For the search term "tea", the new algorithm places my app at spot 59 (before it had top billing), and places other irrelevant items, like political tea party stuff, games, and general purpose timers, ahead. If the purpose of the new ranking methodology was to place higher weight on downloads and less on name matching, then there's an unintended consequence of certain niche search terms getting crowded out by tangentially related popular apps. How many people searching "tea" are interested in "M.A.S.H" (result 6) or "Proud Republican"(result 8)? These apps didn't make their bones on tea, but somehow the new algorithm is acting like they did.
This is not to mention that it makes it extraordinarily difficult for folks to find my app if I tell them its name . Here's hoping that this system has more under the hood than meets the eye.
Unfortunately with Lucene/search in general? it is less of a science and more of a black art.
I noticed a significant drop in my app's rankings earlier today and this likely explains why.
I need to scramble to get some app updates done to change keywords. I wish Apple would make some sort of statement about this. I also wish they'd let us update keywords without a binary change, even if it's a one-time "free" update to deal with this change.
Personally, though, I love sudden upheavals like this. If you're paying attention and move fast, it gives you an edge against competitors that have become fat and happy.
This is something I use quite often, purely as a consumer. I read a blog, or a comment on HN, reddit, et al and go looking for a specific app. Not being able to find a specific app when you know it's name is not a solution to stuffing, or whatever this problem is called.
They should put the keywords that best reflects what their app is and does and leave it at that. In fact Apple should make it even harder to change.
A couple releases ago, Apple rejected my app on the grounds we were doing it too much. So, I changed the title and resubmitted.
While I was gearing up for next release, I sent several emails to the review team complaining it wasn't fair, because my precise competitors were doing it, and I was getting killed because my app didn't rank for the search "topo maps" as well as it used to.
I never got an affirmation back that they thought I was in the right, but I changed my title back to a longer version next release and the reviewer didn't reject it this time. Hard to tell if it's just luck of the reviewer draw.
I'm not an iOS dev and this is why.
This makes it much more difficult for new entrants to get into the market without established apps to cross-promote them, and for small developers to stay afloat with a handful of niche apps.
It starts with "debt free" so a lot of people probably click on that. There are tons of apps that should be coming up for this search, but before this weekend it was 3. that app and 2 others that have all of those keywords he stuffed in his title. Now only his app shows up, as the other 2 apps were the keyword list along with having "Debt Snowball" in the title.
Surely having just 1 app come up in the search isn't the best user experience.
I may be wrong but it looks like Google's fear of the mobile ecosystem - that apps cannot be crawled, indexed and searched for may be an overreaction. It is precisely because apps cannot be crawled, indexed and searched for, the mobile application ecosystem's expansion will be limited - mobile app discovery will continue to rely on the web. Apps are isolated and cannot link to a particular state of another app. No links, no network effects. The expansion of the app ecosystem is currently limited by the number of apps in the market; With each new app in the market users will require more time to search for a suitable app. More websites, however, actually encourages even more websites, due to linking and references between all the websites; More websites enable users to discover faster the website they derive the most value out of (due to linking). More mobile applications, on the other hand, do not. It's almost like binary tree search O(log(n)) vs iterative search O(n).
These are just my opinions, however, so take it with a grain of salt.
Also, previously you were not allowed to put your title in your keywords.
Now my job isn't to fix bugs or add improvements I'd like (as I've already made it do everything I want in my personal use case) but to figure out what I can possibly add to make it acceptable to Apple.