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Old Apr 2, 2013, 02:36 PM   #1
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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."

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.
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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."

Article Link: Are iTunes Links Being Downranked by Google?
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Old Apr 2, 2013, 02:37 PM   #2
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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.
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Old Apr 2, 2013, 02:38 PM   #3
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It's all marketing. Google want's it's competitors off the first page of any results. And itself/it's own products/services on the top of the first page. Simple.

I wonder if the same thing is happening to samesung and MS and their related products.
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Old Apr 2, 2013, 02:39 PM   #4
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I actually noticed this at some point last week and found it odd but then added "site:itunes.apple.com" in front of my search query, got what I needed, and moved on. But it'd be a interesting (risky?) move if it was intentional...
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Old Apr 2, 2013, 02:40 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by r2shyyou View Post
But it'd be a interesting (risky?) move if it was intentional...
Nothing Apple can do about it. It's THEIR search engine.
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Old Apr 2, 2013, 02:41 PM   #6
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"Do no evil" my a**.

Google is just like the rest of the corporations. Money sucking, rule bending creature.
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Old Apr 2, 2013, 02:41 PM   #7
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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?
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Old Apr 2, 2013, 02:42 PM   #8
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Another day, another mysterious and completely unintentional Google "oversight" or "glitch"...
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Old Apr 2, 2013, 02:42 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Squilly View Post
Nothing Apple can do about it. It's THEIR search engine.


Was there something I didn't say that you read?
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Old Apr 2, 2013, 02:42 PM   #10
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Add the word download, and it becomes one of the first results. ("twitter iphone download")

I see this as a relevance issue. I don't think many people search for the iTunes links using their desktop computer. On mobile they make it very easy to find apps, they even give you the price right away.
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Old Apr 2, 2013, 02:43 PM   #11
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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.
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Old Apr 2, 2013, 02:44 PM   #12
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There really needs to be a serious competitor to Google in search. Bing doesn't seem to be gaining a lot of traction - surely Apple has the resources to give it a try.
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Old Apr 2, 2013, 02:44 PM   #13
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"itunes google" even returns results for the Google Play store.
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Old Apr 2, 2013, 02:45 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PlutoPrime View Post
"Do no evil" my a**.

Google is just like the rest of the corporations. Money sucking, rule bending creature.
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.




Quote:
Originally Posted by r2shyyou View Post
Not an unusual response to....well, you know.
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Old Apr 2, 2013, 02:45 PM   #15
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Whatever it is, Google is screwing itself over. Good job guys!
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Old Apr 2, 2013, 02:46 PM   #16
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Just few hours ago, I was searching for 'kindle app store' on Google and didn't find any App Store links for that. It did, however, pop up some Google Play Store links for me. And now I realise it's an issue related to Google.
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Old Apr 2, 2013, 02:47 PM   #17
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They are, when I search for anything then the word app after it, it shows an android store link at top then the AppStore link is towards the bottom
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Old Apr 2, 2013, 02:47 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by r2shyyou View Post


Was there something I didn't say that you read?
I'm so lost by your comment...
Edit, I see. Was replying to the last sentence of your comment.
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Old Apr 2, 2013, 02:47 PM   #19
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When I search for "twitter iPhone" with google.com, I am given ~3,650,000,000 results (almost 1,000,000,000 more) with iTunes on the second page.

Only the first two entries are actually the same as MacRumors' test.

I am given the same results when logged in my google account, which I almost never use.

In case you are wondering google, my underwear is grey today.
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Old Apr 2, 2013, 02:49 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Squilly View Post
Nothing Apple can do about it. It's THEIR search engine.
Maybe there is nothing that Apple can do themselves, but surely this is anticompetitive behaviour?
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Old Apr 2, 2013, 02:49 PM   #21
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Same as it ever was...

This is nothing exclusive to Apple or Apple products.

Over the last few years the hits returned on Google searches have been increasingly suspect and less useful than in the past. They definitely promote the sites and products of their customers.

Being creative with your search terms and options can be helpful. But I do find myself using Bing or Yahoo more often as additional sources.
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Old Apr 2, 2013, 02:51 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by virginblue4 View Post
Maybe there is nothing that Apple can do themselves, but surely this is anticompetitive behaviour?
Apple does the same thing... who wouldn't?

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shrink View Post

Not an unusual response to....well, you know.
I see what you did there.
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Old Apr 2, 2013, 02:51 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shrink View Post
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.






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.
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Old Apr 2, 2013, 02:51 PM   #24
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switched to bing

Switched about 3 months ago to Bing and never looked back.
Bring works the way google used to. Searching Whatsapp iTunes show the app as the top spot.
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Old Apr 2, 2013, 02:52 PM   #25
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These days Google are being very douche, true.

But this issue I would rather see it as a problem in iTunes website.

I search iTunes links a lot and recently I noticed a very interesting bug: Searched for some iOS software, I got iTunes link with strange country code, not itunes.apple.com/app or itunes.apple.com/us/app, but other countries like itunes.apple.com/ie/app blahblah.

This happened several times websites with many language versions, like Chinese Wikipedia. The page ranks are diluted to per language, which must be much lower.
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