App Store Search Algorithm Changes Shakes Up Rankings

Apple has once again changed its iOS App Store search algorithm that changes where an app is returned when you search for a particular keyword like “notes” or “racing.” The tweak in the algorithm does not affect the app’s ranking in the App Store’s top charts.

The change, first spotted by MobileDevHQ an app marketing tools provider, affects both iPhone and iPad applications and occurred sometime between December 11 and 12. The average ranking change was 41.5 positions, 8 times the normal everyday change they see for iPhone results. Normally, the daily change is about 5 positions.

Apple also made significant changes to their search algorithm when they launched iOS 7 and these past changes appear to be larger. To give some perspective, the changes we saw with the launch of iOS 7 were also noticeably significant.

Below is a graph from MobileDevHQ showing the changes made to Apple’s App Store search algorithm for the iPhone. The first spike in the graph is the changes when iOS 7 launched. As you can see those were significant but slightly smaller than the most recent changes.


On the other hand, the changes made to the search algorithm for iPad is also significant but not nearly as large as the changes made when iOS 7 launched.


TechCrunch has provided a couple of charts comparing search results for a select few keywords.


Apple will continue to make changes to their search algorithm to try and give you the best results every time. We have seen Apple focus on making search in the App Store better, for example, in November they started correcting typos and misspelling.