Monday, July 23, 2018

Death by Search Ranking

Rory Prior:

Then something went wrong. […] But over the last year or so it seems both apps have slid down (and down) the rankings until the point where they’ve become so buried I’ve started to regularly see days with low single digit, or even zero sales. When you’ve been selling apps for a decade and had previously been able to count on one hand the number of days you’ve had zero sales this sets alarm bells ringing very loudly.

It’s hard to overlook the major changes Apple made to the App Store with iOS 11 – search results are now extremely low density. You can barely see two results on a screen at once on a 4.7″ device, so if you’re say 40 or 60 places down your visibility is near zero. But that doesn’t explain my apps amazing fall down the rankings. In fact the most confusing thing is seeing apps which haven’t been updated in years – some of which look like first attempts at programming, with zero reviews, ranking tens of places above mine. What bizarre algorithm sees two apps with the same keyword, and ranks the one with no reviews that hasn’t been updated in 3 years above my 5 star one, updated a week ago?

Update (2018-08-06): Luc Vandal:

How can apps that weren’t updated for the past 4-5 years even show up first in the search results? What’s the incentive for developers to maintain their apps? Will search ever not suck?

1 Comment RSS · Twitter

That totally sucks. I bought a few kanji/kana apps a couple months ago, and I searched using several different keywords. I never saw this guy's apps in the first 15 results — which, I had previously assumed, would be the cream of the crop. Yet many apps that are listed first in the results look SUPER janky, like they are ports from Android with absolutely no iOS-style quality at all. Yet judging from the screenshots, descriptions, and reviews the iKana and iKanji apps look superior. As a potential customer, I am miffed that Apple is showing me a bunch of (apparently) poorly coded garbage, with terrible UI and reviews... and not iKana / iKanji which, as far as I can tell, should be in the top 10 at the very least.

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