe's apps. I recently did a clean install of iOS 9 on my 6s because I had some issues with random freezes during the night making my alarm go off (along with a hot home button, ended up being replaced by Apple) so I had to search for a lot of my apps to install them from scratch. I remember when doing the Adobe apps it would bring up guide books and other weird stuff as the top result. Even now I just tried searching Lightroom and accidentally typed Loghtroom and it still found it fine! Kinda sad that it took them this many years to get basic search right. Even I setup the WordPress install for our news site at work to search for partials and across various pieces of metadata and tags in the database. Why did it take this long?
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
PsykX Avatar
87 months ago
Something that is desperately needed. Unless you spell the app name exactly correct, it rarely finds what I'm looking for.
Like if you didn't type the entire name "Trolls vs Leprechauns" it was absolutely impossible to find my game. And people spelt "vs" like "versus" instead, and forgot the S'es at the end of Trolls and Leprechauns.

This is one of the few things Google has always done better than Apple (and please let's keep Maps out of this thread :p)
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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